The Southern Regional Area Health Education Center contributes greatly to the health of Fayetteville area residents by helping train dedicated medical professionals who work in a variety of settings. In its dual role as a health-care provider and an educational facility‚ the center has been training top-notch family physicians for the past 30 years. Chartered in 1974‚ the center brought “in its first set of family medical residents in 1977. Since that time‚ 145 physicians have graduated from the program. “Out of that number‚ about half have stayed in the state‚” says Karen Mantzouris‚ marketing and public relations director for SR-AHEC. “That is one of the main focuses of our program.” The center is affiliated with Duke University Medical Center in Durham and is part of a statewide Area Health Education Center initiative‚ with nine locations in North Carolina. In addition to training physicians through its residency program‚ the Fayetteville center provides educational services throughout the nine-county region for employees of hospitals‚ public health departments‚ long-term care facilities‚ mental health centers and public and private medical practices. Disciplines include allied/public health and interdisciplinary medicine‚ continuing medical education‚ dentistry‚ mental health‚ nursing and pharmacy. The center also offers support for students in grade school and through college who have an interest in pursuing careers in health care. The center’s Health Careers Workforce Diversity Program provides outreach to students as young as second-graders. In June 2007‚ the center had seven residents graduating from its family medical residency program. At the same time‚ eight residents were coming in. At any given time‚ there are typically 17 residents and 10 medical professionals at the center. These 27 doctors work as a team to provide a host of services to patients‚ including clinic and hospital care‚ wellness checkups‚ acute care visits‚ pediatric care‚ obstetrics‚ management of ongoing medical conditions and adult psychological services. “Every doctor we have here in residency is going to be a general practitioner‚” Mantzouris says. “That means they will do everything from delivering babies to taking care of grandma.” The center attracts medical school graduates from around the world for the three-year residency program. It was the first residency program in the state to be dually accredited by the American College of Graduate Medical Education and the American Osteopathic Association. Despite its global reach‚ the SR-AHEC maintains a community orientation and a personal‚ friendly atmosphere that surrounds residents and patients alike‚ Mantzouris adds.