SANTA ROSA — The Family Medicine Residency Program at Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa announced its incoming class of 2015, selecting 12 medical school graduates out of 618 applicants — about half of the nation’s 1,200 plus applicants in family medicine.
The three-year program, one of 450 family medicine training programs in the United States, is affiliated with the UCSF School of Medicine and has trained hundreds of family physicians since its inception in 1938.
And it’s become an increasingly vital asset to the region’s health care landscape, as the county, the state and much of the nation confronts a persistent and emerging shortage of primary care physicians.
The county faces a shortage of up to 200 physicians over the next 10 years, according to a study commissioned by the Sonoma County Department of Health Services and the Sonoma County Medical Association. The study said the county has some 350 primary care physicians, which is better than the ideal range of 60 to 80 doctors per 100,000 residents. Still, an estimated 22 percent of the county’s primary care physicians are expected to retire and another 6 to 8 percent plan on leaving the area.
In addition the shortage, the nature of primary care has changed dramatically, with more and more physicians joining larger, more coordinated systems versus running a private practice.
“Health care is changing in this country and the old models of family medicine, where a physician sits in the office and waits for patients to come to them, are out-dated. In our recruiting, we have positioned ourselves as one of the innovators in the world of family medicine education,” said Jeff Haney, residency program director.
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