OHSU’s newest trainees embody the spirit of an academic health center

August 1, 2017

The summer months are anything but quiet when it comes to OHSU School of Medicine graduate medical education (GME). Throughout June and July, the GME office is a human resources engine, onboarding (this year) 276 new residents and fellows, including 154 interns, 22 residents, 73 fellows and 27 trainees moving from residency into fellowship. These physicians – all of whom have earned their medical degree and are now pursuing additional training – embody the educational spirit that makes academic health centers like OHSU unique. In total, OHSU employs more than 850 trainees who provide patient care alongside OHSU faculty members and are a source of mentorship to hundreds of students in health professional programs.

OHSU's more than 80 accredited programs are highly competitive. Approximately 15,000 trainees from around the world applied for 276 open slots in OHSU's GME programs. Twenty-four of the new trainees are OHSU School of Medicine graduates. Twenty-two are international medical school graduates, representing countries as far flung as China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Germany and Syria.

Diversity and inclusion are central principles in the School of Medicine's education programs, and recruiting learners of broad social and economic backgrounds and life experiences is one tactic to help develop a workforce that is well equipped to care for patients from diverse backgrounds. The Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine has been a leader in putting these goals into action. "When you bring together people who look at problems and potential opportunities completely differently, the final outcome of any important decision is better if the leader listens carefully and has an open mind to the input that is received from a diverse advisory group," said Jeffrey Kirsch, M.D., professor and chair of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, OHSU School of Medicine.

While the beginning of post-graduate training is an exciting time for medical school graduates, it's also a time of intense work schedules and new professional expectations. According to a recent study in Academic Medicine, there is added risk for suicide during the early years of training and during certain months of the academic year. In order to help prevent such tragedies and to encourage wellness among clinicians, the OHSU Resident and Faculty Wellness Program has provided free, comprehensive, and easily accessible counseling services to residents, fellows and primary school faculty since 2004. 

OHSU's model of wellness and counseling has been looked to as a national example for ACGME-accredited programs that – effective July 1 – must follow new guidelines requiring trainees have access to confidential health care, including counseling and urgent care. In an opinion piece published in Stat News, George Keepers, M.D., professor and chair of psychiatry, and Mary Moffit, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, emphasize the importance of self-care during the GME years:

"We applaud the ACGME's commitment to preventing depression and suicide in medical trainees and understand this will require sustained commitment and effective interventions at the local level. Oregon Health and Science University, where we work, played a significant role in developing the new guidelines, and we welcome the positive changes that will affect all U.S. interns and resident physicians," wrote Drs. Keepers and Moffit.


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