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Family doc planning for next generation of care

Several new physicians have joined or will join the Bothwell Regional Health Center medical team, with the new Bothwell-University of Missouri Rural Family Medicine Residency being a leading reason for them to choose Bothwell. Shown here with their spouses and family following their recent residency graduation program are from left, Dr. Dalton Lohsandt (projected to arrive in 2022 or 2023) and Kelly Lohsandt; Ellie Euer, residency program coordinator; Eddie Emery and Dr. Alyssa Emery (holding Lucy Emery); Greg Djinis and Dr. Lisa Wadowski; and Dr. Misty Todd (holding Gabe Emery) and Dr. Matthew Roehrs.
Several new physicians have joined or will join the Bothwell Regional Health Center medical team, with the new Bothwell-University of Missouri Rural Family Medicine Residency being a leading reason for them to choose Bothwell. Shown here with their spouses and family following their recent residency graduation program are from left, Dr. Dalton Lohsandt (projected to arrive in 2022 or 2023) and Kelly Lohsandt; Ellie Euer, residency program coordinator; Eddie Emery and Dr. Alyssa Emery (holding Lucy Emery); Greg Djinis and Dr. Lisa Wadowski; and Dr. Misty Todd (holding Gabe Emery) and Dr. Matthew Roehrs.
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Just like Dr. T.J. Hopkins recruited him to Sedalia more than 37 years ago, Dr. Robert Frederickson is doing his part to make sure area residents are cared for well into the future.   

While Frederickson has worked for many years to collaborate with University of Missouri School of Medicine leaders to increase graduates’ interest in practicing in Sedalia, the efforts got a kickstart in 2019 in the form of a grant and formal partnership with the school. The university received $285,000 over three years from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration and selected Bothwell Regional Health Center as the first in the state to have a rural family medicine residency.

Frederickson, who practices at Bothwell Family Medicine Associates (BFMA), is residency director and has worked for two years with Mizzou and Bothwell teams to launch the initiative, which will initially place two resident physicians at BFMA next July.

After graduating medical school, family physicians complete their training with a three-year residency in a clinic and hospital that provides in-depth training. Frederickson said the grant’s intent is to improve rural access to medical care by reducing the disparity of where family physicians go to practice.

“For the physicians who want to practice in smaller communities, there have been no residency programs in rural Missouri,” he said. “It’s not easy to get physicians to Sedalia. They are lured to bigger cities that have more amenities and opportunities. We can sometimes attract the doctor, but the spouse may not want to move. Having a formal residency here is a game-changer in our ability to number one, get physicians here and number two, get them to stay.”  

Once Bothwell begins taking resident applications, interviews will be held this fall and then applicants create a “rank-order list” of preferred residency programs that is matched against a similar list created by the program. Two residents each year will be matched to Bothwell in March and begin training each July. During the first year, residents, who are licensed physicians, will work one day a week at BFMA and the rest of their time in Columbia. In years two and three, they will be full-time in Sedalia in the clinic and the hospital. Frederickson said that in their first year, residents are intensively supervised and as the years progress they gain more responsibilities and autonomy yet will still have still guidance, counseling and supervision. 

“By their third year, they will be pretty close to practicing independently with moderate supervision,” Frederickson said. “For three years, we’ll take two residents each year. When we’re fully staffed at the end of year three, there will be six residents here full-time performing various levels of care. Having them live here and get embedded as members of our community is a real attraction, too.” 

In addition to Frederickson, several other Bothwell physicians will serve as residency faculty teaching and mentoring residents while continuing their own practices. 

“Along with other family medicine physicians, there are a number of our specialists in surgery, cardiology, obstetrics, gynecology and pediatrics who will be part of the faculty team,” he said. “Everyone is excited to be a part of the program. I think there’s something rejuvenating for those of us who have been practicing for a while to take a new doctor under our wings and mentor them.”

Frederickson said the flipside to existing physicians mentoring new physicians is the patient response to young professionals. 

“It’s wonderful. I find that patients are uniquely interested in them and commonly want them to treat them,” he said. “They like their energy, and the fact that more women than ever are coming out of medical schools means more options for people.” 

An unexpected benefit of the program is the windfall of new family physicians who have already joined or will join Bothwell who chose the health center largely based on their interest in participating in medical education activities and practicing in smaller communities. That list includes Dr. Misty Todd and Dr. Lisa Wadowski who came in 2020, and Dr. Matthew Roehrs, Dr. Alyssa Emery and Dr. Meredith Norfleet who will begin practicing this fall. Roehrs and Norfleet also have local ties. A sixth physician is under contract and will arrive in 2022 or 2023. 

“It’s just been utterly amazing that this has happened,” Frederickson said. “These are highly regarded and very, very bright people. Some are Bryant Scholars and were high performers in their medical classes. We didn’t plan for that to happen or even expect it. It’s been a stroke of extreme luck for this community of physicians to develop here; many of them attended the same medical school and are friends, too. Our communities are very lucky to have them.”  

Frederickson is joined in leading the residency program with Todd, associate director, and Ellie Euer, residency coordinator. Todd is a family and women’s health physician at Bothwell Cole Camp Clinic and is married to Dr. Matthew Roehrs, who will practice at Bothwell Lincoln Family Medicine. Roehrs is originally from Sedalia and the son of Dr. David Roehrs, Bothwell’s chief radiologist. Frederickson said it’s not unintentional that a veteran physician such as himself is paired with a new, young physician like Todd to develop and lead the program.

“I went to college with a slide rule and don’t have much time while treating patients to master some of the technology that’s available today, yet learning medicine and taking care of patients doesn’t change,” he said. “When Misty was being recruited, she expressed an interest in helping with the program and we’ve made a good team with each of our different perspectives.”

When asked why he decided to get involved in the program, Frederickson said he has been interested in these types of recruiting efforts for many years and was available to participate at the initial planning meeting. 

“I decided then that if we were going to do this, then I was going to help make it the best possible program,” he said. “I’ve been caring for patients for 37 years, and I’ve never had a day where I walked into the office and thought ‘why did I choose medicine?’ I like talking to people, and I like hearing their stories. I believe that if you listen, you’ll be able to tell what’s wrong. I want to impart that, and if my legacy can be leaving the community with new family doctors in place, that’s a win.”

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