On June 29, 2017, FHCSD will graduate our inaugural class of Family Medicine physicians, and in so doing, move one step closer to providing a solution for our organization to the national physician shortage.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, “Under every combination of scenarios modeled, the United States will face a shortage of physicians over the next decade, ranging between 61,700 and 94,700.”

Four years ago, when faced with studies that showed the U.S. would have a physician shortage of 45,000 to 150,000 physicians by the mid-2020s, Family Health Centers of San Diego made a strategic decision to develop a Family Medicine Residency  with our hospital partners, Scripps Mercy and Rady Children’s. We received our first Resident Match in March 2014.

Now that our inaugural class is only weeks away from graduating, we are excited that three of our six residents will continue their association with FHCSD, working in our clinics. Another resident will return to FHCSD after a year’s fellowship at UCLA. That represents a retention rate of 66%, as opposed to the national retention rate of only 42% from other Teaching Health Center programs, and 4% retention from traditional residency programs. Not bad for our first inaugural class!

In the meantime, FHCSD matched with another outstanding group of six physicians who will become the new PGY-1 class, and commence their residency training in two months. We are proud to welcome three from UCSD, one from USC, one from UCLA and one from Touro University. All of these outstanding physicians have one commonality—they are passionate about the importance of community medicine with underserved communities.

Financially subsidizing the residency training program was not in the plans of FHCSD. The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) determined that the cost to train each physician through a 3-year program is $157,000 per year. FHCSD, and other Teaching Health Center programs, only receive $116,000 per year to support residency training.

A logical next step is to develop an endowment for the residency program to ensure its long-term survivability. Family Health Centers of San Diego welcomes discussions with any donor interested in preserving a critical pipeline of physicians for the underserved communities’ care by our organization.

“CEO’s Corner: An Update from Fran” is a regular feature of Adelante, our monthly newsletter. Please check our Adelante archives for additional columns and keep an eye out for featured ones appearing in this blog!