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Post by Building Trust

The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and Magnolia Regional Health Center (MRHC) both share the mission of decreasing the shortage of primary care physicians, reducing health disparities, and improving health outcomes throughout Mississippi.

In an effort to increase the number of residents and fellows training in primary care programs, Internal Medicine residencies at UMMC and MRHC have developed a partnership to expose trainees to both traditional academic and rural community-based graduate medical education. The intent is to expand the curriculum to strengthen patient-centered relationships as a core feature through a focused emphasis on didactic and clinical activities. This project strives to eliminate health disparities among Mississippians based on race, geography, income or social status.

Project initiatives include:

  • Creating new educational activities and partnerships   with both non-profit and privately funded organizations to enrich learner exposure to patients.
  • Expanding primary care resident curriculum, including a series of community-focused educational health topics and interactive lecture series, with input from various stakeholders from the community and other health care workers.
  • Educating students, residents and nursing leaders at local neighborhood centers, clinics and health fairs. The collaboration will focus on patient mistrust and physician bias, presented through a series of lectures, reflective narratives and community engagement activities.

Program quality and efficacy will be assessed by comparing patient assessments between residents actively involved in the program and those who are not. “Mississippi is the state known for having some of the worst health outcomes. We thought it would be great to have residents out in the community [in patients’ homes and at community events] to see if there are improved health outcomes. Getting residents out into communities where patients live will help to restore trust,” said Margaret Hayes Baker, MD, Program Director, Internal Medicine, MRHC and Director, Magnolia Hospitalist Group.

This project aims to strengthen the doctor-patient relationship by building trust with patients and decreasing bias in trainees. Project leaders will also measure the program’s impact on retaining primary care physicians to practice in Mississippi after training.

“By accomplishing each of these outcomes, we will impact the health care of Mississippians by increasing the number of primary care physicians who are well-trained in delivering safe, equitable care to our diverse patient population,” said Baker.