HistoryThe medical education program was established in Montgomery in 1969 when a committee was appointed by the Montgomery County Medical Society and was charged with the mission of developing an undergraduate and graduate medical education program for the benefit of the practicing physicians and for the training of general internists. The committee, with the help of the late Dr. Tinsley R. Harrison, first developed an elective in medicine for junior and senior medical students of the University of Alabama in Birmingham. The institution established was the Montgomery Regional Medical Foundation, representing the Montgomery hospitals, their medical staffs and the Montgomery County Medical Society. The teaching faculty consisted of practicing community physician volunteers, and the participating teaching hospitals were St. Margaret's and Baptist Medical Center. Clinical affiliation with UAB was established.
Several junior and senior medical students were enrolled early in 1969. In July of that year, two graduate medical students arrived from UAB for a one-year rotating internship in medicine. Soon thereafter, a small grant was obtained from the Alabama Regional Medical Program. The program continued to train a small number of junior and senior medical students as well as interns on electives from UAB until late in 1974 when a three-year residency in medicine was organized and accredited. The funding for this largely voluntary program consisted of a small grant from the Alabama Regional Medical Program, small contributions from the area hospitals, and the Montgomery County Medical Society. In 1976, UAB added the designation of "Associate Dean for Montgomery Affairs" to the office of the Program Director. During the 1978 session of the Alabama State Legislature, a line item appropriation was requested and given to the UAB School of Medicine to help fund and support the Montgomery Internal Medicine Residency Program.
From the above modest beginning, a medical education program evolved:  a three year accredited residency program in medicine;  clinical electives in medicine;  a pre-med program; and  an extensive CME program for physicians and allied health personnel. The latter has organized and approved numerous conferences, seminars, and courses in Montgomery on a regular basis. The voluntary faculty of the residency program gradually grew to approximately 60 board-certified internist physicians practicing in the community.
The participating hospitals, which never before had any type of training program or resident staff, were very supportive. For the first time there were physicians in the hospitals on a 24-hour basis, and emergent care became much more adequate. Patients who formerly utilized the Emergency Department for all of their medical problems now utilize the Ambulatory Care Clinic—where they are assigned to a resident for a period of three years, and may call their resident (or the resident on call after hours) whenever the occasion arises. For the first time, many of these patients had a personal physician, and received continuity of care both at the clinic and when hospitalized. Thus in Montgomery, where there is no city/county facility, and where the emergency room rotates between two hospitals, the UAB General Medicine Service and Ambulatory Care Clinic resulted in continuous, comprehensive, and preventative care to a large segment of the population. The residency program has also resulted in stimulation of postgraduate medical education, improvement in nursing and technician care, and the expansion of available diagnostic and therapeutic modalities in the community hospitals.
On May 1, 1995, Baptist Medical Center South became the major participating hospital, providing the majority of support for the program. The Montgomery Internal Medicine Residency is the only accredited residency program in internal medicine outside of the two major population areas of Birmingham and Mobile. It is designed to train general internists with approximately 50 percent of the graduates becoming primary care internists to augment the primary care physicians in the state and community, rural or urban.