White River Health System Residency Program Earns Accreditation; UAMS to Provide Support

From Left Seated: Khaled “Kal” Khasawneh, M.D., Morgan Norton, M.D. Standing from left:  Mary Wood-Cox, Jody Smotherman, PharmDPictured:  Seated from left: Khaled “Kal” Khasawneh, M.D., Morgan Norton, M.D. Standing from left: Mary Wood-Cox, Jody Smotherman, PharmD

BATESVILLE — White River Health System (WRHS) is proud to announce that its Internal Medicine Residency Program was recently accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), allowing it to move forward with the first class of internal medicine residents in July 2017.

An internal medicine residency is a three-year period of medical training and education in internal medicine for physicians who have graduated medical school. Upon completion of an accredited residency, a physician is eligible to practice medicine.

The WRHS program is the only ACGME-accredited internal medicine residency program in Arkansas outside of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) system. WRMC will be working closely with UAMS to develop the program in Batesville. Members of the UAMS medical staff will provide education and training in the fields of critical care, geriatrics, gastroenterology, nephrology and endocrinology.

UAMS’ Khaled “Kal” Khasawneh, M.D., will serve as the program director of the residency and as a liaison between White River Health System and UAMS. He has five years of experience as a medical director, most recently as medical director of the sleep program at UAMS.

The residency program has begun recruiting physicians until Feb. 22. More than 250 applications are expected. The program will accept up to ten medical residents each year for a total of 30 residents during the three years.  

“I am proud of our graduate medical education team for their hard work and dedication toward obtaining accreditation,” said Gary Bebow, White River Health System CEO. “The ACGME IM Review Committee was very complimentary of our work, and I’m eager to see our program develop and grow.”

Bebow said the sponsorship and leadership of a residency program in a community hospital in affiliation with an academic medical center that utilizes shared resources and technology, such as UAMS,, distinguishes this program from other rural programs in the nation.

In addition to Khasawneh, the WRHS graduate medical education  team consists of Jody Smotherman, Pharm.D., associate administrator of Graduate Medical Education; Morgan Norton, M.D., associate program director of the Internal Medicine Residency; and Mary Wood-Cox, Internal Medicine Residency Program coordinator. Norton is a 1995 UAMS College of Medicine graduate who trained in internal medicine at UAMS, and Smotherman is a 1997 UAMS College of Pharmacy graduate.

“The College of Medicine is pleased to work with White River Medical Center to ensure that their resident physicians are exceptionally well-trained,” said Pope L. Moseley, M.D., the executive vice chancellor of UAMS and dean of the college. “The program’s strong leadership, along with additional faculty expertise in internal medicine specialty areas and UAMS educational resources, will produce outstanding primary care physicians for north central Arkansas.”

WRMC in Batesville will be the primary inpatient training facility for the program. Members of the WRHS medical staff in the specialties of cardiology, emergency medicine, internal medicine, oncology/hematology, neurology, pulmonology and rheumatology will provide educational support and training to residents.

Smotherman said the GME program at WRHS brings new physicians to the community and the health system’s service area that might have otherwise not had the opportunity to see and experience what WRMC and the region have to offer. It leads to improvements in access to care for patients by retaining/hiring residents, and it gives physicians the opportunity to pass along their knowledge and experience to the next generation of physicians.

“There is a nationwide shortage in primary care specialties such as internal medicine,” said Smotherman. “Establishing a residency program will provide physicians for our service area so that our patients won’t be affected by the shortage. In addition to improving access to care for patients by providing physicians for the future, residency programs have also been shown to be an economic engine and asset for the community.”

Khasawneh will apply his knowledge in internal medicine and experience as a leader in academic medicine to build and shape the Internal Medicine Residency Program He will work closely with the internal medicine residents to help further develop their skills in caring for patients and with the physicians that will be a part of the teaching faculty. 

“Many hours went into building the internal medicine residency application last fall,” said Khasawneh. “That hard work has paid off, and we are excited to see how the program will shape the healthcare in our community.”

Khasawneh is an assistant professor of internal medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the UAMS College of Medicine. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine, pulmonary disease, critical care medicine and sleep medicine.

This program is one example of the many residency programs UAMS supports across the state, which include 800 residents. In addition to internal medicine residency, the GME program at WRHS plans to develop a family medicine in 2018.

WRHS is a not-for-profit healthcare system serving residents throughout North Central Arkansas. The system includes White River Medical Center (WRMC) in Batesville, Stone County Medical Center (SCMC) in Mountain View, outpatient facilities, primary care facilities, and specialty physician office practices. WRHS is a member of the Premier Alliance, the American Hospital Association, and the Arkansas Hospital Association and licensed by the Arkansas Department of Health. 

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,870 students, 799 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. 

 

WRHS Contact:
Mary Wood-Cox
Graduate Medical Education Coordinator
Ph: 870-262-2700
 
 
 
UAMS Media Contact:
Leslie W. Taylor, 501-686-8998
Wireless phone: 501-951-7260