Dayton hospital helps fill physician shortage in Air Force

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Lt. Gen. Mark Ediger, Air Force surgeon general, visited a Good Samaritan Hospital family medical residency program Thursday that's

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Air Force surgeon general on Thursday toured Good Samaritan Hospital, a medical center training family practice physicians to help fill a shortage of doctors in the Air Force, officials say.

The medical training program at Good Samaritan will act as a model for other Air Force family medical residency training programs across the region and the country, according to hospital president Eloise Broner.

“Innovation is still alive right here in Dayton and this program is a great example of innovation,” Broner said. “…I think we are sitting at the cusp of what the new programs are going to look like as we work with the Air Force.”

The Air Force, which trains flight surgeons in aerospace medicine, has a shortage of about 50 doctors with a specialty in family medicine, said Lt. Gen. Mark A. Ediger, Air Force surgeon general who is based in Washington, D.C.

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“The family medical physicians we train here really have a special capability when they complete their training,” the three-star general said. “It’s a critical requirement. Our Air Force has been more in demand today than we have been historically so we have airmen deployed around the world engaged in combat operations and all those airmen need the support of family care physicians.”

The Air Force has 4,000 doctors on active duty, and 2,000 who serve as reservists, Ediger said. Good Samaritan graduates two to three Air Force doctors who complete family medical internships every year.

Dr. Jennifer Wolf, 41, an Air Force major and flight surgeon in the first year of the family medicine training at Good Samaritan, has delivered babies and worked in the hospital’s emergency room to help treat overdosed patients.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Good Samaritan Hospital President Eloise Broner talks about a hospital program that trains Air Force flight surgeons in family medicine in Dayton. Video produced by Barrie Barber.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

She has completed a three-year aerospace medicine residency at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base prior to coming to the Dayton hospital. She’s treated pediatric patients at Dayton Children’s Hospital as part of her training.

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“In the Air Force, we tend to have a really healthy population so being able to work in a community just lets us see a lot of sick patients, helps us integrate in the community, and we take that skill and knowledge back to the Air Force to provide really good care to our airmen and their families,” the San Francisco, Calif., area native said.

In 2013, Good Samaritan and the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine partnered with Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine and Premier Health to start family medical internships for flight surgeons, Broner said.