Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune has partnered with Novant Health and others to bring a new psychiatric residency program to southeastern North Carolina.
According to a recent press release from Novant Health, a 2022 study that evaluated access to mental health care nationwide ranked North Carolina in the bottom third, along with other southern states.
The release said that rural areas, in particular, struggle with reduced numbers.
“We know untreated mental illness leads to multiple bad outcomes, ranging from reduced quality of life and problems at work and home to substance use, overdoses, homelessness, imprisonment and suicide,” said Wilmington-based Psychiatrist with Novant Health Dr. Julia Triggs in the release.
Triggs has helped lead planning efforts for the residency.
Novant Health has partnered with not only Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, but also UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine to launch the program in order to train more physicians in southeastern N.C. and boost the pipeline of much-needed mental health physicians, the release said.
The release added the partnership ensures the residents will have training opportunities caring for a variety of patients, to include those serving in the military, providing firsthand experiences treating conditions like PTSD and TBIs.
“Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune greatly values the cooperative partnership we have established with Novant Health New Hanover Medical Center over many years,” said Director of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune U.S. Navy Captain Kevin Brown in the release. “The launch of our combined psychiatry program will enable us to bring needed care to the residents of southeastern North Carolina and to our military beneficiaries who serve to protect our nation’s security around the globe.”
There are also psychiatrist shortages nationwide, the release said, which this program will help address.
“Boosting the numbers of psychiatrists and other trained mental health providers is key to turning the tide on these challenges,” said Psychiatrist and System Physician Executive for Novant Health’s Psychiatry & Mental Health Institute Dr. Samuel Pullen in the release. “We must increase the numbers of mental health providers so that we can ensure timely access to care is available in all communities we serve.”
The first class of seven psychiatric residents will begin the four-year program in June 2024, the release explained. The class will include both military and civilian physicians, who will conduct clinical rotations at both Novant Health New Hanover Medical Center and Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune.
The release added Novant Health recently secured the necessary approval from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to formally move forward to complete the steps needed to launch the residency program next year.
“We are thrilled that our organizations are able to move forward combining forces for this vital opportunity to train more psychiatrists,” said Novant Health Senior Vice President of Medical Education Dr. Joe Pino in the release. “This new residency will help increase the number of physicians in southeastern North Carolina and serving in the armed forces.”
Novant Health already operates medical residency programs in Wilmington for several specialties, the release said, including family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and general surgery.
Novant Health will also be launching a new rural track of their family medicine residency program in July 2024 in partnership with UNC School of Medicine, Novant Health Pender Medical Center and Black River Health Services.
UNC Department of Psychiatry Associate Clinical Professor Dr. Jonny Gerkin said in the release that he is grateful and proud to contribute to the development and implementation of this project.
“Working with the psychiatrists of Novant Health and Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune to increase access to expert care for North Carolinians and within our military community represents some of the most meaningful I have done as a career clinician-educator and consultant,” Gerkin said. “UNC Health and the UNC Department of Psychiatry look forward to an ongoing collaboration to achieve and maintain high fidelity, innovative, and contextually effective psychiatry training.”
Reporter Morgan Starling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- As Healthcare Organizations Get Bigger, Healthcare Workers Feel Small
- “It’s time we stand up together and fight for what we need”: Statements of support pour in for striking Clarios workers
- HCA Healthcare's lack of transparency, low staffing draws concern from workers
- Mayo Clinic to 'transform health care' with Rochester investments
- Pa. Rep. Summer Lee introduces hazard pay bill for healthcare workers