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OHSU partners with CareOregon to launch Oregon’s only preventive medicine residency

Apr 30, 2024, 20:06 PM
New program to train physicians in addressing pressing, community-wide health challenges; OHSU now has more than 100 accredited residency, fellowship programs

PORTLAND, Oregon – An innovative partnership between Oregon Health & Science University and CareOregon will establish a new residency program designed to improve the health of individuals, but also whole communities.

CareOregon is providing $2.5 million through 2030 to launch the OHSU Preventive Medicine Residency Program. It will be the state’s only preventive medicine residency when its first two residents begin training in summer 2025. Potential participants can apply starting this fall.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education recently granted the program accreditation, helping OHSU achieve a milestone of having more than 100 accredited residency and fellowship programs.

“Preventive medicine physicians are needed now more than ever after the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the many daunting challenges Oregonians face while trying to lead healthy lives,” said Joyce Hollander Rodriguez, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education and associate professor of family medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. “The OHSU Preventive Medicine Residency Program will prepare the next generation of health leaders to tackle these pressing issues head-on.”

“CareOregon is passionate about supporting workforce development and cultivating strong leaders throughout the state who focus on improving health systems by addressing the systemic and social issues that impede health outcomes in our population,” said Safina Koreishi, M.D., M.P.H., CareOregon’s senior medical director of clinical services. “This partnership between CareOregon and the OHSU School of Medicine is one of a kind in the nation. It points to the shared mission of the two organizations to address the most challenging issues impacting our communities.”

Headshot of Safina Koreishis

Physicians who complete residencies in preventive medicine — a medical specialty that aims to prevent disease, disability and death by combining public health with clinical medicine — often work at government and international health organizations that lead efforts to resolve large health challenges.  

In 2019, about 2,475 physicians in the United States were board-certified in preventive medicine. However, experts have estimated that public health agencies alone need as many as 23,500 physicians. A recent American Journal of Public Health essay advocates for more preventive medicine residency training programs like OHSU’s to address the “large burden” of preventable health issues and reinforce the public health workforce.

Residency programs provide advanced training and enable physicians to specialize in a specific medical field. Although physicians typically become residents immediately after completing medical school, many enter preventive medicine residency programs after years of medical practice to either shift or expand the focus of their careers by including leadership or research in their work.

The program is a new iteration of a long-standing Oregon tradition in training preventive medicine specialists. OHSU has trained preventive medicine residents since the 1970s, but limited funding forced an earlier residency program to close in 2018.

Numerous graduates of OHSU’s previous program have since become prominent Oregon health leaders. The prior program’s alumni include: Oregon Medical Association President and Kaiser Permanente physician Amy Hinrichs, M.D.; Oregon Health Authority Deputy State Health Officer and Epidemiologist Tom Jeanne, M.D., M.P.H.; Tri-County Deputy Health Officer and Deputy Multnomah County Health Officer Teresa Everson, M.D., M.P.H.; Clackamas County Health Officer Sarah Present, M.D., M.P.H.; Health Share of Oregon Medical Director Cat Livingston, M.D., M.P.H.; Central City Concern Senior Medical Director Amanda Risser M.D., M.P.H.; and CareOregon Senior Medical Director of Clinical Services Safina Koreishi, M.D., M.P.H.

The OHSU Preventive Medicine Residency Program will be directed by Brian Garvey, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor in the OHSU School of Medicine who also completed the previous residency program. 

The new program will offer a two-year curriculum that includes earning a master’s degree in public health from the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. It will provide hands-on training opportunities at OHSU Hospital and county-run clinics, as well as with health officers of both urban and rural counties. Its residents will also learn alongside CareOregon employees helping the state’s Medicaid beneficiaries navigate health systems, providing behavioral health support, developing opioid and substance use disorder policies, and more.

The new program is part of the OHSU School of Medicine’s ongoing and dedicated efforts to expand residency options statewide. OHSU also partnered with Hillsboro Medical Center to establish three new programs that train internal medicine, family medicine and transitional-year residents. And the Three Sisters Family Rural Track Program, a joint effort of OHSU and the St. Charles Health System in Central Oregon, will welcome its first family medicine residents this summer.

About OHSU

OHSU is Oregon's academic health center and is nationally distinguished as a research university dedicated solely to advancing health sciences. This singular purpose allows us to focus on discoveries that prevent and cure disease, on education that prepares physicians, dentists, nurses and other health professionals for the evolving health care environment, and on patient care that incorporates the latest advances. Based in Portland, we are one of Oregon’s largest employers, operate the top-ranked adult and children’s hospitals in the state, and secure competitive research funding of more than $586 million. As a public organization, we also provide services for the most vulnerable Oregonians and outreach to improve health in communities across the state.

About CareOregon

CareOregon is a nonprofit community benefit organization that provides health care coverage to more than 500,000 Oregonians on the Oregon Health Plan. We support our members through three coordinated care organizations, a Medicare Advantage plan, a tribal care coordination program, a dental care organization and in-home medical care with Housecall Providers. CareOregon members have access to integrated medical, dental and mental health care and substance use treatment. We also connect members to housing, fresh food, education and transportation services. CareOregon has offices in Portland, Medford and Seaside, Oregon.

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