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OHSU Partners with CareOregon to Launch Oregon’s Only Preventive Medicine Residency

New Program to Train Physicians in Addressing Community-Wide Health Challenges

A Klamath Falls patient talks with Katie Ruth, M.D., of the Cascades East Family Medicine Residency in Klamath Falls. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)


An innovative partnership between Oregon Health & Science University and CareOregon will establish a new residency program designed to improve the health of individuals, but also whole communities.


CareOregon is providing $2.5 million through 2030 to launch the OHSU Preventive Medicine Residency Program. It will be the state’s only preventive medicine residency when its first two residents begin training in summer 2025. Potential participants can apply starting this fall.


The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education recently granted the program accreditation, helping OHSU achieve a milestone of having more than 100 accredited residency and fellowship programs.


“Preventive medicine physicians are needed now more than ever after the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the many daunting challenges Oregonians face while trying to lead healthy lives,” said Joyce Hollander-Rodriguez, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education and associate professor of family medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. “The OHSU Preventive Medicine Residency Program will prepare the next generation of health leaders to tackle these pressing issues head-on.”

 

“CareOregon is passionate about supporting workforce development and cultivating strong leaders throughout the state who focus on improving health systems by addressing the systemic and social issues that impede health outcomes in our population,” said Safina Koreishi, M.D., M.P.H., CareOregon’s senior medical director of clinical services. “This partnership between CareOregon and the OHSU School of Medicine is one of a kind in the nation. It points to the shared mission of the two organizations to address the most challenging issues impacting our communities.”


Physicians who complete residencies in preventive medicine — a medical specialty that aims to prevent disease, disability and death by combining public health with clinical medicine — often work at government and international health organizations that lead efforts to resolve large health challenges.  


In 2019, about 2,475 physicians in the United States were board-certified in preventive medicine. However, experts have estimated that public health agencies alone need as many as 23,500 physicians. A recent American Journal of Public Health essay advocates for more preventive medicine residency training programs like OHSU’s to address the “large burden” of preventable health issues and reinforce the public health workforce.


Residency programs provide advanced training and enable physicians to specialize in a specific medical field. Although physicians typically become residents immediately after completing medical school, many enter preventive medicine residency programs after years of medical practice to either shift or expand the focus of their careers by including leadership or research in their work.

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