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New psychiatry residency program in Orangeburg County

There will be ten residents from area colleges participating in the first year of the program.

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. — The Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse just broke ground on a new psychiatry residency program. 

The program looks to fulfill a need for psychiatrists in the Orangeburg, Calhoun and Bamberg counties.

The commission's 6,800 square foot expansion will house its new psychiatry program and other services.

“It’ll completely change what health care looks like in this area and then also statewide," said deputy director Dee Robinson.

Robinson says the program will serve the entire state and is one of seven to receive accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

“We’ve had a shortage for a really long time. There’s really no private psychiatrists available any longer. Several have retired and are no longer practicing in the community," said Robinson.

She says this has put additional strain on resources at the Orangeburg Area Mental Health Center. There will be 10 residents participating in the first year of the program. They will partner with area colleges like SC State University and Claflin University to train residents who will rotate through agencies like MUSC Orangeburg, Hope Health, the Orangeburg Area Mental Health Center, and the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.

“Really the sky’s the limit as far as where the residents can reach so the tri county commission will be the mothership but it’s an outpatient program so really they can rotate through various programs that are struggling to have medical staff," said Robinson.

The total budget for the program is $3.5 million. They were awarded $2.4 million from the State Department of Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Service.

The new facility is expected to be complete within nine months. The first cohort of residents will be ready to serve by July.

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