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Physician training program hitting its stride

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A change in leadership and the addition of two new resident physicians means the Bothwell-University of Missouri Rural Family Medicine Residency is evolving in its mission to increase access to physicians providing health care in Sedalia.

The program started in 2019 after the University of Missouri received a federal grant and selected Bothwell Regional Health Center as the first in the state to implement a rural family medicine residency to train new physicians. Two residents, who are licensed physicians, are matched with Bothwell each year and receive their training from faculty who are Bothwell physicians.

Last year, Dr. Brittany Pendergraft and Dr. Levi Harris were the first to match at Bothwell. After a year of splitting their time between Sedalia and Columbia, they will be full-time in Sedalia at the hospital and clinics starting in July. Two new resident physicians, Dr. ShiAnne Farris and Dr. Logan Stiens, will join the program in July.

Dr. Misty Todd, family medicine and obstetric physician at Bothwell’s Cole Camp Clinic, recently assumed the program director role from Dr. Robert Frederickson, who has moved to the role of faculty.

Todd has been involved in the program since shortly after its inception while still employed at the university and joined the Bothwell medical staff in 2020. She said several new activities are planned for the second full year of having residents in the program.

“We are expanding procedure curriculum to include vasectomies, endoscopies, ultrasound training and incorporating dermoscopy, which is looking at skin with a special microscope,” she said. “We also are busy preparing for our resident physicians to integrate into the hospital, including in the Emergency Department, on inpatient floors and in Labor and Delivery, as well as at several specialty clinics like pediatrics, OB/GYN, orthopedics and surgery.”

Todd is joined in leading the residency with Dr. Alyssa Emery, a physician at Bothwell Family Medicine Associates. They met during their own residencies at MU Health in Columbia and are friends as well as colleagues.

“Dr. Emery shares my passion for rural family medical education and full-scope family medicine, she said. “She serves as core faculty for the program and helps develop curriculum and supports and oversees the residents’ scholarly activities and quality improvement projects. The majority of the medical staff at Bothwell, not only the family physicians, have elected to help train the residents. The collective support we’ve received from colleagues is what matters most.”

Now that Pendergraft and Harris will be in Sedalia full-time, they will become more familiar with the Bothwell system and work with other physicians.

“The community can expect to see them working in the hospital and in clinics alongside attending physicians,” Todd said. “While they do those specialist rotations, they will continue to see their own patients at Bothwell Family Medicine Associates.”

Todd said an unexpected perk of starting the residency was an influx of family medicine physicians who signed on at Bothwell to not only practice in a smaller community but for the possibility of teaching other physicians.

“At least five new physicians, and that includes me, came to Bothwell for the opportunity to teach,” she said. “The deck has really been stacked in the community’s favor by this residency program and the physicians who are here and support it.”

As the residency program’s new director, Todd’s goals are to continue to meet accreditation standards, ensure faculty have support and time to teach the residents and re-engage the community with the program and residents in hopes of helping retain them after their time here.

“Dr. Pendergraft and Dr. Harris have both purchased homes in Sedalia, and I want to get them involved in the community and show them what a wonderful place this is to live and work,” she said. “I am so passionate about the success of this program and incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. The future of family medicine in Sedalia is bright.”

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