SGMC Health expands training for physicians

Apr. 26—VALDOSTA — SGMC Health is expanding its graduate medical education program with a new residency starting in July of 2025. In March, the health system received accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for a transitional year residency program.

A transitional one-year program serves as the clinical base year prior to advanced residencies such as anesthesiology, dermatology, diagnostic or interventional radiology, neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and radiation oncology, the health system said in a press release.

The extensive accreditation process was led by Transitional Year Program Director Megan Gallagher, DO, alongside core faculty members, Matthew Brown, MD, Brian Pisula, MD, and Ibrahim Oyowe, MD, and SGMC Health Director of Graduate Medical Education Lilliana Johnson.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand the SGMC Health GME department to include a Transitional Year Program," Gallagher said. "We are excited to train future physicians who will make a meaningful impact, provide excellent and compassionate care, and help foster a brighter future for our community's well-being."

The program anticipates interviewing candidates now through January 2025 to fill 10 slots. After participating in the Match in March 2025, SGMC will welcome the inaugural class on July 1, 2025.

According to Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Pankaj Agrawal, MD, "Our internal medicine residency program which received accreditation in 2020 has been extremely successful. Adding a transitional year residency is a great next step for growing our GME program."

Throughout the nation, and especially in rural communities, there is a significant shortage of physicians, the health system said. Research shows physicians are more likely to practice near health systems where they completed their residency.

"Lowndes County and the number of patients who choose to utilize our system for health care services across the region continues to grow," Agrawal said. "Having a robust GME program will help to attract and retain physicians to our area."

Resident training programs impact the community and patients in several ways, SGMC Health said. The most apparent impact is the enhanced access to patient care. Furthermore, they make Lowndes County and the surrounding communities their home, buy houses, rent apartments, and utilize local businesses. They are also active in the community and support a variety of health outreach initiatives.

In addition to GME, SGMC Health recently became the newest clinical training site for Mercer University School of Medicine. The system will welcome its first class of third- and fourth-year medical students this summer.

SGMC Health Designated Institutional Official and Mercer University School of Medicine Associate Campus Dean Joseph Hayes, MD, commended the team for their accomplishment. "I am honored to serve among this remarkable team of physicians that is transforming the future of healthcare in South Georgia. Their passion for developing and training the next generation of doctors will impact this region for decades to come."

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