TTUHSC working to create new Psychiatry Residency Program - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

TTUHSC working to create new Psychiatry Residency Program

Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) is collaborating with the Amarillo VA Health Care System to start a Psychiatry Residency Program, in hopes that those who complete their training in Amarillo will stay here to serve the community.

The regional dean for the TTUHSC School of Medicine Dr. Richard Jordan said students who graduate from the TTUHSC and are interested in psychiatry currently have to leave the panhandle to do their residency.

"Well they could have to go elsewhere, but its even worse than that, they could be really good students but there are no psychiatry positions available," said Jordan. "So they have to choose something else even though they would really like to go to psychiatry."

Thats why the TTUHSC is working to create the program, however the funding isn't there.

"Most residents are paid largely through CMS, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services," said Jordan. "But those spots are frozen. They have been since the mid 1990's." 

That's where the collaboration of the Amarillo VA came in. 

Director of the Amarillo VA Health Care System Michael Kiefer said there's an extreme need for psychiatrists as well.

The VA currently uses programs like telehealth to help get veterans the mental health services they need.

They're now planning to help fund residency positions, in order to get more help for local veterans.

"They made a commitment through their sacrifice of service to be exposed to those traumas of war," said Kiefer. "And now it's our responsibility to make sure that we're able to address the issues that they do bring home with them, and this will really help us address those issues."
 
Their plan is to combine the faculty from Texas Tech and the VA to provide training for residents.

Which they hope will in turn, keep them here.

"At least 30 to 40 percent of our students stay in the panhandle when they graduate from residency programs," said Jordan. "We would like to do everything we can to increase that because there's certainly going to be a lot of work for them to do and many patients for them to see."

Dr. Jordan said their goal is to have the program up and running in July of 2019.

They plan to accept four students per year for four years, making a total of 16 residents at a time.

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