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 assessed access to mental health care across the country ranked North Carolina in the bottom third, along with other southern states.
The statement said rural areas in particular struggled with reduced numbers.
“We know that untreated mental illness leads to a variety of poor outcomes, ranging from reduced quality of life and problems at work and at home to substance use, overdoses, homelessness, imprisonment and suicide,” said Novant’s Wilmington psychiatrist. Health Dr. Julia Triggs at the launch.
Triggs helped lead the planning efforts for the residency.
Novant Health partnered with not only Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, but also UNC Health and the UNC School of Medicine to launch the program to train more physicians in southeastern North Carolina and increase the flow of physicians from much-needed mental health, the statement said.
The release added that the partnership ensures residents have training opportunities to care for a variety of patients, including those serving in the military, providing firsthand experiences in treating conditions such as 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 statement. . “The launch of our combined psychiatry program will allow us to bring much-needed care to the residents of southeastern North Carolina and our military beneficiaries who serve to protect our nation’s security around the world.”
There is also a nationwide shortage of psychiatrists, the statement said, which this program will help address.
“Increasing the number of trained psychiatrists and other mental health providers is key to addressing these challenges,” said Novant Health’s Institute of Psychiatry and Mental Health Executive Physician and Psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Pullen, in the statement. “We must increase the number of mental health providers to ensure that timely access to care is available in every community we serve.”
The first class of seven psychiatric residents will begin the four-year program in June 2024, the statement explained. The class will include military and civilian physicians, who will perform clinical rotations at Novant Health New Hanover Medical Center and Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune.
The release added that Novant Health recently secured the necessary approval from the Accreditation Board for Graduate Medical Education to formally move forward to complete the necessary steps to launch the residency program next year.
“We are excited that our organizations are able to move forward by combining forces for this vital opportunity to train more psychiatrists,” said Novant Health Senior Vice President of Medical Education, Dr. Joe Pino, in the statement. “This new residency will help increase the number of physicians in southeastern North Carolina and serve in the military.”
Novant Health already operates residency programs in Wilmington for several specialties, the statement said, including family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and general surgery.
Novant Health will also launch a new rural trail of its family medicine residency program in July 2024 in partnership with the UNC School of Medicine, Novant Health Pender Medical Center and Black River Health Services.
Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UNC, Dr. Jonny Gerkin said in the statement that he is grateful and proud to contribute to the development and implementation of this project.
“Working with the psychiatrists at Novant Health and Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune to increase access to specialized care for North Carolinans and within our military community represents some of the most meaningful things I have done as a clinician-educator and health care consultant. career,” said Gerkin. “UNC Health and the UNC Department of Psychiatry look forward to an ongoing collaboration to achieve and sustain high-fidelity, innovative, and contextually effective psychiatric training.”
Reporter Morgan Starling can be reached at [email protected].