From combing the pages of a human anatomy textbook in class to getting to know hospital
rooms and halls, students at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine continue to refine their skills in and out of the classroom.

And for over half a century now, UConn and Hartford HealthCare have worked together to shape the next generation of physicians and medical personnel through their residency and fellowship programs — which the two organizations recently renewed for another five years.

In 1963, UConn and Hartford HealthCare teamed up to meet their goals: educate the future medical
workforce and deliver first-class care. As a way to strengthen the education for future physicians and boost more manpower in the medical field, the university sends its students to work in Hartford
Healthcare and other facilities.

Today, about half of the residents and fellows at the UConn School of Medicine will learn and provide care at a Hartford HealthCare facility.

“Medicine is associated with a lot of responsibility and so it is very important to train people well,” said Dr. Bruce Liang, dean of the UConn School of Medicine. “This program is focused on giving the best educational and training experiences to our students to confidently create excellent next generation physicians in any field.”

Currently, Connecticut is facing a high demand for physicians and may be facing a greater shortage since more than 30% of physicians in the state are over the age of 55 and are likely to retire soon. And across the country, there will be a significant physician shortage by as much as a total of 124,000 physicians by 2034, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges.

As of now the Hartford program is training more than 700 residency doctors and over 440 medical students at any given time, Liang said. But it also has plans to continue to meet demand and educate more aspiring physicians by gradually increasing its class sizes.

Nurudeen Osumah, a UConn Health medical resident, at the Emergency Department at John Dempsey Hospital on Feb. 28, 2023. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)


Nurudeen Osumah, a UConn Health medical resident, at the Emergency Department at John Dempsey Hospital on Feb. 28, 2023. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

“As the school continues to expand their programs, they need additional clinical placements for bigger classes and that’s where we come in,” said Dr. Rocco Orlando, senior vice president and Chief Academic Officer at Hartford Healthcare. “We are expanding programs in many areas to train more surgeons, urologists, anesthesiologists, endocrinologists and many others.”

And many next-generation physicians from the state are able to stay.

Report: Connecticut hospitals in precarious state after worst year financially since pandemic began

“Each year, 35% of UConn medical school graduates and another 35% of its sponsored residency
graduates stay and serve Connecticut,” Liang said. ”We are the leading source of future physicians and surgeons for Connecticut.”

For Nurudeen “Lucky” Osumah, who graduated from UConn’s medical school in 2022 and is now a second-year UConn emergency medicine resident, the program allows him to be close to home and continue to stay in the state.

“I am able to stay close to my family and am able to get the best training possible,” he said. “In the ER, you never know what is going to walk through the door. This patient population is one of the sickest.”

Osumah said he may have a few overnight shifts and morning shifts throughout the week but they are never more than 12 hours, unlike some other facilities. Instead, he generally works between eight to 10 hours with the last hour or two overlapping with the next shift of residents, which allows him to wrap up his current patients. To him, he is able to have that work-life balance.

Similarly, Chioma Ogbejesi, UConn ob-gyn surgery resident, said she has found her program very accommodating and “a very unique experience.”

“No one is lost in the grind,” Ogbejesi said. “You’re never alone because you have a supervising attendee helping you manage a patient and address their case.”

Besides Osumah performing a suture on a patient or Ogbejesi helping women deliver their first-borns, residents and fellows can work across the state in settings from urban to suburban environments, which Osumah says gives them a mix of both worlds.

This partnership is a long-lasting one, Orlando says, and is a collaboration that will continue to grow to meet the needs for future physicians to serve Connecticut.

“I truly love it,” Osumah said.


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