ILWACO, Wash. – Ocean Beach Hospital and Medical Clinics (OBHMC) welcomed, earlier this month, the first of twelve or more residents from the Providence Everett Internal Medicine Residency Program in conjunction with the Washington State University (WSU) College of Medicine. OBHMC, selected by the WSU College of Medicine to provide rural training experience for licensed physicians in their second and third years of residency, will benefit from hosting a resident a month, each for a month-long rotation. Laurie A. Belknap, DO, MS. MEdL, FAAFP, was tapped by WSU to oversee the program locally.
“Participation in the graduate medical education program with WSU and Providence Everett offers tremendous benefits to Ocean Beach Hospital and our community,” said Dr. Belknap. “We are excited for the addition of these high-performing physicians to support and elevate the quality care we currently provide to our patients.”
Dr. Belknap, the preceptor for the residency training program, is exceptionally qualified for this role as she came from an academic medical center with a master’s degree in Medical Education Leadership, making her both a doctor and a teacher.
“As an academic physician with experience in rural graduate medical education at a Critical Access Hospital, I was contacted by WSU and asked to help with building a rural training program at OBHMC,” said Belknap. “The OBH team was enthusiastically on board!”
Recruitment of medical professionals to rural areas is an ongoing challenge – a need recognized and intrinsic to the founding of both the WSU College of Medicine and the WSU Internal Medicine Residency Program.
“Ideally, one or even two of these resident-program physicians will someday return to South Pacific County, perhaps to staff the Ilwaco Clinic expansion that is currently being planned for 2023/2024,” said Larry Cohen, Chief Executive Officer, OBHMC, who entered talks with the WSU College of Medicine about partnering in the program to provide teaching opportunities in 2016, a year after the college was founded.
“I am so grateful to Dr. Belknap for jumping in and for the skill set she brings to this partnership program,” said Cohen. “She is an excellent physician, and OBHMC is fortunate to have her on our team.”
About the WSU Internal Medicine Residency Program
The WSU Internal Medicine Residency Program, which began in 2018, integrates graduate medical education in teaching hospitals across the state. The program is supported in part by a 2018 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a department of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, aimed at improving access to rural health care. Under the WSU program, selected physicians are purposely recruited with preference given to Washington residents and those who have a background or interest in rural health.
Internal Medicine residency is a three-year clinical training program, following graduation from medical school, required for Board Certification. “Residents” are licensed doctors (MDs or DOs) in training. Residents are commonly referred to as R1, R2 or R3 based on their year of training.
Residency programs are specific to the specialty of medicine, for example, Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, OBGYN, or General Surgery. Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics, among others, are three-year programs.
About Ocean Beach Hospital and Medical Clinics
Serving South Pacific County for 88 years, Ocean Beach Hospital and Medical Clinics provides access to both routine and critical health care services. OBHMC is community-owned and operated as a public hospital district and has received multiple recognitions for its excellence. OBHMC leverages affiliations, partnerships, and participation in programs such as the WSU Internal Medicine Residency to stay vibrant and strong in the face of nationwide health care challenges. Find out more at www.oceanbeachhospital.com.