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MUSC receives grant to expand residency training

By Cindy Abole
Public Relations

MUSC’s Pediatric Residency Primary Care Track received a $1.92 million grant in 2010, one of 30 primary care programs nationally, that is aimed at reshaping the way pediatric care is handled.

The award will increase pediatric residency slots and strengthen expertise in caring for the Tri-county’s youngest patients. The five-year grant comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and is part of the agency’s primary care residency expansion efforts. The award expands the current residency positions to 16 spots—adding two pediatric primary care track positions for the next five years.

Dr. William Basco

William T. Basco, M.D., principal investigator of the grant, associate professor and director of the Division of General Pediatrics, said the grant allows MUSC to enhance and transform how the pediatric residency primary track is organized. “We hope this change will help resident-physicians see beyond the traditional general pediatric residency track and change their mindset about how and where they can accomplish some of their training.”

The grant boosts the Department of Pediatrics’ effort to prepare, train and retain quality pediatricians by increasing time in community practices in order to improve their skills in primary care and community pediatrics. It provides participants with nine months of additional training in a variety of community settings caring for the Lowcountry’s infants, children, teens and young adults.

HRSA’s Public Health Service Act supports the Primary Care Residency Expansion Program, which aims to increase the number of resident- physicians in family medicine, general internal and general pediatric medicine at accredited primary care residency programs throughout the country.

Pediatric resident Dr. Abby Schuh is among 40 pediatric residents caring for the Lowcountry’s youngest patients. MUSC’s Pediatric Residency Primary Care Track will expand to include additional residency slots and strengthen its training through new opportunities starting July 1.

According to William Southgate, M.D., MUSC Children’s Hospital pediatric residency program director, the expansion enriches the larger categorical pediatric residency program efforts.

“This enriches our relationship between MUSC pediatrics and South Carolina patients living in our region. MUSC’s partnership with the MUSC Children’s Care Northwoods and the Georgetown Pediatric Center provides great examples of working with specific patient populations and providing pediatric care in a rural community. Our residency program is more enriched because of this expansion,” said Southgate, who also is professor of pediatrics.

MUSC’s pediatric primary care track’s (PCT) clinical and educational programs require residents to spend three years emphasizing primary care- oriented training in multiple settings. Changes to the new program will extend community-based rotations by adjusting training activities in the second and third years of residency. The community practice sites are primary care medical homes serving underserved populations—MUSC Children’s Care-Northwoods in North Charleston and the Georgetown Pediatric Center in Georgetown.

This primary care track and community-oriented residency training program will improve the care of patients, especially minority and at- risk patients, by training residents in community settings where they can better learn the skills needed to practice within a collaborative, patient-centered primary care environment.

Southgate, Basso and other Department of Pediatrics faculty have met and talked with more than 200 general pediatric residency candidates and also outlined specifics about the pediatric primary care residency track. By Feb. 23, potential residents will submit their ranked match lists with the National Resident Matching Program. Overall results will be made available during National Match Day on March 17.

“We’ve had a great response from candidates so far,” Southgate said. According to Basco, the patient-centered medical home concept will be at the center of training for all pediatric PCT residents. He said that children would benefit more from having primary care pediatricians trained in how to leverage longitudinal relationships with patients in a community setting to improve long-term outcomes for conditions that plague South Carolina children, including disparate injury rates, chronic diseases such as asthma and obesity, and community aspects of health promotion.

“This is a step in the right direction for our patients and the Department of Pediatrics as it supports our goals and priorities down the road,” said David Habib, M.D., critical care pediatrics. The grant calls for nine additional months of training in these types of settings.

Last year, pediatric residency faculty began outlining the changes to the current curriculum. In the fall, faculty began meeting and discussing the new program with potential pediatric PCT resident candidates. Changes to the program will begin July 1.

Visit pediatrics/residency/genpeds/index.htm for more information.

Friday, Feb. 18, 2011

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.