A core requirement for the training of family physicians is maintaining a panel of patients in a group ambulatory care practice — the family medicine center. Each such center meets criteria established by the family medicine residency accreditation committee. Virtually all family medicine centers are major providers of care in the communities in which they are located.
Prior to the National Project on the Community Benefits of Family Medicine Residency Programs, there had never been a systematic study of family medicine centers, nor how they impact the teaching hospitals with which they are associated, or the communities in which they are located. The first phase of the National Project incorporated 41 on-site surveys of family medicine residency programs throughout the United States. (The participants in this study’s Phase I are listed at http://www.coastalresearch.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=23&Itemid=2.)
Among the outcomes of Phase I was agreement that family medicine residency programs should be studied as “systems of care”, systematically describing the “range of services” provided by family medicine centers. The Coastal Research Group’s Policy Analysis Committee, which is overseeing the National Project has devised a series of e-mail questionnaires for the 2005 profiled residency programs in the National Project. The first of several planned e-mail questionnaires was administered in the Summer of 2005.