Pullman Regional HospitalWashington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine has earned accreditation to start its first family medicine residency program in Pullman.

The WSU Family Medicine Residency Program-Pullman, based at Pullman Regional Hospital, is a three-year residency training program focused in a critical-access hospital in which physician residents will have opportunities to experience the full range of family medicine practice. The program, which will welcome its first residents in summer 2022, will host three residents per year for a total of nine residents when fully implemented.

Critical access hospitals have 25 or fewer acute care beds and serve rural communities with essential health care services. As a critical access hospital, Pullman Regional Hospital provides 24-hour emergency care, inpatient and outpatient surgery, imaging and labs, full-service obstetrical care, physical and occupational therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, in addition to primary, pediatric, orthopedic, sleep medicine, behavioral health and cardiology care through its network of clinics.

“Serving the rural and underserved has been our focus from the beginning, so we are extremely proud to launch our first rural residency in Pullman,” said Dr. John Tomkowiak, founding dean of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. “Launching a residency program in the heart of Cougar country means not only providing care to the people who serve so many across the WSU community, but increasing the likelihood that our own medical students will practice medicine in Pullman and surrounding areas for generations to come.”

Residency, also known as graduate medical education, is the three- to seven-year phase of medical education following graduation from medical school that prepares physicians for independent practice in a medical specialty. Studies have shown that about 43% of new physicians practice in the state where they attended medical school, that number can increase to 70% when they complete both their medical education and their residency in the same state.

“The medical community in Pullman is eager to host physician residents and enrich their education through the leadership of Dr. Stephen Hall,” said Scott Adams, CEO of Pullman Regional Hospital. “We’re confident the experience our physicians and Pullman Regional Hospital can provide will produce well-rounded, community-minded physicians.”

Residents of the WSU Family Medicine Residency Program-Pullman will train at Pullman Regional Hospital, in sub-specialty clinics with area physicians and in a residency primary care clinic to be constructed in the hospital.

“This family medicine residency is one of a very small number of programs nationwide where residents experience the majority of all three years of their training in a critical access hospital, allowing them to learn first-hand what it takes to care for our communities,” said Dr. Jonathan Espenschied, associate dean of graduate medical education and continuing medical education. “We have been eagerly planning for and working toward this moment with Pullman Regional Hospital for several years, and we look forward to bringing these new residents into the rural and underserved areas of eastern Washington where they are needed most.”

Dr. Stephen Hall, a family medicine physician for more than 30 years, including five years overseas with the Air Force and 24 years treating patients in the Palouse region, will serve as the program director leading operations, recruitment and education for the residency program.

“Pullman has a long history of educating future physicians, and this residency program takes that to the next level,” said Hall. “I am proud to train the doctors who will serve in rural areas and the surrounding region for generations to come.”

The program received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) after a rigorous two-year development process following the college’s initial ACGME accreditation as a sponsoring institution in 2018.

For more information about the WSU Family Medicine Residency Program-Pullman or to learn more about the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, visit medicine.wsu.edu.