Delta Health System Awarded HHS Funds

Iris Stacker, Delta Health System Chief Executive Officer, announced that Delta Health System was awarded funds by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health and Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to invest in the MS Delta Family Medicine Residency Program.

“I would like to thank the Biden-Harris Administration for their investment into the Mississippi Delta as we work together on our goals of improving maternal and birth outcomes. This planning grant will allow our team, under the direction of Dr. Brent Smith, Residency Program Director, to develop a maternal health training track within the MS Delta Family Residency Program with the goal of reducing maternal health care disparities in Mississippi by increasing the number of family physicians who are uniquely trained to deliver comprehensive, advanced obstetrical care in their rural practices,” said Stacker. “The Residency Program is an asset to our hospital and community, and I am honored that Delta Health System was awarded this opportunity to grow and expand our program by training the family medicine residents to deliver enhanced obstetrical care in the Delta and rural Mississippi.”

Delta Health System will receive up to $750,000.00 over three years to establish the Maternal and Obstetrics Rural Track within the current MS Delta Family Residency Program. The Delta Health System team will use this funding to support accreditation costs, curriculum development, faculty recruitment and retention, resident recruitment activities, and consultation services for program development. The program will implement the Maternal Track to increase access to obstetric healthcare in the rural areas.

Through the Mississippi Delta Family Residency program, Delta Health System actively coordinates with other clinical sites such as Delta Health Center in Mound Bayou, MS; South Sunflower County Hospital in Indianola who are integral partners in this planning grant and maternal track. New Rural Training Sites will include the Indianola Family Medicine Clinic and South Sunflower Hospital in Indianola and the Delta Health

Federally 15 Qualified Health Center in Mound Bayou. The key players include Delta Dr. Brent Smith, Delta Health System, Dr. Lessa Phillips, MS MERC Sponsoring Institution, Dr. Hannah Ray and Dr. Ed Donohoe, South Sunflower County Hospital and Dr. Nina Rangunanthan, Dr. Delta Health Center.

"The root purpose of our residency being established in the Delta is to use our training program to begin to address the health disparities that are such a big problem in the Delta. One aspect that we want to make a priority is women's health, as we have an increasing shortage of access to these resources in this area. If we can train our family medicine resident physicians to provide excellent care for the mother and then child all the way from family planning to post-partum care, then we benefit the patients and take some of the burden off our overworked OB/GYN's and Family Physicians that practice obstetrics. We are excited to get this grant to explore how we can enhance our current training now and commit to a focused training on women's health and obstetrics in the future, and it will be part of our larger efforts to move the needle for our young mothers here in the Delta,” said Smith.

Delta Health System is one of fifteen residency programs throughout the country that received a portion of the $11 Million Investment to expand medical residencies in rural communities.

“We are delighted to be awarded this grant to help the Mississippi Delta Family Medicine Residency in Greenville increase the number of family physicians trained to deliver prenatal, delivery, and postpartum services in the Delta. Our residents are already uniquely trained in the prevention, screening, early diagnosis, and best-practice medical treatment of the chronic diseases that threaten the lives of pregnant woman and their babies in Mississippi. The new Rural Track Family Medicine with Advanced Obstetrics Residency will be additionally focused on teaching comprehensive, evidence-based care before, during, and after pregnancy, and providing longitudinal care for life for women and their families. This strength of this new program will be an innovative maternal healthcare collaborative of multiple health care facilities and physicians in the Delta, working together for a better future for women and their families,” commented Leesa Phillips, M.D., Designated Institutional Official MSMERC MS Delta Family Medicine Residency.