Family Medicine Scholars Program
Family Medicine Scholars is a group of BUSM students who share common interests in Family Medicine, academic research, community development and leadership.
Our mission is to create an academic home where students have the opportunity to share new ideas about personal and professional development. We achieve this mission through academic and clinical activities which focus on competencies in 4 domains: scholarly activity, leadership, continuity of clinical care and mentorship. In doing so, we aim to graduate doctors who are well-rounded clinicians, leaders among the field of Family Medicine and strong community advocates who approach challenges in an effective and creative manner.
The 4 Domains:
Scholars will demonstrate competency in each of the following four domains:
1) Scholarly Project
Every Scholar in the program is expected to take ownership of a community-based or research project of his/her choosing. The Scholar will work with a research preceptor, commonly (but not necessarily) within the Family Medicine Department. By graduation, the Scholar will have achieved a substantial end-product, such as a presentation at a conference or publication in a scholarly journal. Participation within this domain will allow the Scholars to develop self-driven, organized, experience-based understanding of family medicine research and scholarship.
The program nurtures leadership development within student classes, communities, and throughout the institution. Leadership activities include organizing interest groups, curriculum development or other community service activities. More broadly, Scholars quietly exemplify and build upon their roles as leaders via involvement with students and faculty within the Family Medicine Department and across all disciplines.
3) Continuity of Clinical Care
A central component of Family Medicine is continuity of patient relationships over the life course. This domain exposes Scholars to this concept through enhanced clinical experiences. Scholars are encouraged to participate in the Family Medicine Externship between first and second year. Some Scholars develop continuity through the CCHERS program, understanding primary care through the eyes of a community health center throughout four years of pre-clinical and clinical training. In fourth year, Scholars complete the Family Medicine Sub-Internship and may take other electives in the specialty. Unique to this program is an opportunity for Scholars to be matched with a pregnant patient and follow her for all pre-natal visits, be present for her delivery, and visit her and baby at home post-partum.
4) Relationships & Mentoring
This domain seeks to encourage strong relationship-building within and across Scholars’ class years, and between Scholars and Family Medicine faculty. The annual retreat, held off-campus on a weekend in the fall, serves as a uniting experience for Scholars to meet one another and share ideas in a collaborative, fun environment. Upperclassmen serve as informal peer advisers, being available to counsel about scheduling decisions, residency preparation, research development, and more. Scholars develop connections with faculty members through FaMeS IP groups and ICM experiences in the first two years of medical school. Also, each Scholar will choose a faculty mentor in the Family Medicine Department who they will get to know over the course of their involvement in the program, and who often serve as a Field Specific Advisor in the fourth year.
How to become a Scholar:
Interested students should e-mail Dr. Joanne Wilkinson (Joanne.Wilkinson@bmc.org) to schedule an interview. In the interview, the student will discuss his or her goals for involvement in the program and how the student will demonstrate competency in each of the above four domains. The attached “Personalized Development Plan” worksheet will be jointly completed by the student and Dr. Wilkinson at the initial meeting. Through the PDP, the student will assert a vision for him or herself as a Scholar so that the student’s goals and the program’s expectations can best be met by graduation.
While the program is open throughout the year, students are strongly encouraged to apply by October 15 to maximize your experience.
Scholars participate in monthly meetings throughout the year. Every year, all scholars go on an overnight retreat for community building, reflection, and planning for the upcoming year.
Scholars beginning the residency application process are encouraged to complete a “Personalized Development Plan” to discuss his or her achievements in each domain of the program, and provide this to their Dean for inclusion in the Dean’s Letter. Upon completion of the program, Scholars will be recognized at the Family Medicine Grand Rounds in the spring of their fourth year.
Kelli Jarrett is a member of the BUSM class of 2013. She is interested in family medicine in rural, underserved, and international communities. While at BUSM, she has had the opportunity to explore these interests by working with family medicine physicians in a variety of contexts including rural Montana and the small village of Shirati, Tanzania. She holds an MPH with a concentration in maternal and child health, a focus she has continued to explore with her scholarly project, examining herbal medicine use among pregnant women and their communication with physicians about use of these therapies. In addition to these activities, she has served as a leader in the Outreach Van Project and Medical Students for Choice.
Caroline Mullin (Pittsford Sutherland ‘04, Boston College ‘08) is a member of the class of 2014. Although still early in her career choices, Caroline believes Family Medicine may be a good fit for her. She hopes the field enables her to pursue her many interests in complementary & alternative medicine, maternal & child health and preventative primary care. Caroline participated in the Family Medicine Externship from Riobamba, Ecuador, where she worked with local primary care docs and ran a health camp for rural school-aged children. She also served as the Clinical Director of SNAAC, the Student Nutrition Action & Awareness Counsel, thru which she coordinated student clinical experiences in BMC’s Nutrition and Fitness for Life Clinic. Caroline’s scholarly project focuses on developing a new BUSM elective, Embodied Health, which duly focuses on personal wellness and the neurobiological effects of yoga and mindfulness. Caroline is excited to further explore the many clinical aspects of Family Medicine during her 3rd and 4th years.
Megan Waterman (Bowdoin College ‘08) is a member of the class of 2013. She is interested in family medicine in the urban community health setting, with special focus on academic medicine, geriatrics and chronic disease prevention and management. Megan is a dual MD/MPH student and has completed most of her coursework at the BU School of Public Health with a concentration on Community Health Sciences. She has strengthened her understanding of community health through clinical and scholarly research involvement at Codman Square Health Center (CSHC): She is currently working with Dr. John Wiecha in the BU Family Medicine department and Dr. Stephen Tringale at CSHC to evaluate an exercise referral program for patients with cardiometabolic disease. She has done much of her clinical training at CSHC, including ICM-2, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics rotations, and plans to complete Ambulatory Medicine during 4th year there. In addition to these activities, Megan has completed the Family Medicine Externship in rural Maine, and has served as a leader of FMIG and AMSA, and as the musical director of the Doctors’ Notes (medical student a cappella) during her 2nd year.
Jonathan Lichkus (Pennsylvania State University ‘09) is a member of the class of 2014. He is interested in practicing family medicine in underserved communities, both domestically and abroad. He will be pursuing his MPH in Health Care Management and Policy at Harvard School of Public Health between 3rd and 4th year of medical school. Through the CCHERS program, he has been able to have significant clinical training at South Boston Health Center, including ICM-1 and 2, IP-1, outpatient pediatrics, and will complete the Ambulatory Medicine elective in 4th year as well. Jonathan’s interest in global health led to his trip to Ecuador in Summer 2010 where he worked with other medical students and local leaders to establish a yearly summer health camp for elementary students in the Cacha. He is also part of a cohort of students who started an elective in global health equity for students in the preclinical years and are working to establish programming throughout all four years of medical school. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys playing basketball and eating burritos and buffalo wings, though not at the same time.
Sebastian Tong - Personal Development Plan
Sebastian Tong (BU ’08, Harvard School of Public Health ’11) is a 4th year medical student who plans to practice academic family medicine in an underserved community combining practice with policy research and teaching. He joined the BU Family Medicine Scholars Program because it provided a systematic way for him to engage in the different components that make up the whole of family medicine. Through the program, Sebastian has been able to meet a community of other students who are equally passionate about leading in family medicine and health care. The program has also allowed Sebastian to develop personally and professionally into someone who has a better vision for his own life and his career.
Sebastian knew that he was going to complete a Masters of Public Health (MPH) between his third and fourth year and decided to combine his scholarly project with his MPH practicum project. While at Harvard School of Public Health, he was connected with Dr. Rebecca Berman at the Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He worked on the research team for the new student-run clinic at MGH and completed a research project examining whether presence of a student-run clinic at a medical school affects future practice in primary care. He presented this project at the STFM Conference on Medical Student Education in February 2012 and his manuscript has been accepted for publication by Family Medicine.
Through his work with the Stoeckle Center, he developed connections with Dr. Andrew Bazemore and Dr. Bob Phillips at the AAFP Robert Graham Center, a policy research center for family medicine. He spent a month there during the summer of 2011 completing a project on the declining trends in maternity care provision by family physicians. He presented this project at NAPCRG in November 2011 and has had a peer-reviewed policy brief accepted for publication by the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. He continues to work with the Graham Center on a project examining residency training funding for critical access hospitals in rural communities.
Sebastian was one of the FMIG co-chairs during his second year and, together with Marcel Tam, another current scholar, helped initiate BUSM’s involvement in the AMSA-sponsored National Primary Care Week. He also became involved with national family medicine leadership serving for a year as the FMIG Northeast Regional Coordinator and two years as the student representative on the STFM Board of Directors and STFM Education Committee. He is currently a student representative on the AAFP Commission on Education and is the Student Chair of this year’s AAFP National Conference in Kansas City.
Sebastian joined CCHERS in his second year at Codman Square Health Center, where he has completed ICM-2, Ambulatory Medicine and Pediatrics rotations. He completed a continuity obstetrics experience with Dr. Ruth Potee. During the experience he attended all the prenatal visits of his patient and then had the opportunity to scrub into his patient’s c-section delivery!
During his fourth year, Sebastian completed the family medicine sub-internship and an elective in sports medicine with Dr. Alysia Green.
Sebastian has been mentored by Dr. Joanne Wilkinson, who he met through FaMeS in his first year and is now his field-specific advisor. He has also had an extended opportunity to work with Dr. Brian Penti, with whom he traveled to Vietnam for a clinical experience in chronic disease management. He also had the opportunity to receive mentorship from upperclassmen and current residents.
As a fourth year, he co-taught a ICM-1 group with Marcel Tam, another scholar, where he was able to develop teaching and mentoring skills.
Marcel Tam - Personal Development Plan
Marcel Tam is a MD/MBA candidate at Boston University in his final year of the dual-degree program. He plans to practice family medicine in an underserved community setting while utilizing innovative systems of health care delivery to provide “excellent care without exception.” Specifically, he plans to combine the skills learned in the medical program and in the management program to deliver evidence-based care that is effective, efficient, safe, patient-centered, timely, and equitable.
From the beginning, Marcel was attracted to Boston Medical Center’s (BMC) strong community ties, especially with the community health centers. In his scholarly project, he sought to increase the medical student presence in the communities served by BMC. The IMPACT Project was a transdisciplinary service-learning program that brought together students from the BU Schools of Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Public Health and Social Work with community members from the Codman Square neighborhood. These students formed transdisciplinary teams and, together with a community partner, DotWell, assisted individuals and families in addressing the root causes of poor financial health. Through these activities, students learned fundamental leadership skills while also learning how to work across professional silos. The program ran for three cycles and involved more than 60 students and 20 community members.
Together with fellow-scholar Sebastian Tong, Marcel spearheaded several initiatives as part of the BU FMIG leadership team that earned the group a national Program of Excellence award from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
Marcel joined CCHERS in his first year, first at Dorchester House Multiservice Center and then at Codman Square Health Center, where he completed ICM-2 as well as Ambulatory Medicine, Family Medicine and Pediatrics rotations. He completed a continuity obstetrics experience with Dr. Christy Odell. During the experience he attended all the prenatal visits of his patient and then the patient called him on her cell phone to attend the delivery!
Throughout his many activities, Marcel drew from the shared knowledge and wisdom of numerous Family Medicine faculty, including Suzanne Mitchell, Stephen Tringale, Suki Tepperberg, John Wiecha, Rob Saper, Joanne Wilkinson, Larry Culpepper, and many more. Thank you all for your support of the Family Medicine Scholars Program!