State grants to support psychiatry residency program at MCW-Green Bay, MCW-Central Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has awarded two grants of more than $370,000 each to develop Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) psychiatry residency training programs in Central Wisconsin and Green Bay.

MCW collaborated significantly with community partners on each of these grants, which are part of a statewide program to establish new graduate medical education programs in rural and underserved areas.  Graduate medical education (GME) refers to internship and residency training for new physicians after completion of medical school.  Psychiatry’s first GME program could start as soon as July 1, 2016.

More than $3.3 million was awarded to six organizations to establish the new programs over three years.  MCW’s grantee partners are North Central Health Care and the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. Carlyle Chan, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, was instrumental in helping write the grant applications and will lead development of the two residency programs.

The Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee helps manage the Milo C. Huempfner VA Clinic in Green Bay. This new Green Bay VA Clinic site will host the new residency and almost half of the support for the 16 residency positions will be provided by the VA.

Jerry Van Ruiswyk, MD, and Jon Lehrmann, MD, along with Heather Smith, PhD, Jim Hart, PhD, and Angie Paniagua, PhD, of the Milwaukee VA helped develop a proposal that eventually received VA financial support for seven residents, two psychology fellows, and one pharmacy resident annually, and which will be an integral part of the new Green Bay area residency and interprofessional training program. 

The additional state grant will help support the development and coordination of the other components of the residency program, which include the Winnebago Mental Health Institute, the Wisconsin Resource Center, Bellin Health, and Catalpa, as well as other potential partners. 

Gary Bezucha, CEO of North Central Healthcare in Wausau, was vital in recruiting a coalition of mental health partners in Central Wisconsin.  In addition to his organization, which provides behavioral health services to Marathon County, Wood County and Portage County have also agreed to participate.  Aspirus Health in Wausau will also contribute, as will the VA Medical Center in Tomah, which operates an outpatient clinic in Wausau.  Bridge, a Federally Mandated Health Clinic also in Wausau, recently agreed to become another site.  As in Green Bay, additional clinical affiliates continue to be recruited.

“This is a win-win for future physicians and the patients they will serve via this diverse group of health care providers,” said DHS Secretary Kitty Rhoades. “Clinical training in underserved areas significantly increases the likelihood that resident physicians will remain to continue their practices, which in turn will increase access to quality health care.”

The new resident physicians will provide health care services to Wisconsin citizens at hospitals and clinics in rural and underserved areas in more than 20 counties that have agreed to serve as clinical training sites.

Funding to support the new GME programs was authorized in the state’s 2013-2015 biennial budget. It allows for up to $1.75 million per year to be used to develop new programs, and $750,000 annually to expand existing accredited GME programs. The initiative targets five specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, and psychiatry.

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Page Updated 06/25/2014
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