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The VA and OU-COM hit the road

Last March, OU-COM and the Veterans Association got another partnership rolling. The VA now uses OU-COM’s mobile health clinic van for their medical outreach efforts.

According to Community Health Programs Director Kathy Trace, M.H.A., OU-COM provides the driver and the mobile unit for local VA physicians to provide outreach clinics, which raise awareness about VA services and offer free physicals to veterans.

“It makes me feel good thinking that our van is being used for veteran medical outreach when it would otherwise be idle,” says Trace, who emphasizes that the partnership is not-for-profit.

“We want to support our veterans, the dean and the university want to support our veterans—this falls directly into our mission.”


First osteopathic psychiatry residency offered in Ohio
New residency program a joint project of Grandview, VAMC, OU-COM

Julius Paul Roberts, D.O., left, a first year psychiatry resident, and William Resch, D.O. (’99), program director for the CORE’s first psychiatry residency program, counsel a patient at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Chillicothe.

By Anita M. Manderfield

November 19, 2010

Passing through a courtyard of the inpatient ward at Chillicothe Veterans Administration Medical Center, William Resch, D.O. (’99), gets a warm reception from his patients.

“Hi there, good buddy!” shouts one, as another chimes in: “Hey, doc! How are you?”

Resch is the program director for the CORE system’s first psychiatry residency program: the result of a partnership between the residency’s sponsoring institution, Grandview Medical Center in Dayton, the Chillicothe VA Medical Center and OU-COM. The four-year program’s first residents, Sarah Cullison, D.O., and Julius Paul Roberts, D.O., began training in July. 

Resch’s obvious patient rapport results in a large part from the patient-centered philosophy at the Chillicothe VAMC, says Lisa Orr-Kingery, the center’s medical education program coordinator. Orr-Kingery earned a bachelor of business administration degree from Ohio University in 1992.

She cites examples: flexible visiting hours, patient-directed meal schedules, an integrated medical-home style approach to care. “We want our patients to be comfortable and our physicians to treat the whole person.” 

 Given this approach, the osteopathic residency program makes good sense. According to Jeffrey Gering, M.H.A., F.A.C.H.E., the VAMC medical director, patient-centered care and osteopathic affiliations are becoming more common for the Veterans Association. What’s more unusual about this partnership, he says, is simply having a psychiatry residency at a VA medical center. 

There are only nine psychiatry residencies in the country accredited by the American Osteopathic Association, and this is one of the very few psychiatry residencies—osteopathic or allopathic—to be primarily based at a VA medical center.

“The trick is to find the right residents,” Gering says. “A lot of psychiatry programs train a parent-child patient relationship. We want to make sure our residents and physicians regard patients as equal partners.  I think that’s very consistent with the osteopathic philosophy.”

OU-COM medical students have already been rotating through the Chillicothe VAMC for both geriatric medicine and psychiatry. And in 2008, the VA center hired OU-COM alum Jeffrey Hunter, D.O. (’94), D.C., F.A.A.F.P., as their associate chief of staff for clinical and academic affairs. Hunter practices geriatric medicine and OMM for the center, directs the geriatric medicine rotation and chairs a committee on patient-centered care, among other things.

The new program grew out of this strong relationship as well as the one between OU-COM and Grandview Medical Center, combined with a shared vision among these institutions.

Robert A. Cain, D.O. (’88), F.A.C.O.I., director of medical education for Grandview, explains that Grandview was interested in offering psychiatry training at resident and student levels.  Partnering with the VA offered unique educational benefits.

“The VA is ahead of us in their use of electronic record management, and they offer a very broad scope of psychiatric issues,” Cain says. “Meanwhile, we gain Dr. Resch as a passionate teacher on our faculty.” 

Resch now travels to Grandview to deliver psychiatry lectures to residents in other programs—and Grandview hopes to send residents from other programs for  psychiatry rotations at the VAMC.

Gering underscores the broad educational scope available at the VAMC. “Residents appreciate the complexity of mental disorders they can work with at the VA. They see a wider breadth of disorders, more co-morbidity, and older populations.”

Roberts adds that he was very interested in being a part of the statewide CORE system. “The CORE support and, particularly, the affiliation with Grandview was very attractive to me.”

Roberts and his fellow resident, Cullison, will receive most of their training at the Chillicothe VAMC, but they travel to Grandview Medical Center for regular house staff meetings with other residents, for their rotation in child and adolescent psychiatry, and during their last year, to serve in a supervised consultation role for the Grandview in-patient clinic. 

The program is certainly appealing; this year 31 people applied for the first two residency slots.  And while residents benefit from the innovative residency training in Chillicothe, the region stands to gain osteopathic physicians.

“Twenty percent of doctors stay in the area of their residency,” says Gering. “This program can help attract quality psychiatrists to the Southeastern Ohio area.”

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Last updated: 01/28/2016