Training the Next Generation of Doctors

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center CEO Jorge Orosco, Drew School of Medicine Dean Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, and Drew University President Dr. David Carlisle testify before the Board in support of creating the residency programs. All photos by Martin Zamora/Board of Supervisors.

The Board of Supervisors has voted to create a residency program at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science that will train a new generation of doctors to serve patients in South Los Angeles and beyond.

Acting on a motion by Supervisor Janice Hahn and Board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board approved up to $800,000 in startup funds to establish residency programs in both psychiatry and family medicine, with the first class scheduled in June.

The psychiatry residents will focus on ambulatory services in communities that comprise the County’s Service Planning Area 6, which includes Athens, Compton, Crenshaw, Florence, Hyde Park, Lynwood, Paramount and Watts. Meanwhile, family medicine residents will do their inpatient work at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, and outpatient rotations at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center in Willowbrook.

“I believe that these residency programs will greatly help the County recruit homegrown doctors to serve our patients,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “I’m hopeful that many of these residents will also choose to stay with the County after they finish their residencies, reducing our reliance on contract physicians. ”

“Nationwide, we have a shortage of primary care clinicians, and the need is particularly acute in the communities surrounding Drew University,” Board Chairman Ridley-Thomas said. “I am hopeful that many of these trainees will opt to practice locally upon their graduation.”

Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, dean of the Drew School of Medicine, said the residency programs would be a win for both patients and postgraduate medical students. “We bring not only our expertise and talent, but our dedication to developing a culturally competent physician workforce,” she said.

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center CEO Jorge Orosco said, “This training program could, in the long term, serve as a pipeline for new attending physicians to join the medical staff at Rancho.”

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science is an accredited Graduate Medical Education Sponsoring Institution. The Family Medicine residency is scheduled to begin in June with eight residents, and is expected to enroll 24 residents by 2020. The Psychiatry residency will also begin in June with four residents and is expected to enroll 16 residents by 2021.