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ACGME approval

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April 2018

The Florida State University College of Medicine and Sarasota Memorial Health Care System received notice Friday of initial accreditation for an emergency medicine residency program to meet health-care and physician workforce needs in Sarasota and surrounding communities.

The news was delivered by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

“Our plan now is to begin interviewing prospective residents next fall and to welcome a first class of nine residents in July of 2019,” said Kelly O’Keefe, M.D., who became the program’s founding director in July.

“The program will emphasize clinical excellence, the development of leadership skills and business acumen, patient safety and quality improvement, and physician wellness. We expect that our graduates will serve our local communities well into the future.”

Medical school graduates are required to complete residency training in their chosen specialty in order to gain board certification and become an independently practicing physician. Numerous studies have shown that most physicians end up practicing near where they completed residency training.

Emergency medicine residency programs take three years to complete, during which time the residents are learning about their specialty while also providing important patient care to supplement the work being done by other hospital physicians.

The initial accreditation is for a capacity of 27 residents.

O’Keefe previously served as the founding director of an emergency medicine residency program in Tampa with the University of South Florida. While in that role he also served as medical director for the Adult Emergency Care Center at Tampa General Hospital.

“Dr. O’Keefe’s knowledge and experience in developing a new program made him an ideal candidate to lead this collaboration between the FSU College of Medicine and Sarasota Memorial Health Care,” said Joan Meek, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education at Florida State.

Emergency medicine is a popular specialty choice for FSU College of Medicine graduates. The medical school graduated its initial class of 27 students in 2005, with eight of those entering emergency medicine residency programs.

Overall, 137 of FSU’s soon-to-be 1,255 medical alumni (11 percent) have matched in emergency medicine, making it the fifth-most popular specialty choice (behind internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics-gynecology). The numbers include 14 students who matched in emergency medicine from the 108-person Class of 2018, scheduled to graduate in May.

FSU’s medical school has operated a regional campus in Sarasota since 2005. At any given time, approximately 20 third-year and 20 fourth-year students from the campus are completing required and elective clinical rotations in Sarasota, learning directly from experienced community physicians who are part of the College of Medicine faculty.

Some of those rotations take place at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where the College of Medicine has served as institutional sponsor for an internal medicine residency program since 2015. The program’s first class of residents began training and caring for patients in July.

“The community-based approach is what sets our medical school apart and it’s the basis for strong partnerships like the one we have developed with Sarasota Memorial,” said John P. Fogarty, dean of the FSU College of Medicine.

“The internal medicine residency program – and our collaboration in this new emergency medicine program – is a significant part of the commitment to producing future physicians for Sarasota and this entire region.”

The College of Medicine also sponsors residency programs in family medicine (with Lee Health in Fort Myers), internal medicine and general surgery (with Tallahassee Memorial Health Care) and dermatology (with Dermatology Associates in Tallahassee). A new family medicine residency program is under development at Winter Haven Hospital.