UNC med school opens campus at NHRMC

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Dr. Joseph Pino of NHRMC and UNC School of Medicine's Dr. William Roper announce the opening this week of a satellite campus at the hospital. Photo courtesy UNC School of Medicine.
Dr. Joseph Pino, left, of NHRMC and UNC School of Medicine’s Dr. William Roper announce the opening this week of a satellite campus at the hospital. Photo courtesy UNC School of Medicine.

The University of North Carolina School of Medicine has a new local campus.

That campus—located at New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC)—opened this week to three UNC medical students, according to the university.

NHRMC spokeswoman Claire Parker said the hospital will now annually host up to 24 medical students pursuing careers in internal medicine, surgery, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, neurology and psychiatry, among other specializations.

The one-year residency program is open to third-year medical students, who will then have the option to stay on for their final year of study. The site joins branch campuses already in place in Asheville and Charlotte.

“We think that students function best when they have the time to really get to know the community and patient population, as well as the faculty physicians and health system where they are learning,” said Dr. Julie Byerley, vice dean for education at the UNC School of Medicine.

The proposal to expand into Wilmington originally arose out of UNC School of Medicine’s longstanding partnership with New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC), according to Dr. Joseph Pino, the hospital’s Vice President of Graduate Medical Education and President and CEO of South East Area Health Education Center. Pino has been selected to head up the new program.

For decades, NHRMC teaching physicians–all of whom hold UNC faculty titles–have hosted third- and fourth-year medical students for a four-week rotation.

In addition to curriculum–the obvious key focus for students–the longer stay would also provide a better understanding of the hospital’s ongoing efforts at quality improvement and provide an understanding of “some of the foundations for medical leadership,” Pino said in an earlier interview.

Even further, he said, it gives medical students a home base during an often stressful, strenuous time.

“It’s hard for anybody to learn a new job, so to speak, or a new environment…It can be very challenging to go from location to location so, offering this kind of longitudinal experience is good,” he said.

Aside from some “minimal personnel recruitment” and designation of study and work space for students during down times, Pino said the infrastructure is already in place at the hospital to house the long-term students.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or hilary.s@hometownwilmington.com.