Kennewick General Hospital starts first Tri-Cities residency program for doctors

Tri-City HeraldMarch 25, 2013 

— Kennewick General Hospital soon will become a training ground for new doctors.

The hospital Monday announced the launch of a three-year post-graduate medical residency program — the first of its kind in the Tri-Cities.

The program will train medical school graduates in family and internal medicine with the goal of enticing doctors to stay in the Tri-Cities and practice, a KGH spokeswoman said.

“Where they do their residency is where they tend to stick,” spokeswoman Lisa Teske told the Herald. “We know there is a doctor shortage looming. One of our major drivers is to groom the next generation of medical students and get them to stick here.”

The program will provide recent medical school graduates with hands-on inpatient and outpatient experience and will include hospital and clinic rotations, as well as one-on-one training with local doctors.

While open to graduates of any medical school in the nation that want to apply, the program builds on a previous one developed in partnership with Pacific Northwest University in Yakima that brought third- and fourth-year medical students to the Tri-Cities for clinical rotations at all three Tri-City hospitals and a few clinics.

That program, started in 2010, also was the first of its kind in the Tri-Cities and also aimed to give medical students a chance to connect to the Tri-Cities and its population and foster a desire to practice medicine in the local community.

“We’ve enjoyed working with the PNWU students for several years,” said Heather Phipps, KGH’s director of medical education and a PNWU board member.

Dr. Sheila Dunlop, the Kennewick physician who was a key player in developing the clinical rotation program and is regional dean of medicine for PNWU, also will serve as one of the directors of the family and internal medicine residency program. Dunlop practices family medicine at Vista Family Health, the practice she co-founded 20 years ago.

The other director is Dr. Mahmoud Al-Hawamdeh, an internal medicine physician for KGH Physician Clinics who takes a special interest in endocrinology and patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure or who have suffered a stroke, according to his biography on the KGH website.

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-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543;; Twitter: @mduplertch

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