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Jul 8, 2015 11:15 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton, Stony Brook Hospitals To Join Forces For Residency Programs

Residents at work at Southampton Hospital. ALYSSA MELILLO
Jul 8, 2015 11:15 AM

Stony Brook University Hospital is in the final stages of moving its family medicine residency program to Southampton Hospital, which will result next year in the two programs fully merging.

All of Stony Brook’s family medicine residents will work at Southampton Hospital, a move that officials said will benefit doctors by placing them in a non-academic, real-life setting.

Stony Brook will also begin sponsoring Southampton’s residency program in internal medicine, so that residents will have access to Stony Brook’s educational support systems, a high-tech medical simulation center, and specialized training in certain medical procedures.

This year’s family medicine residents will be the last to finish the three-year program at the Stony Brook University main campus. Beginning next year, doctors who complete residencies will receive diplomas that read: “Stony Brook Medicine at Southampton Hospital.”

“What we felt about family medicine is that it’s primary care and belongs in a community hospital setting,” said Dr. Frederick Schiavone, vice dean for medical education at Stony Brook School of Medicine. He noted that many other institutions have similarly merged their residency programs: “We are following in the best practices of great, outstanding university medical centers.”

The merger, about which discussions began more than seven years ago, comes as Southampton and Stony Brook await state approvals on an overall partnership that will bring the local hospital entirely under Stony Brook’s operating license. Future plans include a new Southampton Hospital facility on the campus of Stony Brook Southampton.

Southampton Hospital has been offering residency training programs for the last five years and has graduated more than 50 doctors. Dr. Fred Weinbaum, executive vice president for operations and chief medical officer at Southampton Hospital, said Stony Brook’s presence will ensure that the local hospital’s programs are of the highest quality and will provide training for doctors that is on par with that of the nation’s leading medical institutions.

Dr. Weinbaum also said that Stony Brook sending its family medicine residents to Southampton might mean that more doctors will remain on the South Fork, as some residents in the local hospital’s program have done after they finish. Dr. Michael Genereux, for example, filled an open physician spot in Montauk earlier this year, and Dr. Angana Homchaudhuri has stayed to practice in Hampton Bays and Sag Harbor.

Other programs will see changes as well, including Southampton’s internship rotation, which doctors participate in before moving on to a residency program. It will become a year-long training program that Dr. Schiavone said he hopes can serve as a pipeline to Stony Brook programs like dermatology.

Southampton also offers a residency in surgery, a program joined to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead and sponsored by the New York Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Education Consortium. Part of that program consists of sending residents to Stony Brook for a year before they return to the East End, but both Dr. Weinbaum and Dr. Schiavone said they are unsure about the future of that program because of Peconic Bay’s recent decision to join the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. There is no requirement to make changes to the program until 2020, the two officials said.

They said the new chapter of Southampton and Stony Brook’s residency programs benefit both institutions, allowing Stony Brook students to have experience outside an academic institution and at the same time strengthening Southampton’s medical education and attracting more doctors to the South Fork.

“I’m very happy that these medical educational programs have been taking charge,” Dr. Schiavone said. “We need more and more primary doctors. Those will bring more opportunities.”

“It does give us a connection to an academic medical center that creates a lot of strength in our ability to attract residents to our residency training,” Dr. Weinbaum said. “We have many, many more applicants than we have positions. That can only get better as we move forward with Stony Brook.”

At the same time, three organizations involved in accrediting medical residency programs—the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the American Osteopathic Association, and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine—also announced earlier this year that they would join forces to create “a single graduate medical education accreditation system for residency and fellowship programs in the United States,” according to AGME’s website.

“It’s a wonderful alignment—all the worlds are coming together,” Dr. Schiavone said. “We were ahead of the curve.”

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