By Wendy Sarubbi | October 23, 2013 11:08 am

Prospective residents begin arriving at the UCF College of Medicine Friday for interviews, as the medical school begins selecting its first internal medicine hopefuls for graduate medical education that begins this summer.

UCF has received more than 2,300 applications for its partnership residency program with the Orlando VA Medical Center and Osceola Regional Medical Center. The residency program will select up to 20 medical school graduates to begin training in August and will ultimately grow to a total of 60 residents.

Internal Medicine is the college’s first residency program and Dr. Diane Davey, assistant dean of graduate medical education said UCF is looking for residents who are pioneers and ready to demonstrate leadership. “Our first classes of residents will help establish the culture of our training programs as we embark on the next phase in educating our future physicians,” she said.

The college expects to interview about 200 applicants in the coming months before it participates in national Match Day on March 14, 2014, where medical school seniors across the country are matched with residency programs.

The top residency programs provide students with a wide variety of patients to serve. UCF’s program will offer residents interaction with the unique health needs of veterans and patients in Osceola County, one of Florida’s fast-growing and most diverse communities.

The Orlando VA Medical Center is currently among the busiest VA facilities in the country, providing healthcare services to more than 100,000 veterans in Central Florida. The new Orlando VA Medical Center at Medical City will offer state-of-the-art inpatient acute care for veterans in Central Florida when it opens in 2014. The Orlando VA has been designated as an emerging center of innovation and will emphasize a patient-centered medical home approach through interdisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals. That approach includes mental health services as part of all primary care offerings.

Osceola Regional is currently undergoing several expansions and will have 317 beds by the end of 2013.  In addition to planning its Level II Trauma Center, Osceola Regional offers specialty programs such as its Central Florida Cardiac and Vascular Institute and Orthopedic and Spine Center.  The center offers robotic surgery and continuity clinics that help patients acclimate to life and care when they leave the hospital.

The residency program will use an innovative scheduling of residents called the 4 + 1 rotation schedule. This alternates traditional 4-week hospital and specialty rotations with one week blocks of ambulatory or outpatient care. Residents support the 4+1 because it allows them to focus on specific clinical facilities and cuts down on time-consuming travel and logistical problems that occur when residents are dashing from facility to facility in the middle of a rotation.

In preparation for the interviews, residency participants met October 1 at the College of Medicine for a GME retreat that emphasized the unique opportunities available to residents being trained in an emerging Medical City.

Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, chief of staff of the Orlando VA, summarized the views of all the residency partners when he said during the retreat, “All of us are here because we wanted to build something.”

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