Lee Memorial Health System announced a partnership with Florida State University Monday afternoon for a medical residency training program for family practice physicians.
Eric Goldsmith, medical director of academics and medical education for Lee Memorial Health System, said conversations about the program began with FSU during the past year, which progressed very nicely.
"Partnering with Florida State University will give us a tremendous amount of support as far as the academics and everything they can offer us," he said. "Lee Memorial Hospital is in an excellent position to train and retain physicians."
The program, which will be a family practice residency program in conjunction with FSU, will begin on July 1, 2013.
The three-year residency program will have the students working in the hospitals and out in the community.
"During their training they will be providing community service," Goldsmith said.
He said the program is the first of its kind in the area between Tampa and Miami.
"We feel it is going to greatly benefit the community," Goldsmith said, due to the shortage of family primary care physicians.
He said the national shortage is mostly due to the number of programs and training offered, along with economics.
A renewed interest of primary care physicians is brewing among the graduating medical students again, which kick-started the conversations between the FSU and Lee Memorial Health System.
"This is a great opportunity to train these people and try to retain them here in the community," Goldsmith said about the announcement of the program.
Approximately 60 percent of medical students who are graduating from a Florida university do their residency training in another state. Once the students residency is completed, the student typically stay in that community to set up their practice.
"Hopefully it will keep family physicians in our community," Goldsmith said about offering the residency program in Lee County.
Florida ranks 43rd nationally for the number of medical residents trained in Florida, although it is the fourth most populous state in the nation.