Waco's Residency Program Meets Region's Need for MDs

On Friday, April 29, 2011 - 07:24

Each year, a dozen newly minted doctors take part in the Waco Family Medicine Residency Program, where they learn to treat patients in a community setting.

Started in 1970, the program each year accepts 12 residents who see patients in both a clinical and hospital environment.

As part of the three-year program, the new doctors are overseen through an affiliation with the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

In a family medicine environment, most patients see their physicians outside the traditional medical center complex. That’s created a need for programs like Waco’s.

“They take care of the communities. They don’t reside in the ivory towers, but where the predominance of care is given – the community,” says Dr. Roland Goertz, CEO of Family Health Center, the parent organization for the residency program.

During the course of their training, the doctors are immersed in the entire group-practice experience, rotating among specialties and clinics.

A driving force behind the program’s creation was the need to cultivate family-practice physicians in the region.

Thanks to some state money and other funds, the program continues to educate physicians and treat patients at the center, including some who are uninsured but still need care.

Through a residency matching system, the vast majority of the program’s residents come from Texas, and a couple each year choose to stay in the region after they complete the training.

Goertz says about half of the roughly 90 practicing physicians in the Waco area were trained by the program.