BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Leaders at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington are getting assistance in their goal of bringing more physicians to the community.

That’s thanks to funding secured by Congressman Darin LaHood (R-Ill.).

LaHood traveled to OSF’s campus in Bloomington Monday to talk with leaders about OSF St. Joseph’s Family Practice Residency Program.

OSF St. Joseph’s President Lynn Fulton said the $700,000 Congressman LaHood secured, through Community Project Funding, will allow them to build educational space needed for residents.

Congressman LaHood said the residency program will not only help bring physicians to the Bloomington-Normal area during a national shortage, but will also positively impact the local economy.

“We know, when you keep doctors here locally, they raise their families here, they spend money, they go to school, they’re engaged in the community. What better way to add to our community than adding doctors to the Bloomington-Normal area,” LaHood said.

Fulton said the residency program will welcome 6 residents per year, for a three-year residency. They’ll eventually have up to 18 in the Bloomington-Normal area at a time.

They will begin welcoming residents next July.