Russian family practice training program: a single step on a long journey

G J Jogerst, S Lenoch, J W Ely
Family Medicine 1998, 30 (5): 372-7

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Since 1992, when the Russian government recognized family practice as a medical specialty, efforts have begun to progress from the idea stage to the delivery of patient care via family practice methods. We describe an educational effort to help teach Russian physicians family practice skills.

METHODS: Five young Russian physicians were selected from an initial pool of 15 candidates on the basis of standardized testing, English language skills, and their potential to teach future Russian family physicians. Clinical, teaching, and business curricula were developed and used during the 6-month training period for the five selected physicians. Trainees were evaluated by mentors' and preceptors' written evaluations and by the American Board of Family Practice In-training Examination before, during, and at completion of the training. Subsequently, a fully equipped family practice office was opened in St Petersburg to serve as an on-site training facility.

RESULTS: The trainees' self-perceived knowledge in community medicine, geriatrics, medical decision making, patient education, behavioral science, preventive medicine, and general family practice topics improved over the course of training. The composite scores on the in-training examinations improved from baseline (30 versus 308). Preceptors noted the greatest improvements in the use of clinical instruments, proficiency in physical exams, accessing medical information, and formulating differential diagnoses. The St Petersburg family practice office opened on October 1, 1996. The trainees now participate in the care of patients in this office and teach a new class of family medicine interns.

CONCLUSION: The training program we describe has allowed Russian physicians to acquire new skills and knowledge that they can use and adapt to training future Russian family physicians.

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