UNM SRMC educational efforts may decrease doctor shortage

UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center is set to have seven residencies next month and four core medical student rotations. (Albuquerque Journal—Pat Vasquez-Cunningham photo)

Another Rio Ranchoan has graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center continues to attract local doctors and learners, which will likely help reverse the shortage of physicians in Sandoval County.

Richard Larson, vice chancellor at UNM Health Sciences Center, told a meeting of health care providers and county officials in January the county lacked 27 primary care physicians. The Affordable Care Act is creating an even greater demand.

SRMC plans in a few years to build a medical office building on its campus and almost 20 community physicians were expected for an open house at the hospital on Thursday.

Dr. Michael Richards, executive physician for the UNM Health System, told the SRMC board Wednesday he will meet soon with Presbyterian Medical Services.

He wants the primary care physicians at the PMS facility on Unser Boulevard, less than five miles away, to refer patients to the hospital’s specialty clinics.

Rio Rancho native Geneva Tranchida graduated from UNM’s medical college on May 9. Eight years ago she enrolled with the first group at the university in a combined B.A./M.D. program, which was designed to address the state’s physician shortage.

In an interview last month, Tranchida said she and her husband are interested in working someday at SRMC, after they finish their medical residencies.

Dr. Betty Chang, associate dean of graduate medical education at UNM, said in an email earlier this month that 10 of the 383 doctors who graduated from the UNM medical school between 2010 and 2013 attended high school in Rio Rancho.

Dr. Tony Ogburn, chief medical officer at SRMC, told the board Wednesday the hospital will have seven residencies in July and four core medical student rotations.

SRMC CEO and President Jamie Silva-Steele told the Sandoval County Commission last week the hospital has an academic mission and employs a variety of learners. Residents spend several years learning a specialty, medical student fill shifts through rotations and high school students can shadow a physician.

Richards and Ogburn told the SRMC board the hospital has developed five signature services, as part of its niche offerings within the UNM Health System, and hopes to soon finish moving all joint replacement from UNM Hospital to SRMC.

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