A Leader in Family Medicine and Primary Care
The Boston University family medicine department provides leadership to the development of family medicine and primary care regionally, nationally, and internationally through its clinical activities, education, and research.
Faculty from the family medicine department have multiple leadership roles within the medical school, including as the associate dean of admissions, the assistant dean for curriculum & instructional design, the course director for the first-year Essentials of Public Health, and Doctoring 1 course. In addition, the family medicine department runs the required six-week Family Medicine Clerkship, the Family Medicine Subinternship, and many pre-clerkship and fourth-year courses and electives.
These courses provide education that prepares all medical students with the training in family medicine necessary to practice effective and high-quality care in any specialty. Pre-clerkship and clerkship curricular foci include point-of-care evidence-based medicine, clinical decisionmaking and problem-solving, physical exam and diagnosis, advanced communication skills, doctor-patient relationship/therapeutic alliance, health law and health policy, community medicine, and ethics.
The department also has a robust and multifaceted program to support students interested in family medicine and primary care careers. This includes a vibrant Family Medicine Interest Group and a four-year longitudinal track AMP (Action and Mentorship Project) for students interested in community medicine and primary care. The AMP community has a shared mission centering on the value of primary care in the healthcare system, the importance of engaging in community outreach and action, and the vital need to provide mentoring and support during medical training.
Clerkships and Internships
The department trains medical students and residents for careers as family physicians, and fellows for leadership and research positions in primary care, with special emphasis on preparation to work in multidisciplinary primary care teams responsive to the needs of multicultural communities.
The department has multiple curricular offerings in all four years of the medical school curriculum. These include the Family Medicine Clerkship, the Family Medicine Subinternship, the MED FM 360 elective, which provides a full-spectrum FM experience, a Latino health elective, the Healer’s Art course, and electives in advanced communication skills, sports medicine, maternal-child health, integrative medicine, global health, research, quality improvement, and others.
During the third-year Family Medicine Clerkship, students develop a deep understanding of what it means to be a patient’s family doctor, and comprehend the critical value of continuity, relationships, presence, clinical and diagnostic skills, and trust in the doctor-patient relationship to the health of patients and communities. Our goal is that every student not only graduates with the knowledge, skills, and attitude to provide the highest-quality, evidence-based care but also that they deeply understand and appreciate the value of family medicine and primary care to the health of our country.
Clinical Practice, Community Involvement, and Research
The department’s clinical activities cover a broad range of clinical practice in community health center–based practices, inpatient care, including operative and nonoperative obstetrics and adult and pediatric inpatient medicine, student health, occupational health, sports medicine, integrative medicine, and others. The department’s clinical activities provide teaching environments that emphasize the overall mission of Boston Medical Center (BMC), which are responsive to primary care needs of the Greater Boston region, especially focused on at-risk communities.
The department works closely with Boston HealthNet and community health centers, regional community hospital–based residencies, the Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians, the Boston and Massachusetts departments of health, the Boston University School of Public Health, other primary care groups within and outside of BMC, and the BMC leadership to evolve a coordinated regional primary care system responsive to population needs.
A thriving research division informs improved approaches to the conduct and organization of primary care, with emphasis on problems of at-risk communities, care, the integration of primary care, inpatient care, public health, mental health, integrative medicine, and other areas. The department also has numerous programs that students can work with during the various courses and electives, which include the Program for Integrative Medicine and Healthcare Disparities; and international health and primary care system development, among others.