Residency program inked IUN med students - January 24, 2017

Courtesy of Chicago Tribune • January 24, 2017

By Meredith Colias

Indiana University Northwest announced an initial agreement on Tuesday between nine local health care providers to begin offering a residency program for its medical students.

The move aims to give prospective medical students a missing piece of their education — a residency placement option in Northwest Indiana — hoping to both address local doctor shortages and encourage students to remain in the area as medical professionals.

Representatives from the Community Healthcare System, Methodist Hospitals, LaPorte Hospital, Porter County Health Care System, Community HealthNet Health Centers, HealthLinc, Regional Mental Health Center, Porter-Starke Services, Edgewater Systems and the IU School of Medicine signed the agreement.

It would create a non-profit consortium between health care providers that has funded $150,000 in planning and development efforts to date. IU officials are hoping such a program could be offered to prospective medical students by 2019.

The school plans to apply for state funding for start up costs, said Dr. Patrick Bankston, associate dean and director of the IU School of Medicine Northwest in Gary.

It is unusual for a school of its size not to have a local residency option, he said.

The next steps will involve accreditation, which specialties to offer and where to place options for residency, Bankston said.

“Those decisions have to be thought out,” he said.

A total of 165 residencies could be available for its first year, according to the university.

Six medical students were at Tuesday’s announcement. Asad Torabi, a fourth-year medical student from Chesterton said a potential residency program would be an added benefit to patients and medical students.

Torabi, from Chesterton, hopes to practice internal medicine in Northwest Indiana. He will learn where he has been placed for residency this March.

For patients with a medical student in the room, “you have an extra set of eyes, someone that is going to enhance care,” Torabi said.

For prospective doctors, it’s a chance to “train in a place where they either grew up or came to IU for medical school and they want to stay and make it home,” he said.