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Palmetto Health is welcoming its 2011 incoming class of residents and fellows, with July marking the month that medical school graduates nationwide begin their residency training.
The 90 new resident physicians at Palmetto Health hail from 25 states and represent 32 U.S. and five international medical/dental schools. While 31 of the new arrivals attended medical/dental school at either the University of South Carolina or the Medical University of South Carolina, more than half of the inbound physicians-in-training (64 percent) are moving to Columbia from out of state, a reflection of both the growing prestige of the training programs of Palmetto Health/University of South Carolina School of Medicine and the distinctive appeal of the capital city.
“Residency education is more than just seeing patients. Residents involve themselves in a comprehensive learning program that also includes lectures, reading programs, and simulation labs,” said Dr. James Morrison, Palmetto Health residency program director for surgical critical care and USC SOM assistant professor of surgery. “They are taught to seek out the latest research and best practice plans, they train at different sites to learn about different medical delivery systems, and they learn to become teachers themselves.”
Resident physicians complete their graduate medical education at Palmetto Health by practicing medicine in more than 20 areas of specialty under the supervision of highly experienced attending physicians. Residency is the last step of post-secondary training for physicians before they begin private practice.
“Residents remind us often why we chose medicine: their curiosity, their enthusiasm, their desire to make a difference. And you see their caring,” said Dr. Caughman Taylor, medical director of Palmetto Health Children's Hospital and chair of USC SOM Department of Pediatrics. “I know in Children's Hospital we get so many positive comments from our families, especially those who have children with life-threatening or chronic diseases, on the difference the residents made. Without them we could not give the level of care that the kids expect and deserve.”
As the capital city's major teaching hospital, Palmetto Health Richland is the sponsoring institution of the Palmetto Health / University of South Carolina School of Medicine's residency and fellowship programs. Residency training has been a major part of the hospital's mission for more than 90 years.
Dr. Thomas Cook, Palmetto Health residency program director for emergency medicine, said, “When you consider that the 10 individuals who will start their training in our department this July will over the course of their collective careers treat approximately 1 million patients, what we are doing here has incredible implications.”
Since their affiliation in 1972, the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and Palmetto Health have graduated 1,798 residents, more than half of whom remain in South Carolina to practice. All of the Palmetto Health / University of South Carolina School of Medicine's medical and dental residency training programs are fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.