RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -

This week a new era began for Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage. 

It became the Coachella Valley's first teaching hospital as it launched its residency program.

On Friday, the doctors in training got to know the staff at Eisenhower as they dished out ice cream at an ice cream social held in the hospital's cafeteria.    

Twenty-two medical school graduates make up the hospital's first class of residents.  They'll be learning the ins-and-outs of either family or internal medicine.  It's an exciting time for these young doctors.

"Now that things we're going to do actually matter," said Dr. Ben Kelley, an internal medicine resident.  "You know we're actually going to administer the medications to our patients, they're going to look at us and call us doctors."

The hospital hopes the majority of the residents that go through its internal and family medicine programs decide to stay and practice medicine in the Coachella Valley.  There's a shortage of more than 100 primary care physicians in the valley, according to a Reuters survey that looked at physician/population ratios.