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Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

Health System to expand medical training opportunities
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Partnership to drive economic and physician workforce growth for southeast Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - In an agreement finalized in March, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) based in Ann Arbor, and the University of Toledo College of Medicine (UT) are joining forces to create more opportunities for medical students and physician workforce expansion.

“Linking the six hospitals of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System together with the University of Toledo College of Medicine demonstrates the strength and opportunity found within a regional care delivery system,” comments Garry C. Faja, president and CEO, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. “Partnering with the University of Toledo provides an exciting opportunity for everyone involved.”

As a result of the partnership, the University of Toledo College of Medicine will be adding clinical education opportunities for students, and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, a member of Trinity Health, will expand its health education options and launch a resident education program at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Mich. 

“The need for Graduate Medical Education has never been greater,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gold, University of Toledo provost, executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, “particularly in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. This partnership is symbolic of UT’s desire to blur our border with our neighbors to the north in the name of the greater good. We are proud to partner with the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in a way that will meet the needs of our respective communities.”

The educational opportunities will include expansion of graduate medical education, medical student education, research, and other health profession training programs, all available at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, St. Mary Mercy Hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Livingston and St. Joseph Mercy Saline.

“Attracting and retaining physicians and health professionals is a driving force behind this unique and exciting partnership,” explains Bruce Deighton, PhD, chief academic affairs officer for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.

It is predicted that by the year 2020, demand for physicians will exceed supply by 200,000 across the United States.  As the supply and demand chasm grows, so does the challenge to identify strategies to continue to invest in physician training in order to recruit and retain a quality physician base needed to maintain and expand health care services.

"As a multiple hospital system, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System has substantial untapped capacity to train more medical students, residents, and health professions students than are currently enrolled in the system," continues Deighton. “It is our hope that upon completion of their residency, many doctors will remain in the health system to continue their career.”

As an example, Deighton explains that the University of Toledo has been a major source of candidates for SJMHS's internal medicine residency program and that a number of UT graduates who have completed residency at SJMHS have joined the medical staff upon graduation.

The partnership with the University of Toledo will be complementary to SJMHS's existing relationships with the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University.  Similarly, the University of Toledo will continue to participate in existing local and regional clinical teaching affiliations, such as ProMedica Health System, Mercy Health Partners, St. Luke's Hospital and other local providers.

The partnership with the University of Toledo is very important to the development of the first-ever residency training program at St. Mary Mercy Hospital. The new program will potentially include a large graduate medical education program at St. Mary Mercy with up to 10 programs and as many as 150 residents. 

“With this new residency program, St. Mary Mercy Hospital will offer our communities increased access, and long term access to physicians, nursing, pharmacy and other health professions,” said David Spivey, president and CEO, St. Mary Mercy Hospital.

Family medicine, internal medicine and podiatry are the initial programs of focus for St. Mary Mercy and expect to be approved for accreditation soon. Future potential graduate medical education residency programs at St. Mary Mercy Hospital may include obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, pediatrics, general surgery, emergency medicine, transitional year, otolaryngology, ophthalmology and dermatology.

“We are well on our way to bringing graduate medical education to St. Mary Mercy, and we expect the first residents to begin in July of 2010,” concludes Spivey.