SAVANNAH – Three of Savannah’s leading healthcare organizations are coming together to provide hands-on training and research opportunities for more psychiatrists. Mercer University School of Medicine, Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC), and the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), which operates Georgia Regional Hospital Savannah, signed an agreement today to create a residency program in psychiatry that will allow new doctors to continue their training at both Georgia Regional and MUMC. Georgia Regional Hospital Savannah will also formalize its role as a teaching affiliate of Mercer University School of Medicine, resulting in ongoing training and faculty appointments for the hospital’s medical staff. The goal of the partnership is to improve behavioral healthcare throughout the region and help remedy the area’s shortage of psychiatrists.
"As Governor Deal pointed out in his State of the State address, doctors often choose to settle down wherever they do their residency," said DBHDD Commissioner Frank E. Shelp, MD, MPH. "We see this partnership as not only a way to improve behavioral healthcare now, but also a chance to bring more psychiatrists to the Savannah area in the years to come."
Under a previous agreement signed on February 11, 2010, DBHDD, Mercer University, and MUMC have been sharing resources and working cooperatively to improve both medical and behavioral healthcare for the people they serve. With the agreement signed today, the three organizations will work together to establish a residency training program in psychiatry accredited by the American Council of Graduate Medical Education, with Georgia Regional and MUMC serving as the primary training sites. Developing the program may take up to two years. The agreement also provides opportunities for the organizations to collaborate on research that could bring the most advanced treatments and practices to mental health consumers in the Savannah area.
"The collaboration between the three entities serves as an example of how the public and private sectors can work together to bring needed medical resources to our region," said Ramon Meguiar, MD, Sr. VP and Chief Medical Officer at MUMC. "We are excited to be a part of such an opportunity and look forward to welcoming Psychiatric residents on our campus."