Osceola Regional Residency Consortium Addressing the Physician Shortage in Florida
Philip Kondylis, MD, a board-certified colorectal surgeon affiliated with Osceola Regional Medical Center, was recently named program director of a new general surgery residency program at Osceola Regional Medical Center and the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Lake Nona.
The general surgery residency program is one of the latest additions to the five-year Graduate Medical Education (GME) residency program at Osceola Regional and part of the UCF College of Medicine-HCA Healthcare North Florida Division Consortium. The consortium aims to address a statewide physician shortage by keeping Florida's medical school graduates in state to pursue their careers. Osceola Regional's residency program is expected to offer 200+ residency positions by the year 2020 - including 15 positions in the surgical residency program. In addition to the surgical program launching this summer, the hospital offers residencies in emergency medicine, neurology, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, transitional year and anesthesia.
As the physician spearheading the surgical residency, Kondylis has focused on building a program that incorporates traditional best practices with new concepts in surgical education. He brings an extensive background in Graduate Medical Education and research. For 12 years, Kondylis was a core faculty member of the Colorectal Surgery program at Saint Vincent Health Center in Erie, Penn., and for three years he served as the program director.
His credentials include 34 major research presentations and 14 peer-reviewed publications. He is a member of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, and American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Kondylis is also a registered investigator with the National Cancer Institute.
We talked with Dr. Kondylis to find out more about the general surgery program and why he thinks it's the perfect fit for medical students and the community.
OMN: Why is this residency program needed?
PK: There simply aren't enough residency openings available across the country, and especially in Florida for the number of medical school graduates each year. The National Resident Matching Program announced there were a record-breaking 44,000 applicants for 33,000 slots in 2018.
The University of Central Florida, in particular, is seeing rapid growth in its number of medical school graduates, so there's definitely a need for local students. Plus, medical students nationwide are picking surgical specialties over primary care positions in increasing numbers.
Perhaps more important, our community needs to attract top-notch doctors, and with Florida having the fourth highest physician retention percentage in the country, creating new residency programs like this one will help bring better healthcare to the region.
Q: What makes the Osceola Regional/VA surgical program unique?
PK: Since the launch of the UCF-HCA residency consortium in 2015, we've been able to put together a remarkably broad-based experience that was intentionally planned from day one.
Our faculty is fully devoted to teaching the mastery of surgical skills, not just surgical basics, with the end goal that our students become the new trainers. Our program isn't tied to any existing schedule, so we do not just check off requirements but rather optimize training based on need. The rotations are tailored to the quality of the educational experience, not the volume of work required.
To achieve this, the surgical residency program has partnered with three core local training sites that specialize in minimally invasive surgical procedures (hand-and-stick laparoscopy, robotic-assisted surgery and trans-orifice surgery): Osceola Regional Medical Center, Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Nemours Children's Hospital.
In addition, residents will also have rotations at three specialty sites: Florida Hospital Tampa (minimally invasive hepatopancreatic biliary service), Kendall Medical Center in Miami (comprehensive acute and chronic care for burn patients) and Methodist Hospital San Antonio (top transplant center).
Perhaps most exciting, is that through our partnership with the VA Medical Center at Lake Nona, medical residents will have access to an excellent surgical simulation facility.
Then there are the demographics of Osceola County, which has experienced a population explosion in recent years, including many new arrivals from Puerto Rico. Our residents benefit by gaining exposure to a diverse patient population.
Finally, in the past, residents had to travel to Orlando to perform certain surgeries. Offering surgical training at Osceola Regional Medical Center will give physicians the ability to complete their education here in Kissimmee.
Q: What does this residency program bring to the Kissimmee area?
PK: As our region has grown, so has the need for quality and comprehensive medical services, including surgical options. We know that people want specialty care when they have complex medical conditions and having those specialists in their own community makes all the difference. That's why Osceola Regional is investing heavily to become the "go-to" facility for care for our population.