The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) is entering into a new partnership that will expand the residency programs and put MVHS on the path to becoming a major teaching clinical campus. MVHS is partnering with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), Elmira, to be a clinical campus for their medical school, providing clinical rotations for third and fourth year students.

This partnership didn’t just happen. For several years Mark Warfel, DO, program director at St. Elizabeth Family Medicine Residency Program, has been an advocate for expanding Undergraduate Clinical Medical Education and Graduate Medical Education in Central New York. Working with other senior leaders, Dr. Warfel led a process to issue Requests for Proposals (RFP). After reviewing written responses, finalists were selected which were interviewed by senior staff and medical staff leaders. For many reasons, LECOM was chosen as our partner.

What does this partnership mean for MVHS and the Central New York Region?

Increase Physician Count in the Area
First, it expands the number of future new physicians in our community. More than 60 third and four year medical students will rotate through MVHS facilities and also have the opportunity to work with other community physicians. 

Ability to Expand Residency Programs
Secondly, it provides a solid framework upon which MVHS will expand its residency programs beyond the current Family Medicine and Dental residencies. Additional Family Medicine residency slots and new residency programs in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine and General Surgery will all expand over several years. The overriding goal is to meet the need for physicians in our community in the future. In addition to recruiting physicians from outside the region, this new program helps us “grow our own” new physicians right here in the Mohawk Valley.

Impact of Educational Environment on Our Services
The other significant advantage to us, and the patients we serve, is the impact an educational environment has on our services. When a medical center takes on the responsibility of training future physicians (or any care provider for that matter), the dedication to providing higher level education in a teaching environment raises the bar of the services we provide.

This is all part of our strategy to transform healthcare in our region. We are working to ensure that graduates from schools training future healthcare professionals, such as the St. Elizabeth College of Nursing and our residency program, especially those who train in our facilities, stay in our area after graduation and help to strengthen the healthcare workforce in order to meet our community’s needs. It is yet one more exciting initiative as we transform from excellent to exceptional.