Summit Health, Penn State to offer joint medical training
Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | 01.10.17
Photo by Markell DeLoatch, Public Opinion
Pat O'Donnell, second from left, president and CEO of Summit Health speaks about the collaboration between Summit Health and Penn State College of Medicine during a press conference at Chambersburg Hospital, Monday, January, 9, 2017. Also, pictured were, Niki Showe, senior vice president Summit Physician Services, Dr. Craig Hillemeier, dean of Penn State College of Medicine and Dr. Terry Wolpaw, vice dean for educational affairs P.S. College of Medicine.
CHAMBERSBURG - Summit Health and Penn State College of Medicine announced Monday they will collaborate to provide training for medical students at Penn State by giving them a chance to work at Summit Health facilities.
"We are very excited about this academic opportunity and what it means for the Summit Health community," said Summit Health President and CEO Patrick O'Donnell at a news conference Monday.
The agreement expands on a partnership that already involves Penn State College of Medicine physician assistant students, who have been doing clinical rotations at Chambersburg Hospital since May 2016. Other planned programs include a one-week primary care rotation for first-year medical students to apply basic interview and physical examination skills in clinical practice, and a program that allows third-year medical students to participate in patient care.
"This is definitely an exciting day for Penn State Health and the Penn State College of Medicine," said Dr. Craig Hillemeier, dean of the Penn State College of Medicine. "This is a true win-win situation and we look forward to continuing to work with Summit."
A partnership between the two had been in the works for a year and a half.
"I went up and met with Dr. Hillemeier and a number of others in the summer of 2015, and he asked if there was anything (they) could do with Summit Health," O'Donnell said. "I mentioned that medical education would be something that we want to pursue and then more meetings on the agreement started to form."
Overall, the agreement seeks to create a "pipeline" where students come and train, then either stay or return to the the area, in an effort to combat the growing physician shortage in the state and the country. The Association of American Medical Colleges anticipates that there will be a shortfall of between 12,500 and 31,100 primary care physicians by 2025.
This program is not the first of its kind that the Penn State College of Medicine is participating in. Penn State has partnered with Mount Nittany Medical Center in Centre County, for about a decade, allowing medical students to do clinical rotations in that hospital. According to Hillemeier that program has delivered the results he is looking for with this one.
"Each of these relationships takes on its own character over time so I don't know that this one would necessarily follow that same track," Hillemeier said. "But it's been a very healthy relationship. We now have lots of medical students that spend their third and fourth year on that campus."
For the Summit Health program, the inaugural group of physician assistants will finish their clinical rotations at Summit Health in April, then the next round of physician assistants will begin their rotations. Students coming to the area will have housing provided to them, according to Penn State College of Medicine officials. Additionally post-graduate training and fellowships will be offered as a way to retain students.
As for patients, Summit feels that they will benefit from having their physicians in a teaching environment.
"Teachers are often stimulated by the students to be at the top of their game and to be more up-to-date on treatment plans," said Frank Mozdy, VP and chief medical officer of physician services at Summit Health. "It's also important to make sure the patients understand the medical education mission of the organization."
According to Hillemeier, the Penn State College of Medicine has about 150 medical students enrolled each year, 30 physician assistants, and 40-50 nursing students and practitioners who do their clinical rotations on campus.
This story comes to us as part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and The Public Opinion.
Published in Healthcare Transformation