The National Project on the Community Benefits of Family Medicine Residency Programs

The National Project on the Community Benefits of Family Medicine Residency Programs is a multi-institutional collaborative research project administered by the Coastal Research Group.

The National Project is the first major study of family medicine residency programs, entities for providing health care services in which board-certified family physicians are trained.  The oldest family medicine residency programs were accredited in 1969.

A breakout group at the Third National Workshop, from left to right, Samuel M. Jones, MD, Virginia Commonwealth University, Fairfax; Charles Henley, DO, University of Oklahoma Tulsa; John Zweifler, MD, University of California San Francisco Family Medicine, Fresno; Joshua Freeman, MD, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City; and Mario F. Pacheco, MD, Northern New Mexico Rural FP Residency Track, St Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe.
A breakout group at the Third National Workshop, from left to right, Samuel M. Jones, MD, Virginia Commonwealth University, Fairfax; Charles Henley, DO, University of Oklahoma Tulsa; John Zweifler, MD, University of California San Francisco Family Medicine, Fresno; Joshua Freeman, MD, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City; and Mario F. Pacheco, MD, Northern New Mexico Rural FP Residency Track, St Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe.

In November, 2007, the second phase of the National Project was completed.  As of that date 85 family medicine residency programs had been site-visited to conduct an extensive questionnaire on the medical, behavioral and social services each residency program provides. Also studied were the activities that each residency program conducted in their communities, and in their host hospitals or other sponsoring entities.  A compilation and analysis of the questionnaire responses is currently in progress.

As soon as this analysis is completed, the third phase of the National Project will begin, which will incorporate “regional community impact reports”.  Prior to the first stage of this phase of the project, narratives describing the regional impact of each of the 30 family medicine residency programs in Pennsylvania, all of which participated in the National Project, were prepared, based on each residency program’s responses to the National Project questionnaire.

Three regional community impact reports – one for the 5 counties incorporating and surrounding Philadelphia, one for the 12 counties incorporating Greater Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania, and one for the remaining counties of Central and Rural Pennsylvania – are planned.  These reports will be developed in conjunction with the individual Pennsylvania residency programs and participating medical school departments of family medicine.

The National Project is comprised of several activities described here and elsewhere in this website’s News section: these include the designation of “profiled residency programs”, sentinel teaching programs that comprise the initial stages of the National study.

Participating profiled residency programs are institutional members of the Coastal Research Group and are designated as the National Consortium on Community-Based Medical Education.  Activities of the National Consortium occur at the National Conferences on Primary Health Care Access and the National Workshops on the Community Benefits of Family Medicine Residency Programs, and also  include the Survey Site Visits.

The first phase of the research project was: (1) to develop a draft taxonomy of Community Benefits of Family Medicine Residency Programs, (2) to study through the on-site surveys of the profiled residency programs what kinds of services they perform for their respective communities, and (3) to create a site visit instrument from the surveys of the profiled residency programs that will be applied to other programs participating in the study.  As part of Phase I on the study, between July 2003 and March 2005, 41 family medicine residency programs were site visited and the survey instrument administered. The findings of these site visits were analyzed with the assistance of the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences.

Concurrently with this first phase a series of focused long-term studies, derived from the Survey Site Visits, commenced.  Two of these studies are (1) the range of services provided in family medicine centers, and (2) the relationship between community services of family medicine centers and enunciated national public health goals.  Both studies were discussed at the Seventeenth National Conference on Primary Health Care Access April 7-10, 2006 in Koloa, Kaua’i, Hawai’i; and were a prominent activity of the Sixth National Workshop on the Community Benefits of Family Medicine Residency Programs, held September 10 and 11, 2006 at the Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh (PA) International Airport.