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FAU Receives Initial Accreditation for General Surgery, Emergency Medicine Residency Programs

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FAU Receives Initial Accreditation for General Surgery, Emergency Medicine Residency Programs

FAU Receives Initial Accreditation for General Surgery, Emergency M…

Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine has received initial accreditation from the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for University-sponsored residency programs in general surgery and emergency medicine.

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A couple thoughts on this, which may or may not be seen as raining on the parade.

First and foremost, yes, this will grow FAU's reputation and bring more physicians to stay to practice in the area. ACGME residency programs affiliated with universities are considered more desirable than, say, working for a rural hospital that just started a residency because they can't get physicians out there otherwise. These new FAU residents will find that Boynton/Delray/Boca is a highly desirable place to live compared to some of these 10k person towns surrounded by farmland 2 hours from the nearest airport.

FAU's internal medicine started with a large class and had trouble filling it, so they took on a lot of people who didn't match through traditional means as well as some international medical graduates (IMGs) from the for-profit schools with names like "American University of the Caribbean". They must have done better this year because I didn't see their name in the scramble listings. To be fair, internal medicine has a tough time filling across the nation because it's a non-competitive, "we just need bodies" specialty vs something like emergency medicine or surgery, which are considered mid-competitive specialties and have the luxury of turning away candidates with red flags on their record. I expect FAU to mostly fill if not completely fill based on competitiveness alone.

That said, general surgery is typically a 5 year residency program, which is already longer than most residency programs (3-4 years), only being equal in length to orthopedic surgery (5 years) and less than neurosurgery (7 years). Thus a 6 year surgical residency program will be a little harder to fill because people want to get out and start making doctor money, quite honestly. An extra year for research sounds good if you want some kind of competitive fellowship afterwards, but 5 years is generally enough time to punch out a research project anyway and if you're interested in a fellowship you tend to want to go to a residency program that already has that fellowship because programs like their own - and FAU won't immediately have that. Point being, the research year seems like it's better for the university's reputation than the resident physician's, and I know several people who avoided 4 year emergency medicine programs because 3 year residency programs. Just the nature of the beast. Want to get out and start making doctor money.

I will say that there are some excellent surgeons at Bethesda (I can't speak for the others since I didn't rotate there) who will undoubtedly make good teachers. In general one of the things these places will have to do is build up a "critical mass" of attendings who not only want to teach residents but are good teachers to boot. Bethesda has academic components already - daily streamed video lectures from various sites and a weekly tumor board - so it's not just working and seeing patients now.

With regards to emergency medicine, I feel conflicted about Bethesda East being the main site. First of all, it's not a Level 1 trauma center, which is crucial for EM training, although my understanding is that Delray Medical Center is and probably should be the main site for that reason. Bethesda East's complement of physicians, who I trained under, are a mixed bag - mostly good, but a handful of them are outright malignant towards students (and likely residents) so rotating students will pick up on that and be less inclined to rank the site highly. But that's a personnel problem that may flush itself out over time as there tends to be more turnover in emergency medicine than in other fields of medicine. The FAU emergency medicine residency will be a good place to learn how to identify and treat drug overdoses, however, as Delray in particular has a bad drug problem (heroin, flakka, etc)

For what it's worth, apparently this is a step ladder towards other residencies so once you have surgery, you can have anesthesiology and OB/GYN, so I believe that's on the horizon as well. Outside of the lack of trauma - which isn't as big of a deal for anesthesiology as it is for emergency medicine - I think Bethesda would be a great place to learn anesthesiology because the doctors there are great. The anesthesiologist I rotated under is brilliant, another used to run the residency at UF, etc so the people are there to get it going.

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
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