Chicago, Ill. (April 21, 2021) – At St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton, Calif. a strategy to train young physicians is also achieving success in attracting them to practice in the San Joaquin region. The same program is being credited with a significant increase in performance by the hospital’s philanthropy office.
In fiscal year 2020, St. Joseph’s Foundation of San Joaquin increased their fundraising by more than 47 percent, while decreasing their fundraising expenses by 7 percent. Additionally, the foundation increased donor dollars transferred to the medical center by 64 percent and improved their cost-to-raise-a-dollar by 27 percent. In recognition of their extraordinary results, the foundation was recognized with the Quality Improvement Award at CommonSpirit Health®’s Philanthropy Education Summit 2021.
Foundation leadership says a key to their success was the St. Joseph's Physician Graduate Medical Education (GME) Program, launched in 2018. The program provides residency education to medical school graduates. The San Joaquin region is facing a critical physician shortage and the GME program is already attracting top-quality young doctors who have connections to the communities served by St. Joseph. Research has shown that doctors who have an opportunity to gain employment where they did their residency often will and this program will significantly help attract additional physicians from outside this region to train and practice in the San Joaquin Valley.
“Our foundation was involved in the medical education program from the earliest planning phase, “says Julie Eckardt-Cantrall, Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer for St. Joseph’s Foundation of San Joaquin. “The process provided a unique opportunity to infuse a culture of philanthropy and an appreciation for how the foundation can contribute. We benefit significantly from our close alignment with the medical center leadership and this project allowed that relationship to be showcased in a unique way.”
Today, the GME program has 120 residents in five different medical specialties and will graduate its first class in 2021. The transformation of the medical center into a formidable teaching hospital has provided significant opportunities for philanthropic involvement and investment. Funding by the foundation has come in the form of significant grants and individual philanthropic gifts, much of which is transferred quickly to the medical center for ongoing programmatic funding. Additional support is being solicited for an expanded simulation laboratory for St. Joseph’s education center.
Development of the GME program coincided with changes to staffing including a realignment of roles and responsibilities and a shared resources model with neighboring Mart Twain Medical Center Foundation. The result was a decrease in overall staff but an increase in overall efficiency and performance that was also critical to the results both foundations have been able to achieve.