The School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR) today announced an affiliation agreement for graduate medical education and the hiring of four residency program directors. DHR will serve as a new location for residency programs in internal medicine, surgery, family medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology.
These residencies will operate under the sponsorship of the San Antonio medical school until The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine attains accreditation. The four residency program directors introduced today are Amer Malas, M.D., FACP, internal medicine; Charles Richart, M.D., FACS, FCCM, general surgery; Eron Manusov, M.D., family medicine; and John Breen, M.D., FACOG, obstetrics and gynecology.
“As founding program directors, these physicians are setting the course to not only establish programs of excellence in their respective residencies, but through those efforts to be involved in transforming the health status of the Rio Grande Valley,” said Francisco González-Scarano, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Kenneth I. Shine, M.D., special advisor to the chancellor of the UT System, thanked DHR for investing in additional residency positions that will play a role in addressing the shortage of primary and specialty care physicians in the Valley.
“More than 80 percent of physicians who graduate from a Texas medical school and complete their residency in the state will practice in Texas, and more than 60 percent will practice in the community where they do their residency,” Dr. Shine said. “We are excited and very proud of the high quality of the program directors recruited in collaboration with DHR who will lead these four programs and who join new program directors of psychiatry residencies. They will assure that graduates of the new medical school will have world-class opportunities in the Valley!”
Clinical activities of the programs will be carried out at DHR. The programs are projected to include at least 78 new training positions for resident physicians. These are part of the planned expansion of graduate medical education throughout the Valley from 33 residency positions to 148.
The internal medicine, surgery, family medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology residencies join a new general adult psychiatry residency program and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship program announced in November 2013 at the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC). The RAHC’s existing residency program, established in 2002, is an internal medicine residency program that utilizes Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen and other clinical sites. The McAllen Medical Center family medicine program, established in 1977, rounds out a rapidly growing group of residency programs in the Rio Grande Valley.
“Doctors Hospital at Renaissance is excited about the future of graduate medical education in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Carlos J. Cardenas, M.D., DHR Chairman of the Board. “Never before has our community seen such a shift in education and opportunity at this rapid of a pace. The residency programs at DHR and the RAHC will be utterly transformational for our area.”
Amer Malas, M.D., FACP, will direct the internal medicine residency program at DHR. Dr. Malas moved to the Valley from Charleston, WV., where he led the successful process to secure five years’ accreditation for the internal medicine residency program at West Virginia University.
Charles M. Richart, M.D., FACS, FCCM, will direct the surgery residency program. Dr. Richart, a trauma surgeon, comes to the Valley from the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he was an associate professor of surgery and pathology. Prior to his position at the University of Kansas, Dr. Richart held the title of director of the surgical intensive care unit at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine from 1998-2004.
Eron G. Manusov, M.D., will direct the family medicine residency program at DHR. Dr. Manusov, who has a special interest in rural health, formerly was professor and program director with Duke University’s Southern Regional Area Health Education Center Family Medicine Residency in Fayetteville, N.C. He also served as Vice President of Clinical Education and Services at Duke University’s Southern Regional Area Health Education Center.
John Michael Breen, M.D., FACOG, will direct the obstetrics and gynecology residency program. Dr. Breen most recently served as the program director and chairman of the obstetrics and gynecology residency program at Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver, CO. Dr. Breen also served as Chairman for the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department and Chief of the Urogynecologic Division at the University of Tennessee, College of Medicine.
To better train physicians in the Valley, Dr. Shine and leaders from the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio have worked closely with clinical partners such as DHR to build up an adequate number of residency positions necessary for the emerging RGV medical school. Collaborators from the San Antonio medical school included RAHC Regional Dean Leonel Vela, M.D., M.P.H.; Lois Bready, M.D., vice dean for graduate medical education (GME) and the ACGME Designated Institutional Official (DIO) in the School of Medicine; and Robert Nolan, M.D., associate dean for GME. They were joined in February by Yolanda Gomez, M.D., associate dean for GME/Associate DIO in the Valley. ACGME is short for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
The establishment of the new residency positions and the recruitment of the UTRGV School of Medicine’s founding dean, Francisco Fernandez, M.D., FAPA, DFAPA, FACP, will be remembered as seminal formative events in the Rio Grande Valley medical school’s history.
“These are individuals who want to come to a place where they will make a difference, where they will use their skills and expertise to establish training programs of excellence, and where they will build a better future in health care and academic medicine in our communities,” Dr. Fernandez said. "What will differentiate us from other training programs will be not just the dedicated faculty like Drs. Malas, Richart, Manusov and Breen, but also the facilities and resources like those of DHR that will prepare our physicians to become leaders and clinical innovators in their respective fields.” The new dean, a psychiatrist-neuroscientist at the University of South Florida, was introduced to the public at February 26 events in Harlingen, Edinburg and Brownsville.
“The four proposed residency programs at DHR will not only provide further educational opportunities for physicians, but they will improve the accessibility of health care in our community,” said Israel Rocha, DHR Chief Executive Officer. “With 78 residents starting in 2015, the number of physician providers will increase exponentially year after year. It is projected that in 10 years, through the onset of graduate medical education, more than 375 new physicians will be providing care in the Rio Grande Valley. For an area that has been historically medically underserved, the influx of nearly 400 physicians will have a significant impact on the future health of our residents.”
Sofia Hernandez, DHR Vice President for Graduate Medical Education and Public Affairs, said: “The combination of the Rio Grande Valley’s large patient population and DHR’s highly trained medical staff will provide a wealth of information and experience for future residents. As members of DHR’s clinical community, residents will learn and become a part of DHR’s central mission - patients first and community service.”