LUCOM celebrates new partnership with Illinois hospital
Despite being 500 miles apart, Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) and HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, Illinois share an aligned vision: providing excellent patient-centered care to an underserved population through the marriage of medical science and the love of Jesus Christ.
On November 5 at Liberty’s Center for Medical and Health Sciences, LUCOM and St. Anthony’s took a major step forward together and officially signed an affiliation agreement providing for the clinical education of osteopathic medical students. As LUCOM student-doctors look ahead to their graduate medical education careers and practices, St. Anthony’s will now be one of the clinical sites they consider.
“St. Anthony’s fits with our mission and vision of partnering with quality community institutions and physicians that allow us to provide education to our students and service to those in need. This is done by extending the professional services of our faculty and students to our fellow man in the locations that it is needed, just as Christ demonstrated by journeying to the locations of those he sought to disciple to and serve,” said LUCOM Dean, Ronnie Martin, D.O.
Not only does the area’s largely rural and farming population fit LUCOM’s philosophy of providing community-based, primary and preventative care to those who have limited access to services, St. Anthony’s is excited about the opportunity to develop Graduate Medical Education programs in cooperation with LUCOM. The goal is to train primary care physicians who will hopefully stay and practice medicine in their service region.
“Partnering with LUCOM provides us an opportunity to help develop the skills of physicians in training while they become familiar with our region. We know physicians are most likely to practice in an area where they trained and establishing these relationships early will allow us to grow and develop our medical staff with the highly-trained medical student-doctors of LUCOM,” said Teresa Rutherford, President and CEO of HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital.
Student-doctors on clinical rotations will gain experience in a hospital that serves a population of over 250,000 people. In fiscal year 2015, St. Anthony’s admitted 5,518 patients. Emergency visits topped 26,000, and outpatient visits totaled over 207,000.
“The best place to train community-based physicians is in a community-based hospital. We want to provide them with a mechanism or a pathway to bring physicians into that community and help to support the existing practices that are already there,” said Eric Gish, D.O., LUCOM Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs.
Looking at St. Anthony’s financial contributions to the community, their dedication to service is clear. By offering free programs and services to area residents, the hospital’s community support surpassed $10 million in 2015.
St. Anthony’s is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System, a health care ministry with 14 hospitals and multi-specialty medical groups in Illinois and Wisconsin. Dr. Martin hopes this agreement is the first of many to come.
“We hope that the opportunity is such a success that it will open other hospitals within the system and expand opportunities for our student-doctors and the patients the hospital serves alike in the years to come,” said Dr. Martin.