Starting this summer, Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals will become teaching hospitals.

The hospitals and their parent company, Eastern Connecticut Health Network, are affiliated with the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. Beginning in August, third-year medical students will begin training at the hospitals, which will also provide training to fourth-year medical students and could develop a residency program in the future, said Dr. Patricio Bruno, director of medical education. Community physicians affiliated with Eastern Connecticut Health Network could also host students in their offices, Bruno said.

Bruno said the affiliation could improve the quality of patient care and invigorate the medical staff, as well as helping recruit doctors with an interest in teaching. “When you have medical students and residents, you really have to stay cutting edge, have to say on the ball,” he said.

In addition, Bruno said, the program could increase the number of primary care doctors in the region, addressing a shortage. More than 60 percent of the medical school’s graduates go into primary care fields, according to the university. The school has clinical training sites for students in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

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