Manager, Public and Media Relations
Cooperstown, NY – December 2, 2010 - Beginning in 2011, Bassett Medical Center will offer a new residency program for physician assistants. The new program will be the sixth national postgraduate residency in emergency medicine, but it is the first in the country to specialize in Rural Emergency Medicine.
Chief of Emergency and Trauma Services, Dr. August Leinhart (photo left), says, "Physician assistants are important members of our health care team, and medical education is part of our mission. Our mix of emergency and urgent care in different rural communities, combined with excellent, dedicated faculty, make Bassett a natural home base for just such a program."
Bassett will take on two residents for a year each who will work clinical shifts in the Emergency Department as well as rotate through several other areas of the medical center, including intensive care and surgery. The residency will prepare the students to evaluate, diagnose and stabilize conditions that pose an immediate threat to life and to be able to do so solo or in semi-autonomous situations. To increase their familiarity with rural EMS systems, residents will also participate in EMS training and crew with a rural EMS squad. The program follows the high standards of the American College of Emergency Physicians and is modeled after the Accreditation Council for Graduate Education for emergency medicine.
Kevin Kinkade, MPAS, PA-C, (photo right) director of the new program, notes, "Emergency medicine in a rural environment can be challenging, but it’s also very rewarding. I’m excited that Bassett, long a leader in rural medicine, is now adding this component to its medical education offerings."
A recent report from the Institutes of Health and the American College of Emergency Physicians discussed the shortage of emergency medicine residency trained physicians to cover the nation's emergency departments. That shortage is especially evident, the report says, in rural communities. It further states that one in seven rural Emergency Departments is staffed solely by a physician assistant. "We want to make sure those PA’s are well trained and competent," concludes Kinkade.
Bassett will welcome its first Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant in the spring of 2011, followed by the second resident in the fall.