South Texas Health System Expanding Emergency Medicine Physician Training in the Rio Grande Valley Through Its Emergency Medicine Residency Program

Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Emergency doctors and nurses with a patient on a gurney

It’s a simple fact: emergencies can occur at any time and in any place. And they are more frequent than you might suspect. In 2021, 139.8 million people in the United States visited their local emergency room, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 18.3 million of those visits resulting in hospital admission for further treatment.

In the event of an injury or illness requiring immediate medical attention, emergency medicine physicians play a pivotal role in providing timely care. From assessing, treating and stabilizing patients as quickly as possible to determining the next best step in their care journey, emergency doctors are trained to manage a wide range of critical conditions, including heart attacks, strokes, traumatic injuries and respiratory distress.

To help provide the specialized training necessary to help emergency medicine physicians give immediate and appropriate care in the Rio Grande Valley and beyond, even in the most challenging situations, the South Texas Health System GME Consortium will officially launch its Emergency Medicine Residency Program this summer following the program’s accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

With its accreditation by the ACGME, a not-for-profit organization that sets and monitors voluntary professional educational standards essential in preparing physicians to deliver safe, high-quality medical care to all Americans, the STHS GME Consortium’s Emergency Medicine Residency Program, in partnership with Texas A&M University, will welcome its first residents to the Rio Grande Valley this summer.

Emergency Medicine Residency Program

Learn more about our program, launching July 2024 →

The physicians in training will receive specialized emergency medicine training across South Texas Health System, the region’s largest integrated network of trauma and critical care, including the Level I Trauma Center at STHS McAllen, the Level IV Trauma Center at STHS Edinburg and the Valley’s largest dedicated pediatric emergency department at STHS Children’s. In 2023, nearly 205,000 ER visits were reported across the four acute care facilities and six freestanding emergency departments that make up the South Texas Health System Trauma and Critical Care Institute, with the number of ER visits expected to increase this year, giving residents an opportunity to hone their skills across a wide range of medical emergencies.

“Our program is designed to cultivate the next generation of emergency medicine physicians through a comprehensive and dynamic educational experience within South Texas Health System, the largest network of care in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Dr. Jamal Rahimi, FACEP, FAAEM, program director for the STHS GME Consortium’s Emergency Medicine Residency Program. “Our goal is to educate a diverse group of emergency medicine residents with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to become master adaptive learners focused on excellence in the delivery of safe, comprehensive and holistic care to patients of all ages in this medically underserved community.”

This July, the Emergency Medicine Residency Program will launch with 10 first-year residents, but will accept 10 additional first-year residents each following year. By 2026, the program will have 30 concurrent first-, second- and third-year residents.

The accreditation of the Emergency Medicine Residency program follows the official authorization of the STHS GME Consortium’s Family Medicine Residency Program in January and its Internal Medicine Residency Program earlier this month. Those programs will launch this summer with 10 first-year family medicine residents and 20 first-year internal medicine residents. By 2026, the family medicine program will have 30 concurrent first-, second- and third-year residents, while the internal medicine program will have 60 concurrent first-, second- and third-year residents.

The launch of the three residency programs in 2024 is the start of the STHS GME Consortium’s efforts to launch 12 specialized residency programs by 2026 and nine fellowship programs by 2028, with the goal of providing the clinical training, research knowledge, professionalism and critical skills necessary for between 200 and 300 residents to become well-rounded, compassionate physicians who will positively impact the health and well-being of Valley communities.

“The South Texas Health System GME Consortium is dedicated to becoming one of the nation’s leaders in graduate medical education through the development of residency programs in different areas of specialized medicine in our medically underserved communities. But it’s about more than providing our residents with a supportive and innovative learning environment that promotes their professional growth and success,” said Dr. Youssef Majed, Designated Institutional Official and Chief Academic Officer, STHS GME Consortium. “It’s our mission to help improve the health and well-being of the people of the Rio Grande Valley through the quality, compassionate care our physicians in training will provide.”

With the exposure to the Rio Grande Valley’s culturally diverse population with unique medical needs due to a variety of health equity challenges that the medical residents will receive during their three years in their respective programs, South Texas Health System leaders are confident that many will opt to stay in the region to practice after graduation.

“South Texas Health System’s previous graduate medical education program proved successful in recruiting, training and retaining physicians for nearly half a century, with about 53% of the 300 program graduates setting down roots in the region. Some of those graduates, who know our distinct healthcare needs in the Valley, will now be paying it forward by helping train the next generation of physicians who take part in the STHS GME Consortium’s residency and fellowship programs,” says Lance Ames, Chief Executive Officer, STHS Edinburg and STHS Children’s. “And they’ll be able to count on the support of the STHS leadership team. We’re dedicated to providing the resources and support necessary for the residents as we all come together to be effective in our medically underserved communities.”

“The South Texas Health System GME Consortium is poised to transform healthcare for the people of the Rio Grande Valley, and we’re excited to be part of the innovation and transformation of healthcare in the Rio Grande Valley and beyond as we train the next generation of physicians, who we hope will opt to stay and serve the people of this medically underserved region upon completion of their residency programs,” said Emma Montes-Ewing, Chief Executive Officer, STHS McAllen. “With three residency programs approved in 2024 and more set to launch in the coming years, South Texas Health System is preparing to provide more access to healthcare for Valley residents and help meet the demand for physicians across the region.”