EC-HealthNet Residency Consortium has announced its new partnership with the Phil Hardin Foundation. EC-HealthNet Residency Consortium accepted its first class of six family medicine residents.

The Consortium is comprised of nine member hospitals located in East Central Mississippi / West Alabama including Neshoba County General Hospital and Nursing Home.

The State of Mississippi is ranked 48th in the nation in physician access and 50th in overall health. Obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses and diseases are particularly burdensome to Mississippians, all of which could be mitigated with increased access to primary care.

The purpose of the EC-HealthNet Residency Consortium is to train physicians in rural areas to increase the likelihood that they will 1) Elect to practice in a rural area and 2) Have the clinical philosophy and skills to care for rural populations.

Rebecca Combs-Dulaney, CEO of the Hardin Foundation stated, "this is the first initiative of its kind in the state of Mississippi outside of our major teaching hospital in Jackson that addresses the shortages of family physicians.

Bringing medical residents to rural hospital settings has a greater likelihood for assimilation into their future practices and evidence suggests that a regional approach of cost sharing results in better care and cost effectiveness."

John Anderson, Vice President/Administrator of Anderson Regional Medical Center- South, said, "We are extremely proud to be part of this dynamic partnership that will help to increase quality of care for our community.

  This opportunity allows us to fully capitalize on the strengths of our medical staffs, as well as fill the current and future needs of primary care vital to the East Mississippi/West Alabama region."

EC-HealthNet Residency Consortium is comprised of the following additional hospitals:

• Anderson Regional Medical Center, Meridian.

• Rush Foundation Hospital, Meridian.

• Anderson Regional Medical Center South Campus, Meridian.

• Pioneer Community Hospital of Newton, Newton.

• Laird Hospital of Union, Union.

• John C. Stennis Memorial Hospital, DeKalb.

• Choctaw General Hospital, Butler, Ala.

• HC Watkins Memorial Hospital, Quitman.