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UM program earns highest level of accreditation
UM’s Family Medicine Residency Program of Western Montana recently earned the highest level of accreditation available from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
UM launched the residency program in 2013, and it now trains thirty medical residents at a time.
“This is a manifestation of immense work by our staff, faculty, and residents to create and implement a high-quality family medicine training program,” Program Director Dr. Ned Vasquez says.
The ACGME decision moves the residency program from its initial provisional status into a new ten-year cycle, which is the top achievable accreditation level. It requires all programs to submit a thorough annual evaluation upon which ongoing accreditation status is based.
The third resident class was added in March.
“We had over 800 applications for our ten slots this year, and interviewed about eighty medical students for seven slots in Missoula and thirty for three positions in Kalispell,” Vasquez says. “We also added our ninth faculty member in January and are targeting the addition of two faculty in June—one in Kalispell and one in Missoula.”
Montana historically has ranked fiftieth in the nation for graduate medical education slots, with only two residency positions for every 100,000 people. The U.S. average is about twenty-five per 100,000. Vasquez says this is a challenge because physicians tend to locate in the area where they complete their training, so more Montana family medicine resident positions will result in more doctors staying in the state.