VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Thursday, Good Samaritan Hospital welcomed in 26 resident physicians during a special ceremony.

This marks the start of the hospital’s first internal medicine residency program.

According to doctors with Good Samaritan Hospital, 60 percent of people in the southwest region of Indiana do not have a physician.

“The surest way to get physicians into these community’s is to have training programs where they take care of patients in the community, they learn the community, and on average 70 percent of them will stay,” said Dr. Robert Ficalora, internal medicine residency program director at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Thursday, Good Samaritan welcomed-in 26 physicians with a white coat ceremony, marking the transition from medical school to practice.

The ceremony also marks the start of the first internal medicine residency program at the hospital.

“We’re here as basically pioneers, we’re leading the way here in internal medicine residency that’s started up here by Good Samaritan and St. Vincent,” said Dr. Adrian Lugo, internal medicine physician.

For the next three years, the residents will learn all of the in’s and outs of internal medicine.

“They’ll work in the emergency room, they’ll work in the ICU, they’ll work with pulmonary doctors, and cardiologists and the whole breadth of internal medicines specialties,” Ficalora said.

Lugo says he believes entering the residency, especially during a global pandemic, will be important for Vincennes and the southwest Indiana area.

“Coming in at a time of crisis like this I think it’s huge because it’s going to bring in the physicians that this community needs and community’s surrounding it. So I think what we’re doing here is a great thing,” Lugo said.

Ficalora says that the residents will spend half of their time at Good Samaritan Hospital and they will also serve St. Vincent Hospital in Evansville.