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Behavioral health provider launches psychiatry residency program
Recognizing a need for psychiatrists in the region and across the country, a behavioral health provider has launched a psychiatry residency program.
Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids said last week that it began its inaugural psychiatry residency program on July 1, with nine residents from across the country.
Throughout the four-year program, residents will complete various psychiatry rotations: inpatient and outpatient care, general medicine, consultation liaison in acute care hospitals, neurology, the child and adolescent unit and geriatric unit. The residents will also be assigned to a dedicated adult inpatient teaching unit.
The nine medical students matched to Pine Rest’s psychiatry residency represent various institutions: Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Minnesota, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine and Wayne State University.
Dr. William Sanders, residency program director and psychiatrist at Pine Rest, said the program focuses on psychiatry training and provides multiple sub-specialties to offer a full breadth experience for residents.
“Not only do our residents who come here get extra special individual attention and focus on psychiatry training, and the staff that are here are focused on them and their training, but we also have these great relationships with our community partners,” Sanders said.
Sanders said Pine Rest has partnerships with Spectrum Health, Metro Hospital, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s and MSU College of Human Medicine.
Through the development of the program and sub-specialty rotations, Sanders said the Grand Rapids community was extremely supportive, due to the importance of being able to provide behavioral health services for their patients.
“I think that is one of the unique things about Grand Rapids, is the philanthropic spirit," Sanders said. "This program would not exist if it wasn’t for the support of the independent practitioners in town and the major hospital systems. There is a huge shortage of psychiatrists, not only in West Michigan and Michigan, but also across the country. To be able to provide those resources and needs for our community, it made sense to start a residency program here in Grand Rapids.”
The long-standing relationship between Pine Rest and MSU can be traced back to 1975, when the school had a satellite residency program at Pine Rest.
When the residency program was centralized in Lansing in 1995, Sanders said the stream of psychiatrists needed to provide care in the community ran out.
“What we do know from that residency program in the past is out of the 80 residents that graduated in those 20 years, 50 of them stayed and practiced in the West Michigan area,” Sanders said.
Since the previous program at Pine Rest was considered an MSU residency program, the behavioral health provider was able to apply for federal funding, due to never having a program established prior to the Balanced Budget Act in 1997, which limited the financing and availability for residency spots.
The organization began building a psychiatry residency program after developing an academic culture through its partnership with the MSU College of Human Medicine and applying for federal funding with the Accreditation for Graduate Medical Education and the American Osteopathic Association.
“We wanted to be able to recruit the best candidates possible for our residency program, so we applied and got accepted by both organizations to start a residency program,” Sanders said.