Hackensack Meridian Ocean University Medical Center (Ocean) is a 344-bed teaching hospital providing acute care to the community for decades. On October 1, 2021, Ocean Medical Center became Ocean University Medical Center, representing its evolution to a university teaching hospital through its medical education programs. Serving southern Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Ocean is a not-for-profit full-service medical center dedicated to providing families with quality, patient-centered care.  

In its commitment to staying ahead of the trends in health care, Hackensack Meridian Health explored ways of attracting new physicians to avoid the nationwide physician shortage. In response to this crisis, the network established Ocean as the regional hub for resident training. In July of 2018, Ocean began its Graduate Medical Education (GME) program with the support of the Grunin Foundation, who believed that supporting the residency program and attracting the next generation of health care providers to our community is important for not only enhancing care, but growing the local economy.  

Ocean’s GME program provides comprehensive, first-rate training, combined with a very attractive region in which to establish a future and provide fertile ground for retention of these bright, competent upcoming physicians. The program started with two residency programs (Family Medicine and Psychiatry) and a total of 14 residents (eight in Family Medicine and six in Psychiatry). In the subsequent four years, the program has grown to 120 residents and fellows in five residencies (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, Transitional Year and Pharmacy) and two fellowships (Forensic Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine).  

The GME program has had a significant impact on the hospital overall, as well as the medical staff, many of whom are formally involved in the GME program. There is a tremendous sense of pride in the program and an enthusiasm within the medical staff to teach. This is passed to the community through quality, innovative and equitable healthcare. The GME program is creating a culture of wellness and economic excellence throughout the central Jersey Shore. It’s also attracting, recruiting and amplifying a diverse group of residents and leaders for the community. Diversity in the physician workforce will positively impact healthcare access and patient outcomes in our community and beyond.  

The Residency Programs 

Family Medical Residency 

Family Medical Residents are positioned at three different family practices. Residents have the opportunity to be involved in a Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, a Medicare demonstration project focusing on providing primary care in a comprehensive and cost-effective manner. They are also gaining experience in outpatient, dermatological and women’s health procedures as well as osteopathic manipulation medicine. The family practices offer different approaches to family medicine, enabling residents to tailor their education to their individual desires. As they progress through their residency, they assume more responsibility for patient care and learn to practice the full scope of family medicine. 

Internal Medicine Residency 

The Internal Medicine Residency offers residents a diverse range of clinical experiences. Internal Medicine Residents divide their time among general internal medicine and subspecialty services, intensive care units, ambulatory care and consultation services, rotating throughout Ocean, as well as clinics and other ambulatory sites. Residents have clinical coaches and other resources to help them get the individual training experience needed to attain their personal career goals. 

PGY1 Pharmacy Residency 

Pharmacy Residents are exposed to diverse patient care settings where they can pursue their interests and goals while gaining a broad hospital pharmacy experience in a community teaching setting. Residents learn from Ocean’s team of dedicated pharmacists and are paired with a mentor who provides guidance throughout the program.  

Pharmacy residents receive Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certifications. Upon completion of the program, the resident is able to provide pharmaceutical care and drug therapy management to a diverse patient population with a wide range of disease states and will be eligible for board certification or PGY2 practice training. They also complete the Teaching and Learning Certificate program, providing them with the opportunity to teach future pharmacy students. 

Psychiatric Residency Program 

The Department of Psychiatry at Ocean offers a fully accredited four-year Residency Training Program in General (Adult) Psychiatry along with a planned two-year Residency Training Program in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and a planned one-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine. There are clinical rotations at several primary clinical sites. 

Residents’ levels of responsibility in caring for patients are progressively increased under the supervision of faculty. Each clinical rotation in the General Psychiatry Residency Training program at Ocean has specific educational objectives in the areas of knowledge, skills and attitudes, and is designed to provide a balanced mixture of clinical service, didactics and supervision, which enable residents to attain those educational objectives. 

Transitional Year Residency 

This program is designed to prepare residents for specialty residency training and strives to provide individualized medical education, clinical skills, exposure to specialized areas of medicine and the attributes necessary to be an exceptional physician. Visit Ocean’s Transitional Year Residency webpage to learn more about the elective options and benefits. 

Phase 3 Program 

Hackensack Meridian Health has a unique opportunity through Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine for students to transition into residency programs. All students selecting the Phase 3 option of direct entrance into residency will enter into a residency program within the Hackensack Meridian Health network, including Ocean. This is an individualized program with goals and objectives that are unique to each student, to maximize the student’s capacity and success in carrying out the mission of the School of Medicine. It allows for personal growth, emphasizing each student’s professional and developmental needs.  

The Future 

To learn more about the Ocean University Medical Center’s GME program and stay current with updates, visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org/en/Healthcare-Professionals/OUMC. To learn more about Hackensack Meridian Ocean University Medical Center Foundation, visit HackensackMeridianHealth.org/Donate.