Lake Nona’s own Nemours Children’s Hospital has officially received the much sought-after credentials from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and will launch its first Pediatric Residency Program in July 2019. This program is not only a step forward for Nemours but also for the state of Florida as a whole, being that Florida currently ranks 41 out of 50 in terms of sponsoring Gradual Medical Education (GME) residents and fellows for those aspiring to be in the medical field. This is in part due to Florida’s late entry in the medical training field which didn’t begin until the mid-20th century, while other states have housed residency programs spanning decades prior.
The state is also facing a severe physician crisis, with an anticipated shortage of 7,000 medical specialists by the year 2025, while the number of ill children in the state is expected to increase according to current statistics. The population of children in the state is expected to increase by 7% by 2022. Osceola County has reportedly been most affected by this shortage, with just over 36% of residents reporting difficulty or delay in obtaining medical services for their children this past year.
Just 1% of all hospitals in the United States train half of the nation’s pediatricians and pediatric specialists. According to sources, there is a shortage in pediatric specialists nationwide, leaving children without a doctor able to treat their condition.
Nemours hopes that, by training a new generation of medical professionals, families will have access to specialized care in the local area and will not have to travel to receive the care that they need. “At Nemours, we have a rapidly growing population of children with medical complexity and those with high acuity needs,” said Dr. Amber Hoffman, program director for Nemours Children’s Hospital Pediatric Residency Program. “This paired with an expert faculty that has assembled from across the country is a combination that provides a perfect training ground to teach pediatric residents and subspecialists evidence-based, cutting-edge medicine.”
For the inaugural class in July 2019, Nemours is accredited for 36 pediatric residents, which will be recruited by the faculty physicians starting this fall. “Academic medicine is defined by a threefold mission. As a faculty physician, you are expected to be an excellent clinician championing quality and safe care, a researcher to advance the field, and a medical educator to ensure high-caliber training,” said Dr. Heather Fagan, vice chair of education at Nemours’ Department of Pediatrics. “Our doctors have been recruited from academic medical centers across the country and are ready to help families in Florida by training the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists.”