The first class of 11 third-year Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine students arrived earlier this summer to Conway Medical Center, and will be living, learning, and serving at CMC for the next two years.
“This [partnership] is something we’ve been working on for two years now,” said CMC President Bret Barr.
The partnership program will also include a Family Medicine Residence Program, in hopes of combatting the lack of family medicine doctors in the area.
“We have a physician shortage in Horry County,” said Dr. Paul Richardson, CMC’s chief medical officer and vice president of medical education. “As Horry County continues to grow in population, there are not enough physicians to keep up with demand. It is more difficult to recruit physicians to our area as we compete against larger metropolitan areas of the state. This residency program will give us a long-term and sustainable solution to address a growing need.”
Barr said the area will need 98 more primary care doctors in the next few years, and he hopes that this partnership with Campbell University will attract and keep doctors in the local community.
“We hope you put down roots here,” Barr said to the students. “This residency program will help CMC increase access to healthcare for at least 6,000 patients annually in Horry County…”
To accommodate the first cohort of residents arriving in July 2020, CMC is constructing a 15,000 square-foot Family Residency Building next to the facility on Myrtle Trace Drive. The building will have 18 exam rooms, education space, and locker rooms.
Residents will complete rotations in various specialties including family medicine, cardiology, surgery, rural medicine, and disaster recovery.
CMC is one of the first residency programs in the state to offer disaster recovery education, and the curriculum will be part of the hospital’s new Center for Medical Excellence in Disaster Recovery.
Campbell has other affiliates in the region, including one in Lumberton, N.C., which was hit hard by recent hurricanes and flooding. In order to be sure their residents did not miss any education due to disaster-related closings, physicians came up with a curriculum to teach residents how to serve patients in that environment.
Richardson said thanks to a $1 million endowment from Duke, CMC was able to fully integrate Disaster Recovery into their program. CMC’s resident physicians, if the area is ever again hit with a natural disaster, will be part of disaster relief teams and help with preparedness.
“Their medical education will not be interrupted,” Richardson said.
Richardson said he could even see a scenario where a resident might be assigned to each shelter in the event of a disaster, for real hands-on experience.
Dr. David Tolentino, associate dean for clinical affairs at Campbell’s School of Medicine, said that the early feedback from the students was positive, and he looks forward to the students’ successes, and the first cohort of residents arriving next summer.
“This is a great facility and a great community,” Tolentino said. “We’re just celebrating the tip of the iceberg today.”
Student site representative Florian Capobianco from Long Island, N.Y. said he hoped to have a focus on developmental pediatrics, and thought everything was going great since he arrived this past June.
“It has exceeded all the expectations we had,” Capobianco said. “The administration and staff are truly excited to teach.”
McKenzie Montana, from Vineland, N.J., said she possibly wants to focus on intensive care unit pediatrics, and loves the activities the Conway and Myrtle Beach areas have to offer, as well as the education she is receiving at CMC.
“I’m excited about the skills I have gotten here,” Montana said.
Tolentino hopes that by developing a workforce in student and resident education, CMC is helping to train students who exemplify the Campbell Mission of serving rural and underserved communities in the southeastern United States.
“Undergraduate and graduate medical education in Conway will be a win-win for [everyone] involved,” Tolentino said.