Resident physicians coming to Greene County

Graduate medical education is coming to the greater Greene County area, thanks to St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital and the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership. Starting this summer, resident physicians will be practicing at Good Samaritan Hospital and TenderCare Clinic.

Resident physicians are doctors who have graduated from medical school and are completing the final stage of their medical training. Highly educated and fully capable physicians, they work side-by-side with physician faculty in an intensive three-year program to prepare them to become board-certified internal medicine physicians.

"Our goal is to enhance access to medical care, provide excellent patient care, and give these new physicians experience with practicing in a rural setting," said Pete Yunyongying, MD, Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program (IMRP). "We hope some of our residents will fall in love with rural practice and choose to settle in the region as a primary care physician. There is a huge need."

The 10 third-year residents, who are all in the final year of their residency, will each spend a month at Good Samaritan and another month at TenderCare, though not necessarily consecutively. All will be working directly with Dave Ringer, MD, Anthony Miranda, MD, and Craig Colby, MD, at both locations.

The first resident has already started. Kyle Walker, MD, a graduate of UGA who earned his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine, is now seeing outpatients four days a week at TenderCare Clinic. Like all the resident physicians who will practice at the clinic, Dr. Walker provides full physician services, from wellness visits to chronic disease management, and can order diagnostic tests and referrals to specialists.

On Aug. 2, Akhil Reddy, MD, a graduate of UGA who earned his medical degree at St. George's University School of Medicine, will begin practicing at Good Samaritan Hospital. Dr. Reddy will practice as a hospitalist – a physician who provides care to patients who are admitted to the hospital – six days a week.

"This inpatient rotation will further the residents' understanding of the resources available to inpatient physicians in rural communities," Dr. Yunyongying said. "They will gain valuable insight into how rural healthcare differs from urban healthcare and how to provide the best possible level of care in a small hospital."

There are a total of 33 resident physicians in the Internal Medicine Residency Program, and eventually all will serve a rotation at Good Samaritan Hospital and TenderCare Clinic. Due to the high level of independence required, only third-year residents or residents in the second semester of their second year will rotate through the Greene County facilities.

With the addition of the Class of 2020 this July, the IMRP has filled all three years of the three year program. At the end of this academic year – June 30, 2018 – Dr. Reddy, Dr. Walker and the eight other members of the first class will be eligible to take their Board certification exams, enter private practice, or pursue an additional layer of training in a specialty. At the same time, current second-year residents will rise to their third year, gaining more independence as they do so, and the current first-years will rise to second year. This fall, the IMRP will recruit the Class of 2021, who will become first-year residents on July 1, 2018.

A resident physician will be at TenderCare Clinic Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for at least 10 months of the year. Appointments are preferred by calling 706.453.1201, but walk-in patients usually can be accommodated. TenderCare Clinic is located at 803 S. Main St., Greensboro.

St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital is located at 5401 Lake Oconee Parkway, Greensboro. For more information about the hospital, visit www.stmarysgoodsam.org.