Unique collaboration benefits community and psychiatric patients at the same time

Statistics prove successes of AltaPointe Health Systems and the University of South Alabama Department of Psychiatry collaboration. It's a one of a kind partnership, which creates an academic environment to recruit and retain the next generation of physicians. Best of all, psychiatric patients receive top notch care.

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Dr. William Bogan Brooks, left, dir. of the University of South Alabama Medical Student Clerkship, and Dr. J. Luke Engeriser, AltaPointe Deputy Chief Medical Officer and USA COM Residency Program Dir.

“To my knowledge ours is the nation’s only university based training program where the attending psychiatrists of a behavioral healthcare organization comprise of the entire psychiatry department faculty."

(PRWEB) December 09, 2013

The relationship between AltaPointe Health Systems and the University of South Alabama (USA) College of Medicine (COM) is long-standing and one-of-a-kind. It is similar to those between community mental health centers (CMHC) and medical college’s psychiatry departments across the country where residents and medical students do some of their training at the CMHC. However, the AltaPointe-USA relationship is truly unique for one major reason.

“To my knowledge ours is the nation’s only university based training program where the attending psychiatrists of a behavioral healthcare organization comprise of the entire psychiatry department faculty,” Sandra Parker, M.D., and AltaPointe Chief Medical Officer said. “This collaborative effort has benefitted our two organizations, the medical profession and the larger community for nine years now.”

The alliance began with clinical rotations and quickly expanded into teaching and a full residency program. Today, AltaPointe psychiatrists serve as the faculty for the USA College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.

Before AltaPointe stepped in, Parker said the university was thinking about doing away with the psychiatric residency program. “I felt very strongly that the program should be kept, especially since there are so few psychiat4ristist in the United States and in Alabama, in particular. The only other psychiatric residency program in the state is at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB),” Parker said.

When the decision was made for the program to continue, AltaPointe became the Department of Psychiatry in collaboration with USA College of Medicine. Psychiatrist, J. Luke Engeriser, MD, serves as USA College of Medicine Residency Program Director as well as AltaPointe Deputy Chief Medical Officer.

“The residents have the best of both worlds,” Engeriser explained, “a program associated with a strong academic medical school and having their core clinical experiences within the rich, real-world community mental health environment of AltaPointe. Residents have exposure to an amazingly diverse patient population and broad array of clinical environments within the AltaPointe system.”

Most important of all, the collaboration has profited the patients. “It is good for AltaPointe’s patients to have an opportunity to be exposed to, and receive outstanding care from, very bright, enthusiastic students and residents as well as dedicated attending physicians,” Parker added.

"The creation of an academic environment at AltaPointe has enabled Dr. Parker to recruit an outstanding staff of psychiatrists who, in turn, have done a superb job of training the next generation of physicians," Dr. William Bogan Brooks, director of the University of South Alabama Medical Student Slerkship.

Other benefits include: PA, CRNP students rotate here, too; collaboration benefits recruitment; future leaders in psychiatry emerge from program.

For more information on the partnership visit, http://www.altapointe.org