IDAHO — Family Medicine Residency of Idaho (FMRI) and the St. Luke’s Health System are teaming up to improve pediatric care across Idaho with a new pediatric residency program.
According to the American Board of Pediatrics, in 2020, Idaho ranked 50th out of 50 for the number of pediatricians per 100,000 children in the state. Idaho has about 42 pediatricians per 100,000 kids where the national average is nearly 90 per 100,000 kids.
Dr. Perry Brown is a pediatrician and Family Medicine Residency’s current director of pediatric education, and he will be the program director for the new pediatric residency.
Dr. Brown says there were a number of factors that went into starting up a pediatric residency here in Idaho.
“There is not a pediatric residency that exists between the Pacific Coast and the Minnesota border,” Brown said. “It is a vast, empty pocket, completely void of pediatric residencies.”
Brown added that about 60% of residents who graduate from a given program typically stay within 50 miles of that program to practice, which could be a way to bring new services to this area and increase the number of pediatricians who settle in Idaho.
“Having this pediatric residency here is going to be bringing medical school graduates who come in and do three years of pediatric training and then graduate and will be looking for jobs throughout the valley and really throughout the region and the state,” Brown said.
One of the goals of the program is to spread care out to rural areas in Idaho, where family medicine care can be difficult to obtain. Residents in the program will be required to spend two weeks during their first year of residency and then four weeks during their second and third years working somewhere in rural Idaho.
“The goal of that is partially to get them out into different communities where they may become very excited to live and populate different portions of the state, not just the Treasure Valley,” Brown said. “Another big piece of that is to teach pediatricians and family physicians in rural areas how to collaborate together and the value-added of having to consultant pediatricians and to develop that model so that we can have pediatricians in rural Idaho where on the ground pediatricians have not existed before.”
According to a press release, St. Luke’s has committed $1.7 million to help launch the program. In addition, St. Luke’s physicians will help with teaching FMRI physicians-in-training by seeing patients through their St. Luke’s locations.
FMRI is planning to host four residents per year throughout the three-year residency. The first class of the program will start in July 2023.