July 20, 2018
Area(s) of Interest: Family Medicine Physician Workforce
Name:Gemma Kim, M.D.
(Photo: The Desert Sun)
“UCR School of Medicine is very unique in that it is one of very few that promotes primary care … and really wants to address the physician disparities that exist in the county and ensure that they meet those needs.” –Gemma Kim, M.D.
Palm Springs physician Gemma Kim, M.D., is the director of the Family Medicine Residency Program, a partnership between Desert Regional Medical Center, Desert Healthcare District and the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine. The program recently graduated it’s first group of physicians, most of whom will be staying to practice in the Coachella Valley—an area of California that has long struggled with a shortage of physicians. Dr. Kim and the residency program were recently featured in The Desert Sun. The following is an excerpt.
Coachella Valley gets several new family doctors thanks to partnership. But the shortage is still staggering
A UCR School of Medicine residency program, designed to help address a severe shortage of doctors in the Coachella Valley, has graduated its first group of physicians – most of whom are staying to practice locally.
The Family Medicine Residency Program, a partnership between Desert Regional Medical Center, Desert Healthcare District and the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine, welcomed its first class of seven residents three years ago.
Of the seven that graduated June 30, six are staying local.
“Usually, you get to retain maybe one or two graduates in a class,” program director Gemma Kim, M.D., said.
The program will now graduate up to eight students annually, all specializing in family medicine.
“Family medicine is a great specialty to have where you have physician needs or deficits because … we get trained in not only adult medicine, but pediatric medicine, geriatric medicine, obstetrics and outpatient surgeries. So, it’s very diverse and allows us to treat all patient populations,” Kim said.
“We treat patients from newborn all the way to geriatrics,” she said.
In addition to the graduating residents, the program has brought 13 faculty members, who are also practicing physicians, to the valley. Another six faculty members will be joining the program this summer, Dr. Kim said.
The desert has long struggled with a physician shortage. Young graduating physicians tend to want to locate along the coastline or in large metropolitan areas.
Read more on The Desert Sun website.