Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Schuylkill Family Medicine Rural Residency Now Accredited
The Family Medicine Rural Residency program at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Schuylkill has moved a giant step closer to reality with its recent accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The Chicago-based ACGME is the body responsible for accrediting all graduate medical training programs for physicians in the United States.
Because of COVID-19, the site visit and review were done virtually rather than in person. The ACGME met with Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) core team and faculty members as well as Maggie Haddinger, the Designated Institutional Officer (DIO) for Graduate Medical Education (GME) and Grant Greenberg, MD, LVHN’s Department Chair for Family Medicine.
“This residency program will help elevate the standard of care for our community,” says Mackenzie Mady, DO, a board-certified family medicine physician and Program Director of the Rural Residency program at LVH–Schuylkill. “The fact that our program is purely local allows these residents to fully integrate and become active members of our community as they complete their training right here in Schuylkill County – at our hospital, clinics and individual practices. Our hope is that they will in fact become bonded, connected here in a way that they won’t want to leave.”
Statistics show that clinicians who train in rural settings are more likely to continue to practice in or close to that same community after completing their residencies. Mady, a Schuylkill County native who returned home to practice medicine, is optimistic for the future. “The Rural Residency program is about educational opportunity, expanded availability of care and replenishing our need for primary care physicians here at home.”
Recruitment is now underway with the first class of four residents to begin in June 2022. When fully enrolled, the rural residency program will have 12 students, graduating four each year. The first class of four physicians will graduate in 2025
“Bringing a new generation of family physicians to Schuylkill County will help fill a growing void of primary care services,” says Ivor Lewis, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician who has played an active role in securing the residency program and has maintained a long-standing family medicine practice in Schuylkill County. “Increasing primary care access can have a major positive impact on the overall health of a community by addressing medical and other needs earlier in the disease process.”
In 2019, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded LVH–Schuylkill a $749,859 Rural Residency Planning and Development Program (RRPD) grant. The grant was part of a larger $20 million distribution across 21 states. LVH–Schuylkill was the only facility in Pennsylvania to be included in the awards.
Since the July 2019 award at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, LVH–Schuylkill has been actively preparing for the Residency Program.
Mady and Stephen Evans, DO, relocated their LVPG Family Medicine practice to 200 Schuylkill Medical Plaza, Pottsville, the site where Residents will also be based.
Renovations are now underway to prepare learning space at the facility. The facility also houses an ExpressCARE.
The faculty has been identified and secured:
Ivor Lewis, MD, LVPG Family Medicine–Frackville
Marc Bonin, DO, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at LVH–Schuylkill
Robert Thurick, MD, and Manish Mishra, MD, Integrated Medical Group, adult hospitalists at LVH–Schuylkill
Angela Zawisza, DO, pediatric hospitalist at LVH–Schuylkill
Stephen Evans, DO, LVPG Sports Medicine and Family Medicine
Currently recruiting for an Associate Director
“We have an aging physician population in Pennsylvania and especially here in Schuylkill County,” says William “Bill” Reppy, President, LVH–Schuylkill. “This is a great opportunity to introduce this area to Family Medicine residents and help create our next generation of care providers for our community.”