Resident, Fellow Education

DR. CIARA SMITH PRACTICES HOLISTIC MEDICINE THROUGH UK’S NEW GRADUATE MEDICAL PROGRAM

When she was a medical student at Howard University, Ciara Smith, MD, had a sudden realization about the challenge of being a physician.

“During my psychiatry rotations,” she remembered, “I noticed that a lot of psychiatric patients also had a lot of other medical comorbidities too, like high blood pressure, diabetes. And so I was interested in seeing if there’s anything out there that would allow me to do both.”

At UK, Dr. Smith has found what she was looking for. As a first-year resident in the UK College of Medicine’s first class in the combined internal medicine/psychiatry program, she is practicing a holistic approach to medicine.

From the first semester of the program, Dr. Smith has been immersed in becoming the answer to the problem she first saw as a medical student. “Even so far on my medicine rotations, I’ve seen a lot of individuals with psychiatric conditions that do need to be addressed even if they’re not necessarily there for that. And vice versa on my psychiatry rotations.”

This is when the holistic approach is crucial. “You want to keep both specialties integrated in your mind so that you’re not looking at them as separate buckets, but rather as parts of each person.”

The internal medicine/psychiatry program is structured similar to the categorical medicine program, with an ambulatory or clinic month, every third month.

“One clinic that we’ve worked at is the UK Polk-Dalton Clinic,” she said. “We see a lot of individuals from underserved populations, individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals from minority communities, and Spanish-speaking individuals. It’s nice to not only see individuals with only medical problems, but to actually learn how to address social issues and social determinants when providing care.”

Dr. Smith believes she has found a direction for her career in these clinical experiences. In regard to her long-term goals, she sees herself on the outpatient side doing more integrated primary care and community psychiatry.

“I see myself working more with marginalized populations, particularly individuals in minority groups, and having an opportunity to work with majority African American populations,” she said. “And so I do see myself potentially working in a field that could help.”

GME ADDS COMBINED INTERNAL MEDICINE/ PSYCHIATRY RESIDENCY PROGRAM

The College of Medicine and UK HealthCare established a new combined residency program in internal medicine and psychiatry to equip medical trainees with the necessary knowledge and experience to best treat Kentucky patients with both medical and psychiatric needs. This addition puts the University of Kentucky at the forefront of addressing the need for this kind of training. In fiscal year 2021, Sandra Batsel-Thomas, MD; Kristy Deep, MD; and Sarah Oros, MD, finalized the program in order to welcome its first class of residents in July 2021.

GME COLLABORATES WITH COMMUNICATIONS TEAM TO CREATE VIRTUAL TOUR VIDEOS

When the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person interview processes, GME leadership worked with the communications team to create multiple videos featuring residency and fellowship programs, as well as a comprehensive video highlighting GME at UK as a whole. These videos not only offered incoming residents and fellows a virtual look into UK, but also created marketing pieces the College of Medicine could use for other purposes.

RESIDENT, FELLOW
BENEFITS EXPAND TO INCLUDE FULL RETIREMENT MATCH

For years, the Office of Graduate Medical Education has prioritized the success and well-being of residents and fellows, and in doing so, the office continuously seeks ways to improve the experience. This past fiscal year, the office was excited to announce that its longstanding efforts to implement UK’s full retirement match for its trainees had come to fruition. Starting July 1, 2021, residents and fellows received a 200-percent match from the University to their retirement savings contributions, the same benefit full-time employees across the University enjoy.

GME LAUNCHES RESIDENCY
RECRUITMENT TASKFORCE

The College of Medicine recognizes the importance of recruiting and retaining diverse physicians to advance standards of care. To expand on these efforts, the college launched a residency recruitment taskforce, a collaboration between the Office of Graduate Medical Education and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

THE YEAR IN NUMBERS

807 Residents and Fellows

As of Aug. 14, 2021, the College of Medicine was training 807 residents and fellows in ACGME-accredited programs.

47%

47% of residents and fellows going into practice stayed in Kentucky (excluding graduates continuing in GME training at another institution).

72 Programs

The Office of Graduate Medicine Education offered a wide variety of ACGME-accredited residency and fellowship programs.