The integrative family medicine program: an innovation in residency education

Victoria Maizes, Howard Silverman, Patricia Lebensohn, Mary Koithan, Benjamin Kligler, David Rakel, Craig Schneider, Wendy Kohatsu, Meg Hayes, Andrew Weil
Academic Medicine 2006, 81 (6): 583-9
The Integrative Family Medicine (IFM) Program is a four-year combined family medicine residency program and integrative medicine fellowship. It was created in 2003 to address the needs of four constituencies: patients who desire care from well trained integrative physicians, physicians who seek such training, the health care system which lacks a conventional integrative medicine training route, and educational leaders in family medicine who are seeking new strategies to reverse the declining interest in family medicine amongst U.S. graduates. The program was designed jointly by the University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine (PIM) and family medicine residency programs at Beth Israel/Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM), Maine Medical Center, Middlesex Hospital, Oregon Health & Science University, and the Universities of Arizona and Wisconsin. One or two residents from each of these institutions may apply, and when selected, commit to extending their training by a fourth year. They complete their family medicine residencies at their home sites, enroll in the distributed learning associate fellowship at PIM, and are mentored by local faculty members who have training in integrative medicine. To date three classes totaling twenty residents have entered the program. Evaluation is performed jointly: PIM evaluates the residents during residential weeks and through online modules and residency faculty members perform direct observation of care and review treatment plans. Preliminary data suggest that the program enhances interest amongst graduating medical students in family medicine training. The Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education Family Medicine residency review committee has awarded the pilot experimental status.

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