Forrest General residency program hoping to help break Mississippi healthcare stigma

FGH program working at educating doctors and also keeping them in Mississippi
Published: Aug. 2, 2023 at 9:51 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Eighty out of 82 of Mississippi’s counties medically are underserved and more than half of the state’s residents live in rural areas, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The doctors in training in Forrest General’s 10th residency class are working to be a part of the solution to serve rural residents and other underserved potential patients..

“My goal is to stay in Mississippi and provide primary care to Mississippians mainly because I know, like you said, of the great need that is here in the state of Mississippi,” resident Dr. Max Bloomingburg said. “I love the people of Mississippi and I love the state of Mississippi and I would love to continue my career.”

Over the course of three years, the participants of the program will interact with patients of the Hattiesburg community.

One resident says her favorite part of being a doctor is being able to help those who need it most.

“It gives me joy and I know that I am helping them better their health, their life, help them stay around longer,” resident Dr. ShaWanda Suber said. “They’re like me, they want to be with their family as long as they can, and anything I can do to help them stay with their family as long as they can, that’s my goal, that’s my purpose.”

The director of the program says that the residents can help break the healthcare stigma of Mississippi.

“We need more doctors, we need more doctors to stay, we need more doctors in specific fields, the most underserved ones,” said Dr. Rambod Rouhbakhsh. “So, I’m really gratified that we can provide that,” “Our residency has graduated seven classes, the majority of those who have stayed in Mississippi, so we have put a lot of doctors in this area and we’re quite proud of that.”

The program the residents are going through is rigorous, but Rouhbakhsh said the residents are doing a great job so far.

“We are really particularly proud of our residents, and it should be noted that they are a particularly excellent group of people that we’re putting out,” Rouhbakhsh said. “In the past three years, we’ve graduated two residency classes that have scored in the top 5 percent in the nation on their board scores,” he said. “All of our residents have passed their boards on the first try, a 100 percent pass rate, which is unique in this region.

“It’s not that we’re just producing doctors. We’re actually producing excellent family doctors and we’re quite proud of that.”

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