WellStar Kennestone Hospital welcomes first class of medical residents

Friday, July 1, 2016 Hospital News J E 4
14 residents chosen from 2,400 applicants

MARIETTA, Ga., July 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- WellStar Kennestone Hospital launched a Graduate Medical Education (GME) program on Friday, July 1. In its first year, the program welcomes 14 residents to the hospital to continue their training in internal medicine and OBGYN.

Each year, new physicians graduate from Georgia-based medical schools and many are forced to leave the state to complete their training. Studies have shown that physicians are most likely to permanently practice medicine in the community where they finish their training. With concerns about having enough physicians to care for an aging population, it is imperative that Georgia hospitals train more physicians. Kennestone is one of eight hospitals that are partnering with University System of Georgia (USG) to launch new residency training programs.

"It is the right time to offer this new program," said John Brennan, M.D., executive vice president and chief clinical integration officer for WellStar Health System. "We believe this program will help train the next generation of physicians, and these residents will come to us with their own ideas and knowledge, particularly about emerging practices, which will provide a reciprocal benefit to our physicians, staff and patients.  We are positioning WellStar to meet our community's needs as the population gets older."

Kennestone received more than 2,400 applicants for its ten internal medicine and four OBGYN positions, echoing the need for more training programs in the state.  Residents will participate in the internal medicine and OBGYN programs for 3 and 4 years, respectively.

"WellStar's vision is to build long-term relationships with these residents so they can continue to work in Georgia and hopefully, to serve WellStar's patients for many years to come," said Waldon Garriss, M.D., who serves as GME program director for internal medicine. "Our team members are so supportive and eager to make a difference in the lives of these students and the patients we serve."

With the goal of offering an exceptional and personalized training environment to develop the next generation of physicians, WellStar Kennestone went through a rigorous planning process in order to obtain accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Using practices from well-respected programs, such as Vanderbilt, Erlanger and Mercer, and creating some of their own, the Kennestone GME team built a curriculum and program that would attract the best and brightest medical students. The medical program spans the breadth of internal medicine, which includes ambulatory and inpatient services, critical care, subspecialty training, neurology, geriatrics and emergency medicine. The first of its kind in Cobb County, the GME program is expected to expand to 30 residents by 2018. The OB/GYN program will grow to 16 residents during that same time period.

On April 1, WellStar acquired WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, which has a 50-year history of training physicians in family medicine, internal medicine, orthopedics, general surgery and pharmacy. The two programs will learn and grow from each other.

About WellStar Health System       WellStar Health System, the largest health system in Georgia, is known nationally for its innovative care models, focused on improving quality and access to healthcare. WellStar consists of WellStar Medical Group, 240 medical office locations, outpatient centers, health parks, a pediatric center, nursing centers, hospice, homecare, as well as 11 hospitals: WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South, WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center (anchored by WellStar Kennestone Hospital), WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, and WellStar Cobb, Douglas, North Fulton, Paulding, Spalding Regional, Sylvan Grove and Windy Hill hospitals. As a not-for-profit, WellStar continues to reinvest in the health of the communities it serves with new technologies and treatments.  For more information, visit


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SOURCE WellStar Health System



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