June 26, 2019
Surgeons who practice in smaller, rural communities require a specialized training program that reflects what a smaller community practice would require.
However, many general surgical residencies aren’t designed to incorporate this type of training. This prompted Claude Deschamps, M.D., then chair of the Department of Surgery, along with Heidi Nelson, M.D., and Stephanie Heller, M.D., to create Mayo Clinic's Integrated Community and Rural Surgery Track in 2012.
The Integrated Community and Rural Surgery Track of the General Surgery Residency (Minnesota) offers residents a diverse surgical experience in specialties such as gynecology, orthopedics, urology, otolaryngology, and thoracic surgery, as well as colorectal and plastic surgery.
Residents spend a year training at Mayo Clinic Health System locations from La Crosse and Eau Claire, Wisconsin, as well as Mankato, Owatonna, and Red Wing, Minnesota, honing their skills under the guidance of health system surgeons.
The track gives trainees time to explore if community practice is for them, and if so, the necessary skill set to prepare for that kind of practice.
"It also gives Mayo Clinic a pipeline of providers who may choose to stay with Mayo Clinic Health System," Dr. Nelson says. "If not, they'll be carrying with them the Mayo Clinic Model of Care to communities throughout the country."
In fact, the first resident to be accepted into the program, Randy Lehman, M.D., is on track to graduate in June 2020 and will begin his community surgical practice at Pulaski Memorial Hospital in Winamac, Indiana, about 30 minutes from his hometown of Rensselaer, population 5,500. And thanks to his training, he'll be ready.
A version of this story originally appeared on the Mayo News Center, an internal information hub for Mayo Clinic employees.