As the state and nation faces a critical shortage of physicians, UConn School of Medicine and Hartford HealthCare are working together to make an even bigger difference for the future of our health care workforce.
On September 14 leadership of both institutions gathered in Hartford to celebrate and sign a renewed five-year, expanded academic affiliation agreement committed to adding new residencies and fellowships, while helping overcome clinical shortages by increasing class size and providing the facilities for clinical education training.
The agreement renews and strengthens the clinical training affiliation for opportunities for undergraduate medical education enrolled UConn medical students and resident trainees in UConn’s more than 75 graduate medical education’s robust residency training programs.
More than half of the graduates of UConn’s medical school and residency programs stay in Connecticut where they are trained. Annually, there are nearly 800 UConn residents and fellows – and on any given day about half of them are learning and providing care in a Hartford HealthCare facility.
Hartford HealthCare is one of the primary teaching affiliates of the UConn School of Medicine. Hartford HealthCare and the UConn School of Medicine have collaborated in medical education since 1963. From the start, UConn medical students have participated in clinical rotations at Hartford HealthCare hospitals – the first class training at The Hospital of Central Connecticut.
“Our relationship spans over 60 years,” shared Hartford HealthCare President & CEO Jeff Flaks. “In Connecticut we need to re-imagine. We need to ensure our residents have access to high quality health care. We are taking this to a whole other level. We are going to create new residencies. This will allow us to bring more physicians to Connecticut. We will be making a greater difference.”
“We want what is best for the people of Connecticut,” stressed UConn President Radenka Maric citing how over thirty percent of physicians in Connecticut are UConn graduates. “The only way to succeed is to work together.”
“We are creating tomorrow’s health care workforce,” shared longtime UConn School of Medicine Dean Dr. Bruce T. Liang at the celebratory event. He serves as UConn Health’s Interim CEO. “Hartford HealthCare is one of our medical school’s prime academic affiliates. We are ensuring that these talented future doctors dreaming of and working hard toward becoming primary care physicians and clinical specialists are equipped with the most technologically advanced training and wide-range of patient care experiences possible. And not just in Farmington but also across Connecticut.”
UConn is the state’s largest medical school and largest source of new physicians and surgeons. UConn’s contributions to the state’s health care workforce are unparalleled – with 70% of its medical school graduates practicing medicine or serving as resident physicians in Connecticut; plus 60% of the state’s pediatricians are its graduates or trainees; and 31% of practicing physicians in Connecticut are UConn-trained.
And UConn doesn’t have any plans of slowing down.
“We keep growing our medical school student body,” said Liang as the School just welcomed its largest class ever of 112 new medical students and continues to have an annual army of over 700 residents training in its large GME training programs supporting the state’s various hospital staffing needs.
“We’d like to thank Hartford HealthCare for always doing what they can to support our medical school’s growth and our trainees,” shared Liang with a special thanks to Dr. Rocco Orlando, an alum of UConn’s medical school, for his ongoing collaboration with the School of Medicine in his role as Hartford HealthCare’s Chief Academic Officer.
“I was born and raised in Connecticut. Fourty-nine years ago I started medical school,” shared Orlando. “To meet the needs of the future, every part of Hartford HealthCare needs to be involved in teaching.”
Three thriving UConn School of Medicine graduates also joined the celebratory signing event who had the opportunity to have residency training rotations at Hartford HealthCare.
“I am a triple-Husky,” said Dr. Kelsey Roch, a Connecticut native, proudly sharing how her UConn emergency medicine rotation experience at Hartford HealthCare after earning her undergraduate and medical degrees at UConn solidified her choice to stay in the state to practice. In 2020 she joined Hartford HealthCare as an emergency medicine attending physician. “I am a Connecticut-lifer.”
Dr. Lucky Osumah, is a second-year emergency medicine UConn resident who graduated from the School of Medicine in 2022. He is from Connecticut’s West Haven.
“I really wanted to stay at UConn for residency. I couldn’t imagine another place to go through my residency training,” said Osumah. “Every day is a learning experience. I am really grateful for all the training opportunities in emergency medicine.”
“I am also a Connecticut-lifer,” shared Dr. Chioma Ogbejesi, a fourth-year OB/GYN Surgery UConn resident, also from West Haven. She is in her final year of residency and recently rotated at Hartford Hospital.
Ogbejesi concluded: “The collaboration between UConn and Hartford HealthCare is amazing.”