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Class Act: BayCare welcomes its first batch of pediatric residents

For many parents, BayCare Kids is the first name that comes to mind when we’re thinking of a place to entrust with the care of our sick children. But as the largest provider of pediatric services in the Tampa Bay area—and the second largest in the state of Florida—BayCare now has an additional feather in its cap.

Starting July 2022, BayCare will begin training the next generation of pediatricians when it launches the three-year BayCare Pediatrics Residency with a community care focus.

For Dr. Christina Canody, BayCare Pediatric Service Line Medical Director, the prospect of starting this program is as exciting as finally opening a much-anticipated Christmas present under the tree. BayCare already offers two family medicine residencies and a sports medicine fellowship (in conjunction with the University of South Florida), but this BayCare pediatric residency, along with a new psychiatric residency, is among the newest offerings that will help bring more physicians into the workforce.

A pediatrics residency is a three-year program that physicians with an MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathy) degree must complete to become fully trained and certified in the specialties that they choose. Most begin to apply to these programs during their fourth year of medical school, and on the much-anticipated “Match Day” that usually occurs in March, they learn which of their residency choices they received. By mid-November, BayCare had already fielded 150 applications for the eight positions that they will fill for next year. (Eight residents will be added per year for a total of 24 residents in the program.)

Dr. Canody, a 20-year veteran of BayCare, is excited about the prospect of guiding a new generation of pediatricians into the field, particularly at a time when the nation faces a shortage of physicians—one that is expected to worsen by pandemic-related rates of early retirement (nearly 45 percent of physicians are 55 or older) and physician burnout, according to the American Medical Association.

At BayCare, future pediatricians will gain experience in many medical specialties such as congenital cardiology, hematology and oncology, and also get a thorough grounding in community care by participating in initiatives like the BayCare Kids mobile medical clinic  or St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital’s Chronic-Complex Clinic for medically fragile children. As well as treating children, the residents will learn how to improve their patients’ families’ access to services and care, including through BayCare partner organizations such as Metropolitan Ministries, La Esperanza Clinic for migrant families and the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County. Here, they will learn all about how comprehensive care includes basics such as vaccinations, food and developmental screenings—interventions that can have a lifetime impact on a young patient.

“These are the things that make a difference in the lives of patients,” says Dr. Canody. “Not just telling them what to do, but how to do it.”

The emphasis on community health attracts the kind of physicians who already have displayed an interest by participating in mission trips or local community health initiatives. Because it is a new program, Dr. Canody says the early residents will have an opportunity to impact its future as their feedback can help shape the details of the program. From the “teacher” side, BayCare has a full complement of specialists in every aspect of pediatrics, from nursing to surgery, who are excited about the prospect of teaching and guiding the new residents.

“I’ve been on staff here for over 20 years and have seen it blossom from a small community hospital to becoming a comprehensive children’s hospital with multiple subspecialties,” Dr. Canody says. “It’s truly one of the greatest opportunities—the ability to instill the knowledge you’ve learned and give back is invaluable. To be able to identify the passion and give residents the skills they need to know where that passion is going to take them… we are giddy with excitement at the prospect.”


*Presented by BayCare | Originally Published in the December 2021 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.

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