Residency Program Cultivates New Generations of Family Physicians
In its fourth year, the Forrest General Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program has already trained and ushered several capable and eager family medicine physicians into the Pine Belt area and beyond. But it’s not stopping there.
A partnership between the two health care entities, Forrest General Hospital’s Family Medicine Residency Program operates as a full-fledged family practice on the first floor of Hattiesburg Clinic’s main campus.
“We are here to see patients of all ages and all walks of life,” said Alecia Crawford, manager for the residency clinic. “The purpose of our program is to train our residents in the specialty of family medicine.”
As part of their training, the residents rotate with other specialties within their three-year stint of the program – preparing them for a lifelong practice of comprehensive treatment and evaluation for a number of different health conditions in patients who might see them.
“Every resident works closely with experienced physicians who are members of the faculty,” explained Cathy Elting, assistant administrator for Primary Care at Hattiesburg Clinic.
The physicians who oversee the residents include Katherine P. Alexis, MD; Charles R. Griffith, MD; T. Eric Hale, MD; Brittain F. Heindl, MD; Nicholas C. Raush, MD; and Rambod A. Rouhbakhsh, MD.
Although they work with the faculty physicians, Elting said there’s a common misconception that the residents are not yet doctors.
“They are physicians simply completing their residency to become family medicine specialists,” said Elting, adding that each physician in the program is licensed to practice medicine.
Eric Hale, MD, director for the residency program, said the program includes a diverse group of residents from various schools and states.
“The program has residents from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Louisiana State University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, William Carey, Mercer School of Medicine and Florida International,” noted Hale.
The residents see patients of every age by appointment only and are kid-friendly, offering child vaccines, wellness visits, and other care to young patients, as well as adults. They accept patients with Medicaid, CHIP and individuals who may not even have insurance.
In addition to seeing patients in their own clinic, they also see patients in the hospital. Therefore, should an individual establish one of the residency physicians as their primary care provider and are hospitalized due to a health condition, the physician will also see them as a patient at the hospital.
Aside from the larger focus of patient care, the residency program has another aim.
The vision behind the program is for these residents to become prime candidates for consideration in expanding primary care for the service areas of both Forrest General and Hattiesburg Clinic, which includes much of Southeast Mississippi. As the area’s dedicated, veteran physicians of family medicine embrace retirement, the goal is for many of the residents graduating from the FGH Family Medicine Residency Program to fill these shoes.
In 2016, the residency program completed a class of five physicians, most of whom went on to practice in the immediate area and all of whom remained in Mississippi. Now, a new year of residents has joined the program as part of a growing roster of well-trained physicians to serve the people of Hattiesburg and surrounding areas; and they are accepting new patients.
The residency clinic includes a total of 18 residents (six per year); six full-time faculty physicians; nine nurses; three receptionists; one RN coordinator; a manager; and an administrator.
The physicians at the Forrest General Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program are currently accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment with one of them, please call 601-579-3300.