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Orthopedic program accredited

An orthopedic residency program at Tampa General Hospital has received a much sought-after accreditation, paving the way for medical school students to begin training July 1. Dr. Arthur Walling, program director of the Tampa Orthopedic Program, said he was notified Monday that the program was approved by the Residency Review Committee, the national certification group that accredits medical schools.

The program is accredited for two years to train 16 orthopedic residents. Residents are physicians who have recently graduated from medical school.

Newell France, president of Tampa General, said hospital officials worked hard for the approval. "We couldn't be more pleased," he said.

The Tampa Orthopedic Program was proposed by Tampa General after the University of South Florida (USF) in May 1990 closed its residency training program after 13 orthopedists left and formed the independent Florida Orthopedic Institute (FOI). The USF program had been one of the university's most prestigious, but was racked by division and infighting.

Plans for a free-standing orthopedic residency program at the hospital had been stymied recently by differences between Tampa General and USF over what role the university would play.

But the Hillsborough County Hospital Authority, which governs Tampa General, agreed in March to give USF representation on the seven-member committee that supervises the residency program.

The hospital's board voted to contract with FOI physicians as the chief faculty members for the new program. Authority board members agreed to provide $3-million for faculty salaries and administrative support.

Orthopedic residents, who fix bones, traditionally have provided much of the staffing at the Tampa General Level I Trauma Unit, the only 24-hour, advanced-care unit in west central Florida.

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