IU residency program aims to address tri-state doctor shortage

IU residency program aims to address tri-state doctor shortage
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 6:22 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A program with Indiana University aims to address a shortage of doctors in southwest Indiana.

When a medical student completes medical school, they move on to residency, where they continue learning while gaining hands-on experience. The goal of the Southwest Indiana Internal Medicine Residency Program is to have more prospective doctors have their residency in this part of the state.

Dr. Neil Corbett is a third-year medical resident at Ascension St. Vincent. He says it can be an adjustment when transitioning from medical school to your residency.

“We’re starting to bridge the boundaries between doing this full-time and what you’ve been used to in medical school,” said Dr. Corbett.

Dr. Corbett is part of a program connecting Indiana University School of Medicine graduates with residencies in southwest Indiana, an area which needs the help.

“We are underserved,” said St. Vincent Faculty Resident Practice Site Director Dr. Karl Sash. “We don’t have enough physicians in this region and this program is going to help create the hospitalists and the specialists of the future for this region.”

Program officials say the state recognized the shortage of doctors in southwest Indiana a few years ago, and saw many internal medicine physicians were at retiring age or about to retire. They say the state decided to target medical education as a way to fix the problem, since about 70% of residents stay where they were trained.

Officials say they’ve created an environment with traits from academic centers in big cities and community programs with a close-knit feel.

“We ended up creating an academic program, a heavily academic program in a community environment; kind of merging the good qualities of both of those models,” said Internal Medicine Residency Program Director Dr. Adrian Singson. “And I like to think we’ve had astounding success.”

The Indiana University School of Medicine announced they accepted 24 newly-minted doctors into the program, and they should arrive to begin their residencies in a few months.

Dr. Corbett says he can see his patients’ appreciation to have him here.

“It’s a good feeling,” said Dr. Corbett. “It’s a really great feeling to know your patients are happy to have you available.”

Program officials say several of the people they’ll graduate from the program on June 30th will stay on as physicians in the tri-state.