Hospital introduces first residency programs
By Tiffanie Reynolds
A program three years in the making, medical the Osceola Regional Medical Center recently launched its first residency program.
Sixteen medical students and Osceola Regional Medical Center doctors make up the first class for Osceola Regional Medical Center’s internal medicine residency program. The program will last three years and give students the experience to become adult primary care physicians. The hospital also offers a OB-GYN residency program. which also started this year.
Not only a first for Osceola Regional, but also for Kissimmee, the program is the result of a partnership between Osceola Regional Medical Center, Orlando Veterans Health Administration Medical Center and UCF College of Medicine. Currently, the hospital holds residency programs for internal medicine, training students to become adult primary care physicians, and OB-GYN, to specialize in maternity and women’s health care. In its first year alone, Osceola Regional Medical Center has received 2,500 applications, and went through a four-month interview process to select 170 students for the next three years. This first class holds 20 students, four in the OB-GYN residency program and 16 in the internal medicine residency program.
“Our physicians are attuned to the needs of the community. Because they are facing that every day, our residents get this first-hand knowledge from working in a community environment, which is really going to broaden their skill level. When they complete our residency they are going to be able to practice in a community hospital or office,” said ORMC Director of Graduate Medical Education Marie Ray.
Three years ago, UCF reached out to local hospitals to establish a residency program for their medical students. Osceola Regional Medical Center jumped at the chance, and almost immediately started applying for residency certification for both the internal medicine and OB-GYN programs. Both programs were certified last year, and since then the hospital has been receiving applications and working to get both programs started by July 1.
Specifically, the internal medicine residency program is a partnership of UCF, Osceola Regional and
Dr. Angel Colon-Molero, deputy chief of staff at Orlando VA and internal medicine medical director, said that students will not only have hands on experience with doctors at ORMC, but near the end of the three-year program, students also will work at the Orlando VA, as it focuses on outpatient and primary care. Students will spread out to more Central Florida facilities in the future, such as the Lake Nona VA hospital, as new facilities open. Both students in OB-GYN residency program and those specifically enrolled for internal medicine will take internal medicine, as it gives students an understanding of every medical specialty in
“This is the base, internal medicine. Many of them, we hope, will decide to stay in the community and work as primary care providers or in hospital medicine. And some of them will go on to do some specialties, cardiology, pulmonary medicine and others, so it’s a really big scope that we have with internal medicine,” said Colon-Molero.
The hospital also applied for OB-GYN residency program certification due to the demand from medical students that work with the hospital previously. Dr. Mark Palozzolo, OB-GYN medical director, said that medical students have worked with the hospital for the past seven years, and has heard many request an OB-GYN residency program because there are so few local hospitals that offer it. OB-GYN focuses on maternity and women’s health issues, such as taking care of pregnant mothers, delivering babies, performing C-sections and other surgeries.
The programs are held in the medical arts building next to the entrance to Osceola Regional Medical Center. The two-story building holds administrative offices, a lounge and personal lockers for students, a computer room for medical research and two small classrooms.
Upstairs, a 100-seat classroom is still under construction. Once opened, it will serve as the main area for classroom learning and discussion, with state of the art classroom equipment.
Aida Sanchez-Jimenez, chief medical officer of Osceola Regional Medical Center, said that the hospital already is looking at plans to get certification for other residency programs, such as emergency medicine, trauma, and surgery. The hospital also is working on opening a behavioral health area in December, and would like to add a psychiatry