The proposed Midtown-Rondout Business Improvement District, or BID, (see last weeks blog posting) would complement two of the prime anchors on Broadway: UPAC, which could serve as the hub for an emerging arts and theater district, and Kingston Hospital, which has spawned a medical arts corridor. The Business Alliance of Kingston is reaching out to these nonprofits for support for the BID. For example, it’s currently in discussions with Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley, which runs Kingston Hospital. “We look forward to collaborating in the revitalization of Midtown Kingston,” said John Finch, HAHV’s chief information officer.
As everyone knows, the hospital is a major employer in Kingston. However, what isn’t widely known is that is also is actively bringing in a steady stream of new physicians to the city, thanks to its innovative Institute for Family Health residency program. Launched in 1979, the institute was started with the goal of ensuring the community would have a supply of qualified young physicians to replace the physicians who are retiring.
Participants in the federally funded program, fresh out of med school, spend a three-year residency at Kingston Hospital. Six residents have been in attendance in any one year, but this summer the program will be expanded to ten per year. Half of the residents end up settling in the area.
One is Dr. Walter Woodley, who arrived as a resident 27 years ago, fresh out of med school at the University of the West Indies, in Kingston, Jamaica. Now the regional medical director of the Hudson Valley—there is a second residency through the Institute based in New York City—he said that many of the residents choose to rent houses in the city, since they are “in early, out late. Living in Woodstock is a hassle if you’re on call.”
Woodley said there are currently a total of 22 residents in the three-year program, all of whom eat most of their meals and shop in the city. Many stay and eventually buy a house in the area. Woodley himself purchased a home in the Town of Ulster and chose to raise his kids here. “I’ve been involved in the town and in the schools,” he said, noting his children all attended Kingston High School. “In terms of the development of Broadway it would be really great to see a revitalization of the city. The area has been a great place to raise a family. It’s everything we could have hoped for.” —Lynn Woods