North Carolina AHEC Program
winter 2011 newsletter | home

SEAHEC Family Medicine Residency Expands

With almost $1.8 million in grant funding from the Affordable Care Act, New Hanover Regional Medical Center and South East Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC) are collaborating on expanding their Family Medicine Residency Training program by adding two resident physicians in each of the next five years.

The grant will fund the resident physicians beginning with the 2011 school year. By adding two physicians, bringing the program’s total to six, the program will be able to expand access to primary medical care, which is typically provided to poor and often uninsured patients in southeastern North Carolina.

During the three-year curriculum, the physicians, who are training to become certified family medicine doctors, will not only treat patients at the program’s home clinic at Coastal Family Medicine on Delaney Drive, but will rotate into clinic settings in the community and region, expanding access to care to those sites as well.

Janalynn Beste, MDJanalynn Beste, MD (photo right), program director of the Family Medicine Residency Program, comments, “We are very excited to be expanding our residency program. There is still a vast need for family physicians in southeastern North Carolina and this will allow us to continue filling that need.”

New Hanover Regional and SEAHEC have partnered on graduate medical education since 1972. In 1996, after research documented a shortage of health care professionals in the region, the specialty of Family Medicine was added. The program’s goal is to graduate specialists to practice in rural settings, particularly nearby locations. The rural counties that make up New Hanover Regional’s service area experience a shortage of doctors, and most have poverty rates that exceed the state and national averages.

The program has graduated 40 residents into the Family Medicine specialty, and about half are practicing in rural North Carolina.

The Coastal Family Medicine clinic handles about 13,000 patient visits a year. Almost two-thirds of its patients either have Medicaid or no insurance. The additional physicians will allow the clinic to reach even more patients who typically have little access to a primary care physician.

The $1.795 million five-year grant is part of a $167.3 million investment in primary care residency expansion nationwide under the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.

Mark Darrow, MD, FACP, president/CEO of SEAHEC and vice-president for graduate medical education at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, stated: “We are happy to be recognized as a leader in the education of primary care physicians and are proud that our program has received this award. It will certainly strengthen our efforts to train excellent doctors and deliver high quality health care to those who desperately need it in our area.”