24th National Conference: California's Statewide AHEC Strategies for Organizing Health Professions Training in Community Health Centers

Virginia Fowkes, FNP, MHS; Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
Virginia Fowkes, FNP, MHS; Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

On Wednesday, April 10, 2013, a plenary session will be held in which three health professionals, each associated with a California medical school, will discuss  strategies for developing community-based training in CHCs to support new demands from the PPACA legislation.

Leading the panel will be Virginia Fowkes, FNP, MHS of Stanford University’s Center for Education in Family and Community Medicine.

Ms Fowkes has been the lead evaluator for initiatives of the  California Statewide AHEC and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development that promote local and regional efforts to train physicians and other health professionals in Federally Qualified Health Centers.

Colin Kopes-Kerr, MD; Touro University, Vallejo, California
Colin Kopes-Kerr, MD; Touro University, Vallejo, California

She will be joined by Doctor Colin Kopes-Kerr, who recently was director of the Sutter Family Medicine Residency Program in Santa Rosa, whose ambulatory training is based in a community health center setting.

Also participating will be Doctor Jennifer Wu, who is a graduate of the University of California San Francisco [UCSF] Fresno family medicine program based in Selma.

Dr Kopes-Kerr is currently a member of the faculty of the Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo and Dr Wu of the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

He has advocated that esidency education and primary care service delivery should routinely explore such local on-the-ground health care partnerships.

Jennifer Wu, MD; University of California, San Diego
Jennifer Wu, MD; University of California, San Diego

As an example, while in Santa Rosa Dr. Kopes-Kerr organized a Residency-Community Health Care Worker alliance. In exchange for some formal teaching time (an hour a week), a class of Community Health Workers at the local junior college agreed to perform follow-up visits for the residents in patients’ homes under his supervision.

Background of the California Physician Training Networks

In the early 1970s, a combination of governmental and non-profit sectors, encouraged the creation of networks of training programs and health care entities providing care in medically underserved communities. These networks have become the focus of the training of primary care physicians and other health professionals in community health center settings.

The HRSA sponsored California Statewide Area Health Education Center program helped establish institutional ties between UCSF and the San Joaquin Valley as well as with other medical schools and community AHECs to train medical students, residents, and other health professionals in underserved communities. The AHEC helped establish certain family medicine residencies and  most recently a THC in Fresno.