Diagonally across the street from HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville is a 25,000-square-foot facility where St. Elizabeth’s Hospital partners with three other health-care organizations to train some of the best and brightest medical graduates during their journey to becoming family physicians.
There are two clinics, Belleville Family Health Center and Scott Air Force Base Family Medicine, which serve as training grounds for resident physicians. Saint Louis University unites the two clinics to train both civilian and military residents under a group of core faculty.
St. Elizabeth’s has served as a teaching hospital for this program since its start in 1996 and provides additional financial support, in partnership with Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation, Scott AFB and SLU. It is the only fully-integrated civilian/military residency combining a community-based and military residency. The affiliations will continue through the opening of St. Elizabeth’s new facility in O’Fallon, Ill., in fall of 2017.
Graduate medical students come from all over the world to train in the three-year residency program. The residents complete 39 different four-week rotations, which include dermatology, urology, orthopedics, sports medicine and more. They gain in-hospital and outpatient experience. On average, during the three years, each class provides care to more than 18,000 patients. When they finish the program, they are eligible to become board certified family physicians.
The SLU Family Medicine Residency Program does far more than graduate quality family physicians. The two clinics provide huge benefits for the residents in the region. Family physicians are broadly trained, so they can provide many medical services in one facility for the entire family. A patient and his or her whole family can come to the SLU Belleville Family Medicine or Scott Air Force Base Family Medicine clinic for an office visit, or a whole variety of procedures including colonoscopies.
The clinics offer services to the insured, underinsured and uninsured alike, while always providing high-quality patient care. The shared mission of the contributing entities allows care to be accessible for the most vulnerable patients in the community.
The partnership allows St. Elizabeth’s to contribute to providing well-trained residents to the local community and beyond. While many of the military physicians go off into the world to serve, many come back to Southwestern Illinois. They see the benefit of working in this area and so do the civilians in the residency program. Many come back as teachers or start practices. Some of the most beloved family physicians practicing in the area came from the SLU Family Medicine Program.