Health Care and Wellness

Trumbull Regional Opens Family Medicine Center

WARREN, Ohio – The only time Dr. Paul Rich, director of the family medicine residency program at Trumbull Regional Medical Center, left the area was to attend medical school. He then returned to fulfill a dream of his own, he said.

That dream was to be a family doctor in his hometown of Girard, Rich said. Since 1993, the residency program has been a part of his life, he said at the grand opening of the Family Medicine Center at Trumbull Regional Wednesday. 

“If you don’t have your health, it doesn’t matter what else you have,” said Mayor Doug Franklin of Warren. “I’m glad that this hospital is taking the next step and reaching the underserved population and making these services more accessible to our population.” 

The residency program, which started in 1979 and is housed at the Market Street hospital, will celebrate its 40th anniversary Oct. 3. 

“This is an enormous moment for me, for the program and the community,” Rich said. “Each and every one of the faculty in our program is a graduate of the program like myself.” 

Since 2011, 115 physicians have graduated and more than a third of them have stayed in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, Rich said. While it was disappointing to see Northside Hospital close, another door has opened, he added.

“We can continue to help the community as well as continue to help support the hospital within that community,” Rich said.

With the residency program and the new clinic available, it will be an excellent resource to the community to help serve health-care needs, said Dr. Allison Pepple, chief of the residency program. 

The Family Medicine Center demonstrates Trumbull Regional’s commitment to ongoing medical education, said hospital President Ron Bierman, as well as the health of the community.

“This is a community that we can embrace and we can improve upon the overall quality of health care,” Bierman said.

Before Northside Hospital closed in 2017, plans were underway to bring the program to Trumbull Regional, said Kimberly Howe, director of Western Reserve Health Education. After looking at the demographics of Warren, there appeared to be a significant shortage of physicians, particularly in family medicine, she explained.

“We looked on the website of the American Board of Family Medicine and in Warren, there were only four board certified family medicine physicians,” she said. 

More than $100,000 was invested into the family medicine center at the hospital, Howe said. Many of the upgrades were to equipment.

“Our vision is an old-fashioned family medicine mentality,” Rich said. “We do everything from pre-birth to end of life. It’s providing the community an option where the entire family could go to one office and have all of the care.” 

The residency program has six faculty members and there are 15 residents, with room in the program for up to 18, Rich said. More than 20 physicians will be coming in and out seeing patients on any given day, he added. 

“We learned so much from our patients,” Pepple said. “In terms of what the patients get out of it, I know it can be stressful to see a physician for three years and not know if they’re going to be staying or going. It would be great to keep growing and expanding.” 

Pictured: Ron Bierman, president of Trumbull Regional Medical Center; Steven Swain, associate program director; Dr. Paul Rich, director of the family medicine residency program; Mayor Doug Franklin of Warren; Trumbull County commissioners Daniel Polivka and Frank Fuda; Kimberly Howe, director of Western Reserve Health Education, and county commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa. 

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.