Fort Worth’s first medical school to award M.D. degrees is launching a residency program that aims to combat the region’s doctor shortage.
The TCU and University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine is partnering with Texas Health Resources to establish a graduate medical education program at hospitals in Fort Worth, Hurst-Euless-Bedford and Denton.
By July 2022, the program plans to enroll 50 residents, scaling up to more than 110 residents per class by July 2024.
There are currently about 400 residency positions in Fort Worth, said Dr. Stuart Flynn, dean of the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine.
With this new program, that number will more than double in the next five years — a crucial addition in a state lacking in doctors.
The doctor shortage statewide is expected to increase from 6,218 in 2018 to 10,330 in 2032, according to the May 2020 Texas Physician Supply and Demand Projections.
The shortage has likely only gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we’re seeing is just a fatigue of health care workers, in particular doctors, because the pandemic has really dramatically changed and in many cases increased their workloads,” said Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief health care officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges.
In the next five years, one in five physicians will be of retirement age, she added.
Starting out, the new local residency program will allow future doctors to specialize in surgery, obstetrics and internal medicine, Flynn said.
A robust internal medicine residency will provide infrastructure for future specialties, he noted.
The new program “will be another opportunity for our graduates to stay local,” Flynn said.
In Texas, 67% of residents stay in-state after residency. That number jumps to 81% if they also attend medical school in the state, according to the National Residency Matching Program.
Brandon Mallory, a third-year medical student in the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine’s first class, plans to apply.
Mallory’s family lives nearby, and, after doing clinical training in nearby hospitals, he is interested in staying local.
“To be able to practice there and be doctors at those places is really an appealing thing to me,” he said.