The osteopathic medical residency program formed in partnership with Samaritan Health Services and the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific’s OPTI-West Educational Consortium is going strong in only its second year.

Six doctors completed their first-year internship and one doctor completed his residency in June 2011. This partnership will continue to strengthen and grow as COMP-Northwest prepares to open in Lebanon, Oregon in July.

The relationship between Samaritan Health Services and Western University of Health Sciences began with the establishment of the Northwest track, where COMP students spent the first two years in Pomona and then returned to the Northwest for clinical rotations in their third and fourth years. Samaritan Health Services started taking third-year Northwest track students in 2007.

“We had a cohort of 12 that spent their entire year with us in 2007, and several of them stayed on into 2008 as fourth-years,” said Samaritan Health Services Vice President of Academic Affairs Nancy Bell, RN, MPH. “Our administration, our staff and faculty here were so impressed with the quality of those students that when COMP came to us about having residencies, it gave us the courage to move forward.”

A graduation ceremony on June 9 celebrated the accomplishments of several doctors in the residency program: Peter Reed, DO, came to Samaritan Health Services in 2009 as a second-year resident. He completed his family medicine residency at Samaritan and will practice at a multispecialty clinic in the Chicago metropolitan area, Bell said.

Cory Maughan, DO, Stephanie Morbeck, DO, Nathan Swain, DO, Christopher Carey, DO, Larry Buglino, DO, and Matt Hiesterman, DO, each completed their first-year internship, and three of them will stay with Samaritan for their second year of residency.

Samaritan initiated three residency programs in 2009 – family medicine, internal medicine and psychiatry.

“These programs were very deliberately chosen,” Bell said. “We really felt it was imperative to focus on primary care.”

In July, Samaritan will have 51 physicians, including one cardiac fellow, training in the seven different residency programs.

“We’re honestly thrilled,” Bell said. “We have seen the residents in our program improve patient care. They have such a positive impact on our treatment, on our teamwork, and on the communities we serve. I’m immensely proud of all of our graduates, our current residents and all of our incoming residents.”

In 2009, there were no osteopathic residency programs in the Northwest and Oregon, said J. Michael Finley, DO, FACP, FACOI, FACR, COMP Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and OPTI-West Chief Academic Officer. The only osteopathic hospital in the Northwest, Eastmoreland Hospital, closed in January 2004. When Eastmoreland closed the last remaining osteopathic GME program in the Northwest dissolved.

Starting in July 2011, the Samaritan Health Services-OPTI-West residency program will expand to include cardiology and general surgery in addition to family medicine, internal medicine, traditional rotating internship, orthopaedic surgery and psychiatry.

“In the course of three academic years, we went from zero to 51 residents training,” Finley said. “The graduation of the first group of interns and family practice resident is a huge milestone of success.”

Residents primarily have inpatient rotations at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis, Ore. and outpatient rotations in Corvallis and Albany. Samaritan also has affiliation agreements with the Portland VA Medical Center and Legacy Health System in Portland and next year they will send residents to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Portland, Oregon.

“We view graduate medical education as strengthening our ability to care for patients,” Bell said. “Our mission is to deliver excellent patient care, and we feel that’s very much enhanced by graduate medical education. Residents and students keep us fresh and on our toes.”

The COMP-Northwest campus in Lebanon, Ore. will welcome its first class of about 100 students on July 30, 2011. The new campus and the residency program will benefit the region by developing home-grown doctors who will be more likely to practice in the area.

“We know a lot of these students and residents are going to stay and practice in our area,” Bell said. “We want the very best and brightest to stay in our area and care for our communities and everyone in those communities.”

Click here for more information about Samaritan Health Services Graduate Medical Education.

Click here for more information about the OPTI-West Educational Consortium.