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Training Physicians to Meet Local Health Care Needs

August, 2019 | Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA President & CEO, Lee Health

Enabling and ensuring access to care, especially primary care, is a vital responsibility for Lee Health. Disruptions or delays in care impact health outcomes and patient satisfaction and loyalty. More than five years ago, we recognized the need to more proactively address the local demand for health care, while also aiming to decrease a national shortage of primary care physicians. Lee Health partnered with The Florida State University College of Medicine to bring the first physician residency program to Southwest Florida in 2014.

In the time since we launched the family medicine residency program, 24 physicians have completed their training. Thirteen doctors have stayed in Southwest Florida to practice—an accomplishment that surpassed the program’s goal of retaining at least 50% of residents in the region following the completion of their training.

Lee Health recently announced a second collaboration with The Florida State University College of Medicine to expand our Graduate Medical Education offerings with an internal medicine residency program based at Cape Coral Hospital. This new, three-year program is slated to open with eight residents in 2021 or 2022. Like the family medicine residency, the program will reach full capacity of 24 residents in its third year. Also like the family medicine residency program, we expect to see similar results with interest and demand for our program and retention of highly skilled and qualified physicians in our community.

Southwest Florida continues to grow rapidly, and it is crucial that we attract and retain the best and brightest health care professionals to serve and deliver safe, high-quality care. Thank you for your support of our program; the comprehensive residency education only works when we have doctors in our community participate and help us provide well-rounded training. I’m sure I speak for many at and affiliated with Lee Health when I say we are proud to help train the doctors of the future and to play a role in ensuring the continuity of care in the community we have served for more than 100 years.

Yours in Health,

Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA
President & CEO, Lee Health