Comment: 12 new Sea Mar doctors are ready to see you now

Sea Mar’s Marysville Family Medicine Residency Program helps to fill need for primary care providers.

By Ricardo Jimenez / For The Herald

Friday, the third class of residents will graduate from our Sea Mar Marysville Family Medicine Residency Program, marking the fifth year of its successful implementation.

Since opening in 2017, our residency has graduated 12 residents; a third have stayed in our area and at least half of the graduating class will do the same. As the national shortage of primary care providers becomes critical, this is good news for Snohomish County.

Our community-based model aims at training the next generation of primary care providers that most likely will continue the noble work of serving the needs of the less fortunate in our community. The unique design of our training program targets candidates of different backgrounds and ethnicities, in line with the diversity of the provider workforce of its sponsoring organization, Sea Mar Community Health Centers. Our grads are prepared and ready to serve with the clinical competency that a rigorous national accredited program requires; as well as with an integrated approach, cultural competency, empathy and compassion that the high calling of our profession compels us to, and that the nurturing culture of Sea Mar is able to provide. A true teaching health center, as the model is known now.

We owe our success to many of our community partners, in particular Providence Everett Regional Medical Center. Their leadership’s support and encouragement is a statement of the mission alignment between our organizations. We are affiliated with the University of Washington and form part of the Family Medicine Residency Network for Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

As we see our residents graduate today, a quiet feeling of satisfaction and excitement sets in. About a decade ago, representatives from our medical community met to discuss challenges in access to primary care, particularly prenatal care. Many patients had to go to places outside Snohomish just to come to deliver at Providence Everett. The impact of this fractured care was of major concern. It was there that a family medicine residency was suggested. The problem may not be completely resolved, but it is gratifying to be contributing to the solution.

Managing the challenges to make this a solid and enduring program is no small task. Yet, as I reflect on my own 32 years of practice, I see the next generation of physicians ready to take the torch from us.

That is a worthy endeavor to pursue.

Dr. Ricardo Jimenez is the chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs of Sea Mar Community Health Centers, and program director of the Marysville Residency Program. He holds an associate clinical professor faculty appointment at the UW Medical School, Family Medicine Department. In 2021, he received the Family Physician of the Year Award by the Washington Academy of Family Physicians.

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