A new residency program based in the Yakima Valley will soon be training osteopathic physicians in family practice medicine. The program is being founded by the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic with sponsorship from Yakima’s Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences.
The American Osteopathic Association accredited the residency program in 2010. It will be based in Prosser at Valley Vista Medical Center, located at 820 Memorial Street, with resident physicians practicing in Farm Workers Clinic facilities throughout the Yakima Valley. The residents will also practice at Kennewick General Hospital and at PMH Medical Center in Prosser.
Like all residencies, the doctors who are being trained will provide care under the supervision of a fully licensed, practicing physician and maintain a regular panel of patients.
The three-year program, which has yet to be formally named, will welcome its first two residents in July 2013. Two more residents will be added each year, with an initial goal of having six total residents starting in July 2015.
Katheryn Norris, D.O., has been named director of the program, along with being named director of medical education for the Farm Workers Clinic. She recently practiced at Lincoln Avenue Family Medicine in Sunnyside and at Arizona State University Health Services in Tempe, Ariz. She holds a medical degree from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri and completed her residency in family medicine at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale in Arizona.
One of Norris’ initial tasks will be selecting the physicians who will make up the teaching faculty. In February of next year, the residency’s staff will be selecting applicants through the national Intern and Resident Matching Program.
Ross Ronish, M.D., the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic’s chief medical officer, was instrumental in establishing the local residency program. He’s optimistic that once the residents train in the area they will decide to establish medical practices here. “We will be looking for doctors who want to practice in rural areas,” Ronish said. “This gives them an opportunity to train where they are going to work.”
To help cover the costs of the residency, the two hospitals involved are expected to apply for General Medical Education funding available through the national Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In addition, the Farm Workers Clinic is applying for funding as a Federally Qualified Health Center through the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act.