This story was made possible by support from Parkview Health.
If you ask Kevin Pei, M.D., Parkview Health is on the cusp of the “most important, transformative change for healthcare delivery” in Northeast Indiana for the next 50 years.
Pei is the Director of Parkview’s new General Surgery residency —one of two residencies launching as part of Parkview’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) program
in Northeast Indiana in July 2022.
Kevin Pei, M.D.
Both concentrations, General Surgery and Internal Medicine, will be the first residency programs in their specialties to teach and train new physicians in the Fort Wayne area. These programs are poised to attract young physicians to the region, increasing local access to healthcare and quality of care along with boosting the regional economy.
Data from the Indiana Graduate Medical Education Board shows that bringing new doctors to Indiana is more important now than ever. According to their projections, Indiana will need an additional 817 primary care physicians by 2030 to keep up with the state’s healthcare needs. New data
published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) shows doctor shortages were already on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic began, largely due to an aging population and population growth, in general.
Parkview and its current doctors hope the creation of their new GME programs will help fulfill the increasing need for more high-quality physicians in Northeast Indiana, while also ensuring a positive and healthy place to work.
Along with Pei's concentration in General Surgery, Scott Yen, M.D., will oversee the program’s Internal Medicine concentration.
“One thing that is really important, is work-life balance,” says Yen. “We really want to promote wellness within the hard work that you do, and that’s part of the curriculum that is new and exciting.”
“This is huge,” Pei says. “I’m excited that we’re going to be able to elevate the landscape of medicine in Fort Wayne.”
How is Parkview’s new GME program poised to help fill talent gaps in local healthcare?
Data also shows that nearly 70 percent of doctors end up practicing near the location of their residency programs. This means cities with GME programs often have an influx of innovative, up-and-coming talent.
Parkview’s three-year Internal Medicine program will be open to 15 residents per year, and its five-year General Surgery program will accept four residents each year.
A rendering of Parkview Randallia's GME Research Center.
Not only will keeping GME graduates in the local area help to fill the physician pipeline, but also, it could have a significant impact on the region’s economy. According to the Indiana Graduate Medical Education Board, on average, every resident physician generates $1.5 million in economic impact each year they remain in a community to practice medicine. Additionally, each physician’s practice within the community creates six to seven more jobs, on average.
The addition of the GME programs is not only about quantity. It’s also about quality. Both Pei and Yen believe these programs will benefit Northeast Indiana patients in the quality of the care they receive.
“You’re getting medical students from all over the country, and in fact, all over the world who bring some different ideas,” Yen says. “It forces you to think through problems and innovate and implement solutions in caring for patients.”
Scott Yen, M.D.
“By virtue of being training programs in a teaching tertiary center, we have to be evidence-based on top of what is new and the best and latest,” Pei says.
As such, he believes teaching institutions provide the highest levels of care across the U.S.
“Parkview’s reputation is already on a very solid foundation of excellent clinical care, but now that we’ve become a teaching institution, it really just takes us to the next level,” Pei says.
The new GME programs will be housed at Parkview Hospital Randallia in Fort Wayne, which is getting a facelift to make way for the new students. It will include a 23,000 sq. ft. clinic, consisting of workstations for the residents and staff, 26 exam rooms, plus additional procedure rooms.
A rendering of Parkview Randallia's GME Lobby.
The hospital is also remodeling more than 18,000 sq. ft. of space specifically for the residents. It will include call rooms, a lounge, and a work/library/research space. The lecture hall/didactic space is large enough to accommodate 60 or more residents at the same time, but can be broken up into smaller classrooms. There is also space for the program directors and administrative staff. Additionally, residents will rotate around various Parkview locations to receive specialized training.
A rendering of Parkview Randallia's GME Care Team space.
Parkview will begin reviewing applications for its GME programs at the end of September. Although orientation for new residents is not scheduled to start until July 2022, the impact of these programs can already be felt and seen with the addition of two new doctors who lead them. Pei and Yen both boast impressive resumes.
After finishing his residency at George Washington University, Pei went on to earn his masters in Education from Yale University. Since then, he has held multiple GME leadership roles, while also serving on a variety of medical boards and councils. Most recently, he served as Program Director of the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship and Program Director of the American College of Surgeons Accredited Fellowship in Education and Simulation at Houston Methodist–Weill Cornell Medicine.
Yen holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Chicago. After that, he remained in the Chicago area for nearly 25 years as the Program Director of Internal Medicine at West Suburban Medical Center.
It’s this level of experience and expertise from both doctors that Parkview leadership hopes will attract other aspiring doctors to come and learn from them here in Fort Wayne. Yen and Pei have both been living and working in the Fort Wayne area for less than a year, yet they are quick to understand the appeal of their new location.
“I ended up really liking that burgeoning, urban-suburban growth of Fort Wayne, yet still being sort of small-town,” says Yen, who moved to Fort Wayne from Chicago.
A drone shot of downtown Fort Wayne at golden hour.
Pei came to Fort Wayne from Houston. While he says the winters weren’t a big draw for him at first, the people he’s met here so far have made the move worthwhile.
“People are nice here; patients are so incredibly grateful,” Pei says. “If you want, as a clinician, a reason to come to Fort Wayne, I think it goes a long way to say that we have an incredibly grateful patient population.”
Ultimately, Pei and Yen also point to the reputation of Parkview and its leadership as the main factor in their decision to move to Northeast Indiana.
“I quickly recognized that leadership here trusts our vision,” says Pei. “Our leaders here say, ‘We recruited Dr. Yen, and we recruited Dr. Pei because they have expertise.’ So what Parkview does—and I think we are going to be very much in line with that strategy—is recruit who they envision to be the best, and then, they let those people do their thing.”
Pei believes this approach, along with the resources at Parkview, will help attract other innovative doctors from around the world to Fort Wayne who are looking to make a difference.
Parkview has already been attracting and recruiting new talent from outside the Fort Wayne area. Of the 1,800 co-workers Parkview has hired since January 1, 2021, more than 300 are new to Fort Wayne, and more than 200 relocated from outside of Indiana entirely.
As the GME program begins and grows, these talent attraction trends are likely to continue.
“I think that we get the best of both worlds in Fort Wayne,” Pei says. “We have this huge, tertiary center, but it still feels very much like a small-town, big-family type of feeling,”
For more information on Parkview’s GME program, visit parkview.com/GME