Kendall Barton, M.D., exemplifies what Bayhealth leaders had in mind when the hospital established a graduate medical education program.
Barton, a family medicine resident, says the program “kickstarted the fire in my belly,” when it came to his plans to practice mental and behavioral health.
Barton, who grew up in the South, feels Kent County has “just about everything you ever want. The more I’m here… the more it feels like home.”
Gary Siegelman, M.D., Bayhealth’s chief medical officer, says Bayhealth created its medical education program because “Delaware has a shortage of [primary care] physicians.”
A 2018 study found that 28 percent of Kent County providers are over 65 and could be ready to retire soon. It also reports that 80 percent of Delaware’s primary care physicians completed their residency in the region and stayed. This is why healthcare systems across the state are working to create medical education programs like Bayhealth’s.
For now, the program focuses on primary care; however, Bayhealth plans to expand to general surgery later this year and emergency medicine by 2023 with a total planned capacity of 120 residents.
“We’re developing young doctors into better doctors,” Siegelman says. The new program will also “help foster a spirit of learning” among Bayhealth doctors and health professionals.
To keep those training here for the long term, Bayhealth gives special consideration to Delaware residents and those interested in practicing in the First State.
Bayhealth is affiliated with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and Thomas Jefferson University, which allows them to bring in residents (medical students who have graduated from medical school but still require training before practicing on their own) and undergraduate medical students or interns (upper-level medical school students who have not yet graduated).
And Siegelman, who has been recruiting for Bayhealth for 14 years, says Delaware has a lot to offer new physicians. “It’s a great living situation. Good jobs in health care, close to big cities and beaches, and a reasonable cost of living.”