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New Residency Program Added
May 16, 2014

Eyewitness News Reporter Darrah Wilcox Officials with Marshall University's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine announced this week they've been awarded initial accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to offer a psychiatry residency training program beginning in 2015.

It's a four-year program that can train up to four residents a year, for a total of 16 resident physicians at capacity.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates one in four Americans suffer from a mental illness in any given year.

"It's a huge problem," Dr. Suzanne Holroyd said. "It's a problem that has a lot of stigma so, very often, families, people in the community, coworkers, won't tell you."

Some types of disorders include substance abuse, anxiety, traumas, difficult childhoods, history of abuse, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenic disorder.

"It's a rare family that hasn't been affected in some way by some kind of a mental health issue," Holroyd said.

So it's critical that there are plenty of doctors available to treat these patients.

Holroyd said of all the specialties of medicine in this country, psychiatry has the most critical shortage of doctors.

"It's been real hard to recruit psychiatrists to this region," he said.

Adding a psychiatry residency here will be crucial.

"We'll be able to train psychiatrists here that will be able to serve that critical void and need," Holroyd said.

Seven area facilities will be community partners with the residency program, including the VA hospital, Mildred Bateman Hospital and Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Steven Nakano is a third year medical student at Marshall University. He said gaining experience is key to a well-rounded education.

"It's about getting our feet wet, and so now that Marshall has a psychiatry program, it's just one more thing that we can have the experience of, and training future doctors," he said.

Med school officials said doctors often practice in the geographic area where they do their residency training.

"It's really important that we can train our own here, and hopefully let them grow here, grow roots here and hopefully stay here and help serve this region," Holroyd said.

Nakano said more doctors means more treatment for the local patients.

"I can only see that the community will benefit from that," Holroyd said.

The addition of the psychiatric residency brings the School of Medicine to a total of eight residency programs.

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