LEWES — As Beebe Healthcare’s Family Medicine Residency Program continues to take shape, Dr. Joyce Robert has been tabbed as its director.
Dr. Robert will be working with a team to create the curriculum and process for the new residency initiative, which will include four residents per year.
“We’re able to train medical students into young doctors, and after their training, they’ll be able to go out and take care of patients,” Dr. Robert said. “Being able to build a curriculum, to recruit a diverse set of residents and have them train to be component family physicians was really the draw for me to come to Beebe. I know they’ll get sound education with the facility and all Beebe has to offer.”
Dr. Robert spent the last 10 years working with residents.
She most recently served as a core faculty member and adviser for the Harlem Residency in Family Medicine, as well as the performance improvement chair and transitional year residency program director, all with Mount Sinai Health System.
She was also an assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and was a member of the Admissions Committee.
“This is the next step in developing a family practice residency program that will improve access to high quality, innovative and culturally sensitive care for our growing and evolving community,” said Dr. David A. Tam, president and CEO of Beebe, in a statement. “This program has great potential and I am excited to see Dr. Robert take the helm of the first-year class.”
The hope for the program is that it will help ease the health professional shortage Sussex County is experiencing, with just one primary care physician for every 2,000 people, according to recent studies.
“Research says that doctors stay where they are (trained),” Dr. Robert said. “They build families there. They have a connection with the hospital and their community. The community needs doctors to take care of them and (make) sure they are on top of their health and preventative medicine needs. That’s where the resident comes in.”
Dr. Robert said the residents will be involved in the community, going to nursing homes, schools, vaccination clinics and advocacy events.
Family medicine is just the first residency program for Beebe. But Dr. Robert added that the health care system wishes to begin others.
“We’re just opening the door now and hope it can continue to grow,” she said.
Residents — recently graduated doctors — work alongside seasoned physicians to provide care.
“All doctors have to go through the same training,” Dr. Robert said. “No one skipped a grade. Every doctor was an intern or a student or a resident at some point. We all have to go through that process.”
The doctor will also be seeing primary care patients at Beebe Family Practice Long Neck.