Colquitt Regional has launched Georgia South, a new Family Medicine Residency Program, in an effort to encourage young doctors to train and practice in South Georgia. The hospital received national accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association, and will begin recruiting for its first class of three residents that will start July 1, 2016. This program is only the 2nd residency program in Southwest Georgia, and the first in over two decades. “Our long-term vision is for Colquitt Regional to be a premier academic center for medical education and this is a great step in that direction,” said hospital CEO Jim Matney.
South Georgia has a shortage of primary care doctors, and the new residency program will focus on training and recruiting physicians who will stay in the area to practice. Residency programs are important to communities, especially in rural and underserved areas because physicians are more likely to stay and practice within 60 miles of their residency programs. This program allows the region to grow its own doctors, rather than relying solely on recruiting from outside the area. This medical training program will have significant medical and economic impact in Moultrie. As the residency program begins producing physicians, the estimated economic impact is over $1.5 million per new physician and the creation of five new jobs supporting the physician.
The residents will train at the hospital and in outpatient clinics. The three-year program will enroll three residents per year, for a total of nine when the program is fully developed. The program’s Medical Director will be local family physician and GAFP member, Dr. Kirby Smith. Dr. Smith has been in practice in Moultrie for over 20 years and brings a wealth of experience and compassion to teaching new family medicine doctors. Under his guidance, the residency program will train residents, and develop opportunities that specifically target the community need in Colquitt County. “I am proud to be part of the new residency program in Colquitt County,” said Dr. Kirby Smith. “As a member of this community and as a physician, I see this as a chance to train young doctors in rural medicine who will stay to become part of our physician workforce. We hope to see their families become engaged members of our community and that the physicians themselves will have a positive impact on the quality and availability of healthcare across the region.”