Wichita Falls, TX (December 27, 2016)— There have been some momentous changes taking place here in Wichita Falls that will truly benefit the health and well-being of north central Texans for generations to come. The changes will elevate our Wichita Falls Family Medicine Residency Program to even greater levels of achievement and quality for Family Physician Resident Training and Education, and simultaneously improve access to and the quality of primary healthcare services for the entire community. The very first steps to these changes began in late summer of 2016 and some crucial steps forward have since occurred. “We at the residency are already seeing many of the benefits of the changes that have started,” stated Ahmed Mattar, MD, Program Director at the Wichita Falls Family Medicine Residency Program. “Our new affiliation with University of North Texas Health Science Center, a true primary care supporting medical school, has paid dividends in the areas of faculty development and assistance with the tedious regulations of graduate medical education. Our new partners at the Community Healthcare Center have gone out of their way to help us with the administrative tasks of the program while making genuine plans to improve the training of our bright residents. United Regional Health Care System (United Regional), our main training hospital, has been very supportive of any and all efforts to improve the quality of education of the residents and the residency. We are proud to work at and serve the patients of United Regional and the community.”
First, Wichita Falls Family Medicine Residency Program is now affiliated with the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC). UNTHSC’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) has been recognized as one of the nation’s top 50 medical schools for primary care by U.S. News & World Report. TCOM is a leader in training physicians skilled in comprehensive primary care and rural medicine. Approximately 65 percent of TCOM’s graduates practice primary care medicine, helping reduce the shortage of physicians in our Texas communities. Many others successfully practice in specialty careers ranging from aerospace medicine to cardiovascular surgery.
This affiliation will bring about more opportunities for medical students of UNTHSC to have clinical training experiences in Wichita Falls and is expected to increase match rates with our Wichita Falls Family Medicine Residency Program for their post-graduate training (Residency) in Family Medicine. Those matched resident physicians will then, for the next three years, experience first-hand what a wonderful community Wichita Falls is and simultaneously get a top-tier training experience in the specialty of Family Medicine. When these Family Physicians graduate from our Residency, many will not want to leave our great community, and instead will remain here for their careers and lifetimes. This, in turn, will substantially enhance access to high-quality primary medical care for the people in the area. “It has been my great pleasure to become better acquainted with the faculty, residents and community supporters of family medicine in Wichita Falls. I’ve found everyone very receptive and appreciative of the enhanced academic support UNTHSC is able to offer its affiliated residency programs and I look forward to a long and productive relationship. Through collaborative efforts of all partners, I believe we have the opportunity to bring the program into the top tier.” – Dr. Lisa Nash, Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, UNTHSC.
Second, Wichita Falls Family Medicine Residency Program will begin officially partnering with Community Healthcare Center (CHC) on January 1, 2017. CHC is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the Wichita Falls region. This new partnership will bring more opportunities to Wichita Falls Family Medicine Residency Program, Community Healthcare Center, and indeed the entire community. Those include increased access to high quality primary care for patients, increased quality in and access to Family Medicine Residency training, increased access to other health careers training, and improved financial stability. “We look forward to this vital partnership that we can all benefit from. The Residency has the physicians that can treat patients and the physical site at which to treat them, and we definitely have the patients for them to treat at their site. This marriage brings the best of several worlds together for the overall benefit of this community for generations to come,” stated Mr. Allen Patterson, Chief Executive Officer of Community Healthcare Center.
Third, the Wichita Falls Family Medicine Residency Program will continue to have Resident Physicians actively treating patients at United Regional. United Regional serves as an outstanding and integral site for the residents’ education and training as Family Medicine Physicians, especially as it relates to inpatient and specialty care. Phyllis Cowling, President and CEO of United Regional stated, “The residents of the Wichita Falls Family Medicine Residency Program have played, and will continue to play, a vital role in serving the patients of United Regional and the community of Wichita Falls. We are encouraged by recent changes within the Program, and we appreciate the experience, expertise, and collaboration of all involved, working together to ensure an excellent medical education environment for the next generation of physicians.”
The final details of these changes are awaiting a few approvals from resource and accreditation entities to completely consummate the marriage. Those approvals are expected by April 2017, after which another announcement of the project’s successful full implementation will be made. For now, we just wanted to let everyone know that the project is moving forward and we hope to have further details coming soon.