Lee Health Program Accredited with Commendation
After just two years, Lee Health’s family practice residency program has been approved for expansion and has received continued accreditation with commendation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for the next 10 years—without a single citation for improvement.
“This is a remarkable achievement, especially for a new program,” says Gary Goforth, M.D., Founding Program Director of The Florida State University College of Medicine Family Medicine Residency Program at Lee Health. “I have worked with four residency programs during the past 32 years, and each of those programs has received continued accreditation status with the maximum time interval. However I have never received a notification letter with zero citations!” Dr. Goforth explains.
The local program is based at Lee Memorial Hospital with the Florida State University College of Medicine as its institutional sponsor. This residency program was developed to abate the shortage of primary care physicians anticipated nationally, an issue that is compounded locally by a rapid population growth in Southwest Florida. Medical school graduates are required to complete residency training in their chosen specialty in order to become independently practicing physicians. Most physicians set up practice near where they complete this training, making the ideal candidate local students who also plan to practice in the community.
In April 2014, the first six residents were welcomed to Lee Health’s three-year program. With all 18 slots full this year, Dr. Goforth says he is extremely pleased to announce the program’s expansion to 24 residents. Eight new residents will be added each year for the next three years.
“We have great facilities with a diverse patient population, a very supportive volunteer community and core faculty,” Dr. Goforth explains, “and we have a wonderful group of residents who have met all of our outcome goals.” With 501 family medicine residency programs currently in the U.S., competition is tough for physicians applying. “This year, we received more than 1,700 applications from U.S. medical students and physicians from all over the world,” says Dr. Goforth. With about two-thirds of Florida’s medical graduates going out-of-state for their residencies, the hope is that more resident graduates will remain in the area to practice medicine. Statistically, about 60 percent of residents will practice medicine in the same area in which they are trained.
About Lee Health
Since the opening of the first hospital in 1916, Lee Health has been a health care leader in Southwest Florida, constantly evolving to meet the needs of the community. A non-profit, integrated health care services organization, Lee Health is committed to the well-being of every individual served, focused on healthy living and maintaining good health. Staffed by caring people, inspiring health, services are conveniently located throughout the community in four acute care hospitals, two specialty hospitals, outpatient centers, walk-in medical centers, primary care and specialty physician practices and other services across the continuum of care. Learn more at