Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines is receiving the go-ahead to start a psychiatric residency program. The hospital hopes to fill the void of behavioral health providers in the state.
Mercy has been approved to begin a four-year residency program in psychiatry, and is recruiting the first class of four doctors to begin in 2018. Iowa ranks 47th among states in the number of practicing psychiatrists per capita. The medical director of behavioral health at Mercy, Dr. Sasha Khosravi, estimates there are more than 120,000 Iowans with serious mental illness.
“A lot of these folks have a lot of roadblocks to receiving appropriate care because of a lack of providers and a lack of services,” he says.
Dr. Kosravi will direct the residency program at Mercy. He says the hope is the residents will decide to stay in Iowa.
“I think this is really instrumental in establishing a program where we produce psychiatrists with the goal of having those folks provide services in our community and in our state,” he says.
The University of Iowa Hospital currently offers the state’s only psychiatry residency. UnityPoint Health and Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines are also developing programs.