Family Health Center in Logan Heights
The Family Health Center in Logan Heights. Courtesy FHCSD

Family Health Centers of San Diego announced Monday that it has become the third local psychiatry residency program to receive accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

UC San Diego and Naval Medical Center San Diego also have the same accreditation, officials said.

Jeff Gering, a senior vice president at FHCSD, said the recognition makes the program a “significant contributor in San Diego County to training our future physicians.”

“FHCSD is well-positioned to address the acute shortage of mental health providers in our community, as well as to be part of solving a national mental health worker shortage that is contributing to our national mental health crisis,” Gering added.

Family Health Centers first hosted UCSD’s Child Psychiatry Fellows in July 2019, and became a primary rotation site within a year. In 2020, FHCSD hosted an adult psychiatry continuity clinic at its Hillcrest site.

Dr. Chris Gordon, Family Health Centers chief medical officer, said the accreditation “is critical in our ability to produce the workforce we need to serve San Diegans facing mental health challenges, especially those who are living in poverty and don’t have means to access health care other than through community clinics.”

Now in its fifth decade, the federally qualified Family Health Centers operates 72 sites across San Diego County. According to officials, Family Health Centers serves around 250,000 patients every year, with 91% being low-income and 29% uninsured.

“Access to mental health services for people with great health care and financial stability can even prove challenging,” Gordon said. “Imagine trying to get help if you’re homeless, uninsured or financially unstable while also experiencing a mental health crisis.”

“It’s our moral obligation to prioritize providing quality health care services to these individuals, and this program will serve as a model for others who can join us in addressing the national mental health crisis and workforce shortage,” Gordon added.

In September, Family Health Centers will begin accepting applications for a psychiatry residency program. More information is available at www.fhcsd.org/education/gme/residency-programs/psychiatry.

City News Service contributed to this article.