Hospital auxiliary donates $150,000 to new residency center
By Marty Russell
Thanks to a large donation by the hospital’s auxiliary program, North Mississippi Medical Center’s new Family Medicine Residency Center will be completely furnished and equipped when it officially opens later this month.
Members of the Auxiliary of North Mississippi Medical Center presented residency program officials with a check for $125,000 Tuesday morning with the promise of $25,000 more to come by late spring. The money has been used to purchase office furniture and examination, lab and X-ray equipment for the newly completed, 10,000-square-foot facility on South Green Street.
The residency center will be the headquarters and clinic for the hospital’s new Family Medicine Residency Program that will train new doctors. The program is the only one of its kind in the state outside of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson with which the Tupelo program will be affiliated.
Nancy Fruge, president of the NMMC auxiliary, said group members debated how to spend the proceeds from about two years of profits at the two gift shops the organization runs at the hospital.
“We presented about a dozen ideas of what to put the money towards but decided on this,” Fruge said. “Our group selected this project because of the long-range impact it will have on our community and those in outlying areas.”
The purpose of the program will be to train young residents in family practice in the hope that many will choose to stay in the area when their training is complete.
Fruge said the auxiliary is made up of about 80 volunteers who donate about 12,000 man-hours each year providing a variety of services for the hospital, ranging from staffing the gift shops to working in the intensive care waiting area, the reception area and in the emergency room.
In the past, the auxiliary has donated the proceeds from its gift shop profits to build the Cora Fields Auditorium at the hospital, purchase TVs for the hospital’s closed-circuit system and pediatric monitoring equipment for the Women’s Center.
“We needed this very badly,” said Dr. J. Edward Hill, director of the residency program. “With an office like this I think we can attract some doctors.”
An open house is planned for the residency center Sunday and its first resident physician is due to arrive Monday. The center won’t actually move from its current location on Garfield Street to the new facility until Jan. 15.
“The second resident will be here the first week of July,” Hill said. “We hope to recruit well in March and eventually have six at a time.”
The new facility is built to handle 12 residents and five faculty members and staff.