Cleveland Clinic Akron General is expanding several areas of its graduate medical education program which, once fully in place in 2024, will result in a nearly 30% increase in the number of physicians it trains each year.
Prior to 2018, 138 residents were training at Akron General. There are 153 in the 2020-2021 academic year, which started July 1, and there will be 177 by 2024.
The biggest growth will come from Akron General starting a psychiatry residency program. The hospital previously had its own program but shifted to participating in a shared program with several other local hospitals in the 1970s.
“Everyone recognizes that we need more mental health professionals in our community,” said Dr. Titus Sheers, chairman of medical education and research at Akron General. “This is the first completely new residency program created at Akron General in several decades, and we have put a great deal of time and effort into its creation to make sure we are doing it right.”
The psychiatry program will have four residents in each of its four years of training, with the first group starting in July 2021. When it’s fully implemented, with 16 participants, it will double the number of trained psychiatrists graduating in the Akron area each year. The program is led by Dr. Rajesh Tampi, chair of the psychiatry department.
Akron General is also expanding its OB/GYN residency program, directed by Dr. Natalie Bowersox, from four residents per year (in a four-year program) to five per year starting with this year’s class.
“We know the community needs more clinicians who are dedicated to reducing infant mortality and addressing overall women’s health care needs, not just those around pregnancy,” Sheers said.
The Family Medicine residency program is growing by two spots this summer, as the Transformative Care Continuum program, a partnership with Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine that offers a compressed training program (three years of medical school and three years of primary care residency), enters its clinical years.
The hospital expanded its traditional Family Medicine and Internal Medicine training programs by two each in the first year and two each in the second year last year and is looking to expand them more in the future.
Akron General also offers residencies in emergency medicine, general surgery, orthopedic surgery and urology, and advanced-training fellowships in breast surgery oncology and vitreo-retinal and ocular trauma. Multiple pharmacy residency programs, including critical care, are also offered.
The hospital hosts more than 750 medical student rotations from across the country each year, as well as numerous nursing student rotations.
The hospital said it incorporated changes into programs because of COVID-19, including more training in how to work virtually, doing things like conducting patient exams, rounding, teaching and consulting with colleagues.
“We want our trainees to leave here ready to take care of all patients going forward in this new era, and it do well,” Sheers said.