When St. Mark's Family Medicine Residency was on the verge of losing its institutional sponsor, family practitioner Scott Young, M.D., came to the rescue. He is the force behind St. Mark's Health Care Foundation in Midvale, Utah, a not-for-profit organization created in 1998 to support the innovative residency program, which trains 15% of all family physician graduates in Utah.
But Young, 41, executive vice president of the foundation, did not stop with the residency program. The foundation serves as an umbrella for several other initiatives--a mental health resource and referral center, a free clinic, an interactive health education center, and healthcare policy research--all dedicated to the health and wellness of communities in the state, with an eye on underserved populations.
Young pulled together a board of directors who represent a cross-section of community interests. With their support and his networking abilities, he raised the necessary capital for the residency program and his other projects. Under his tutelage, the foundation's budget will jump from $1.6 million in fiscal year 1999 to more than $5 million in 2001. It is primarily supported by federal grants, with other funding coming from the state, not-for-profit foundations, the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, private companies and individuals.
St. Mark's Family Medicine Residency is completely community-focused with no ties to any medical center. Emphasizing outpatient care, it ensures that participants work in clinics daily rather than train solely in a hospital. The dynamic curriculum, Young says, allows residents to decide what they want to learn. "Most residencies are a 180-degree turn from what's happening in this country today," Young says.
Each year the program invites four students from around the country whose test scores are in the 90th percentile. All of this year's graduates elected to practice in Utah, three of them staying at the foundation. Their activities are varied--establishing a clinical practice, staffing a new satellite clinic, serving as a medical director for an outreach program and heading a medical informatics department. "Those who remain at St. Mark's and in Utah can provide a meaningful provider workforce and serve the community into the future," Young says.
The residency has been so popular that while more than 200 other family practice residencies around the country were unable to fill their positions, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, St. Mark's went down only to No. 5 on its match list.
Young says his biggest contribution has been helping talented men and women give their best. He describes himself as an "out-in-front" kind of leader who demands excellence, but "I would never ask anyone to do something I wouldn't do," he says.
"Scott has assisted graduates in establishing practices in underserved communities and developing programs to serve those populations," says JoAnn Seghini, mayor of Midvale who serves on the board. "He has a true vision of community medicine."
Health policy is another one of Young's personal passions. "I love crafting policies to help Americans achieve healthcare promises and guiding where healthcare dollars should go," he says. "The United States spends more on healthcare than anyone else, but we don't deliver value."
He served on Utah's Telemedicine Technical Advisory Group and helped facilitate the passage of the Utah Telehealth Commission Act, which established a commission to develop standardized guidelines, allowing entrepreneurs and organizations to construct telehealth and medical informatics systems in the state.
When the Episcopal Diocese of Utah approached the foundation to establish a health clinic in a not-for-profit center it owned in downtown Salt Lake City, Young and community leaders assessed the situation and determined that a mental health resource and referral center was needed instead. The Community Health Connection was born, funded by a three-year grant from the diocese.
As many as 50 people use the center monthly for in-house counseling services or referrals to public agencies for assistance. The center addresses societal problems in disenfranchised communities by looking at the needs of entire families, what Young calls a "first of its kind in the country. Our services fill the holes in the fragmented healthcare safety net," he says.
His interest in telehealth propelled him to develop a 19,000-square foot Interactive Health Education Center to be completed by summer 2001. It will feature a 175-seat auditorium and state-of-the art telemedicine and teleconferencing capabilities, providing free education classes for children and adults, professional medical education, interactive lectures and long-distance, real-time consultations. "My hope is to cure the digital divide among providers who are hesitant to use the Web," he says.
John Robinson, M.D., foundation president, credits Young with making the organization an innovative leader. "He brings a lot of creativity to the picture and wears a lot of hats as physician, executive, administrator and physician educator," Robinson says.