Three graduate medical education programs will receive a total of $1 million for program development and expansion, adding 36 primary care physicians to the state’s workforce, the New Mexico Human Services Department announced Friday.
The funding recipients are:
- Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine (Las Cruces) for expansion of the Southern New Mexico Family Medicine program to add four residents per year for a total of 12 new residency positions;
- Memorial Medical Center (Las Cruces) to create a new general psychiatry program that will add three residents per year for a total of 12 new residency positions.
- Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services (Gallup) to create a new general psychiatry program that will add three residents per year for a total of 12 new residency positions with a focus on addressing the behavioral health needs of the region’s Native American community.
“A strong foundation of primary care is critical to the health system and is especially important during pandemics like COVID-19,” said cabinet Secretary David R. Scrase, M.D. “The expansion of primary care graduate medical education programs in New Mexico means New Mexicans will have increased access to behavioral health and primary care. These three programs represent just the beginning of primary care physician expansion. As a former graduate medical education program director, I am committed to supporting other programs in the future.”
The Graduate Medical Education Expansion Grant Program (enacted via House Bill 480 in 2019) directs the Human Services Department to award funding to existing and new graduate medical education programs seeking to increase the number of first-year residents in the fields of family medicine, general psychiatry, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics. Three programs submitted applications for consideration for fiscal year 2020.
“Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services is thrilled to have the opportunity to initiate work toward a Psychiatric Residency Program,” said Chief Medical Officer Valory Wangler, M.D. “Here in Gallup, there is a significant shortage of mental healthcare access, and this program is a critical part of the long-term strategy to address this need.”
“Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine at New Mexico State University is delighted to learn that it will receive a grant from the state of New Mexico to expand residency training in Southern New Mexico,” said John Hummer, president Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Our medical school is dedicated to improving the health of the Southwestern United States and its border with Northern Mexico through culturally respectful undergraduate, graduate and continuing osteopathic medical education, research and support of clinical service to the community. This grant will allow the college to expand family medicine residency training opportunities with our partners in the Las Cruces area with special emphasis on physician retention in the region and proactively address the critical shortage of physicians in our state.”
“Behavioral health professionals are an integral piece to providing safe, high-quality primary healthcare. We are honored to be selected and appreciate the opportunity to partner with the HSD in this vital program,” said John Harris, Memorial Medical Center CEO. “The new psychiatrists that this program trains will help address a national shortage while improving the overall health of patients in our community.”
The legislation creating the program was sponsored by Reps. Doreen Gallegos and Nathan Small to ensure funding was available to address local needs.
“It’s gratifying that our work will now directly benefit medical students who will now work directly with residents of Doña Ana County,” Gallegos said.
“There has never been a more important time to add family medicine and general psychiatry residents,” Small said. “I am grateful to the Human Services Department and the Graduate Medical Education Expansion Review Board & Advisory Group for investing in southern New Mexico with the Burrell College and Memorial Medical Center, and for the investment in Gallup where COVID-19 has hit New Mexico the hardest. These investments will improve our constituents’ health, bolster our economy, and must be protected”.
Research shows 50-75 percent of medical residents stay within 100 miles of their residency program; and investments in primary care yield significant returns for physicians-in-training, local economies and communities.
Building on the GME Expansion in NM Five-Year Strategic Plan released in January, the Human Services Department will support statewide partners aiming to grow graduate medical education primary care programs from 8 to 13 (63 percent increase) within the next five years. Additionally, it is estimated the number of primary care residents in training will grow from 142 to 291 (105 percent increase) and the number of graduates each year will grow from 48 to 94 (starting in 2025), representing a 96 percent increase.