IUSM graduate medical education to expand statewide

December 3, 2015

As part of Indiana University’s Bicentennial Celebration, President McRobbie is visiting regional campuses. He most recently spoke with the community, students, alumni, and local businesses at IU Northwest and focused on the opportunities that exist for an expanded residency program at IU campuses statewide.

The IU School of Medicine's Northwest-Gary campus could potentially host 100 residents in primary care fields.  | Photo By Liz Kaye

Here’s the gist. When it comes time for residency training, many IU School of Medicine students at regional campuses must relocate to neighboring cities such as Chicago (for IUSM-Northwest-Gary students) and Indianapolis instead of staying at the campus at which they’ve trained for so long.

Patrick Bankston, associate dean and director of IU School of Medicine-Northwest-Gary, believes that regional campuses and the communities surrounding them have the capacity to host their own residency programs, just as the Indianapolis campus does.

“I think that each of the School of Medicine campuses have different resources,” said Bankston. “Some are smaller than others in terms of the number of hospitals, and each offers a different patient population. So I think we have to approach this potential program creatively to see what makes sense for each region as we move this forward.”

The healthcare community surrounding IUSM-Northwest-Gary is collaborating to discuss opportunities associated with graduate medical education development at this campus. An expansion of the IUSM residency program would create new jobs for trainees and physicians in the area and nationwide. This benefits everyone.

Regional campuses are an important part of Indiana University, and the majority of students stay in the region in which they study after graduation. These new graduate medical education programs will populate regional campus communities with residents and new physicians, conquering physician shortage issues and making a positive economic impact on these areas.

“Legislators should be congratulated for showing foresight for the need for this,” said Bankston. “The whole point of [residency program expansion] is the shortage of physicians. Physicians who train in an area tend to stay there; they develop relationships with the physicians in the community.”

After the implementation of regional residency programs, residents can expect a unique opportunity at IUSM-Northwest-Gary. This regional campus provides unique exposure to the special problems related to underserved populations—a challenging yet rewarding experience for residents and future physicians in the region.

“A residency program at IUSM-Northwest-Gary certainly would help prepare future physicians,” Bankston said. “No matter where they end up practicing, this would prepare them to handle just about anything they’ll run into in their careers.”

Bankston believes that IUSM-Northwest-Gary could potentially host 100 residents in primary care fields. With the help of the community and hospitals surrounding the campus (as well as nationally recognized consulting firm Tripp Umbach, which has extensive graduate medical education development experience, including residency-program creation at IUSM-Evansville), the program could be available within a few years.

For more information on graduate medical education expansion, visit http://medicine.iu.edu/residents/.