Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians

Public Awareness

Family Medicine Residency to Open in Greenville

New Family Medicine Residency Coming to MS Delta, Greenville

Updated February 4, 2020

A Mississippi Delta Family Medicine Residency Program will open in July 2020. The residency program’s application, submitted by the Mississippi Medical Education and Research Consortium (MS MERC), was approved in January by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Dr. Evelyn Walker

MS MERC has been approved for 24 new total residents, 8 per year. The program will be housed at the old King’s Daughters Hospital in Greenville, now called Delta Regional Medical Center West Campus.

“The recent steps are the culmination of 5 years of preparation and work by the Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce (OMPW), which long ago identified the Delta as a priority area in need of a residency program,” said Dr. John Mitchell, OMPW executive director.

“The Mississippi Delta in particular has a great need,” Mitchell said. “Unless we can develop training positions, [doctors] will likely go elsewhere to practice. Statistically speaking, about 60 percent of residents will stay to practice within a 100-mile radius of where they trained.”

MAFP wrote the legislation to create OMPW in the state legislature in 2012 specifically to develop new residency programs.

Dr. Evelyn Walker, the Designated Institutional Official as well as Program Director for the residency, has been working with the OMPW for 18 months taking the necessary steps for launching a new program. “It has been a process,” she said. The group put together the consortium and received formal approval from ACGME, which took almost a year.

During the time the group was waiting, Dr. Walker completed training from the National Institute for Program Director Development (NIPDD) and received on-the-job training at the University of Mississippi’s Family Medicine program, where she completed her own residency in 1989.

After consortium approval, the group then compiled and submitted a comprehensive program application that included a plan for the entire 3-year curriculum, a list of physicians from numerous specialties who would train residents, and extensively-detailed written policies and procedures.

After the application was approved in June 2019, the ACGME site visit was the next step. A visitor came to Greenville Oct. 29 to meet with the group and see the facility. Dr. Walker said the visitor gave them a good feeling.

“He made us feel so comfortable,” Dr. Walker said. “He was very encouraging.”
Mitchell agreed. “The organization, planning and preparation definitely did not go unnoticed by the ACGME site visitor.”

Drs. Walker and Mitchell praised the efforts of Julie Paul, education administrator for OMPW; Pam Royston, Partners in Medical Education consultant; and Dr. Lessa Phillips, former UMMC program director, who also participated in the site visit.

MS MERC plans to renovate the hospital building in Greenville to meet the residency program’s needs. And the next step, Dr. Walker said, will be hiring medical personnel and staff.

“The January-July time period will be very busy with fine-tuning the program, development and startup,” Dr. Mitchell said.

Since approval was received January, it was past the deadline to participate in the 2020 MATCH for this year’s medical school graduates. Dr. Walker said the first year, they will likely fill their PGY-1 slots with students who participate in the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP).

Dr. Mitchell said OMPW is also working to develop new family medicine residencies in Gulfport at Gulfport Memorial Hospital, in McComb at Southwest Regional Medical Center, and in Southaven at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Desoto. Programs at Corinth (emergency medicine) and Oxford (internal medicine) are also in the works.

“Depending on legislative funding,” Dr. Mitchell said, “[Gulfport Memorial] could start the process in 2020 and could be looking at a 2021 residency starting date.”

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