In a previous post, I reported the impending closure of the Toledo Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program which will have huge implications in the delivery of primary care and Family Medicine in that community.
Deema Yousef, MD, is a current resident of the program. She reached out to me to share her perspective of someone scheduled to graduate from the program later this year. My questions are in bold below. Here is Deema's story, in her own words...
1) My first question is about Family Medicine in general. How did you come to choose Family Medicine as your specialty and residency? Why do you love Family Medicine, and why is Family Medicine care important to the Toledo community?
I chose to go into Family Medicine towards the end of my first year of medical school. This was after interacting with a fantastic mentor who led our clinical medicine group. She is a Family Medicine Physician. For our clinical medicine learning, she shared her unique patient experiences that ranged across different ages and complexities. She even practiced obstetrics. Her experiences in medicine, as I was hearing them, highlighted what I thought the role of a physician really is growing up - trained to care for each member of the family.
During third year of medical school, clinical rotations solidified my decision to go into Family Medicine. I really enjoyed rotating through the different specialties, and I didn't want to focus on one area of interest. More importantly, I enjoyed creating relationships with patients to know how to best care for them.
When I was considering residency positions, I traveled to Toledo to solely interview at the Toledo Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program. I immediately connected with the people at the program. It was evident from my interview day, this program includes a comprehensive multidisciplinary learning approach to prepare me to practice the full spectrum of Family Medicine.
Toledo is a city which high obesity rate and with that, there is a high rate of obesity related chronic conditions that impact the quality of life. Preventative and comprehensive care is needed to counteract. and treat these conditions. Also, the shortage of primary care physicians that is felt across the country is certainly recognized in Toledo. Most primary care practices in the city are not accepting new patients and if they are, the wait to be established is a period of at least 2-3 Months. Toledo certainly needs more primary care physicians, and the answer is to expand residencies like ours, not close them down.
2) Tell me (and my audience) about how you learned about the closure of the program, and how it was announced to the residents and the program.
This past Thursday afternoon (January 12, 2017), the faculty, residents, and clinical staff were all either paged, or telephoned, to attend a mandatory meeting that same day. The hospital staff divided the faculty, residents, and clinical support staff into three respective groups. We were all notified of the decision by hospital executives. After they made the announcement to the resident group, they allotted time for questions and discussion. The executives who spoke to the residents were both empathetic and genuine in their concern for the changes that lie ahead.
3) What has been the reaction to the announcement from the residents and the faculty at the program?
The following morning, I was scheduled to see patients in the office all day and it was hard to be working as everyone appeared disheartened. There were many mixed emotions shared by the staff, faculty, and my fellow residents; mainly sadness, frustration, and confusion.
4) In your opinion, why is it important for the Toledo Hospital Family Medicine Residency program to remain open?
5) What kind of response would you like generated from the local community, the residency program alumni, and the Family Medicine community in general?
Already, the response has been tremendous. Our alumni are contacting community leaders, hospital executives, local business owners, and the local media to voice concerns about this decision. We are working together to request that ProMedica executives reconsider their decision in "phasing out" this fantastic residency program.
Also, our local and national Family Medicine chapter leaders, including those with AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians), MAFP (Michigan Academy of Family Physicians), and OAFP (Ohio Academy of Family Physicians), have been incredibly supportive; they have already extended helpful advise to us, and used their social media accounts to raise awareness of ProMedica's decision.
We kindly ask this movement of support to continue in hopes of compelling ProMedica Health to reconsider their decision to close our residency program.