Applicants to the KUMC Family Medicine Residency:
As the Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center, I wanted to take this opportunity to say a few words about the Family Medicine Residency Program at KUMC, the role of the residency in the department, my perspective on family practice residency education, and where I see us moving in the future. The Residency Program is only one component of our academic department (which also includes student programs, research, and clinical care), but is an especially important one because it is through the residency that we train our future colleagues in the discipline of family medicine. It is also particularly important to me, as I have been actively involved in resident teaching for more than twenty years. I was the residency director of the family medicine program at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio before becoming vice-chair for education and interim department chair there. If you match at KUMC, you will be people I work with on a daily basis, teaching and learning from and with each other, so you will be really important to me.
The KU program is an excellent, well-established family medicine residency that combines extensive teaching and mentoring by outstanding family medicine faculty members in both the FP continuity clinics and inpatient setting, in which family physicians deliver adult and pediatric inpatient care and deliver babies, with the advantages of training in a University setting. And yes, there are major advantages to training in the academic health science center. It is where new knowledge is created and first employed; practitioners and trainees here are on the cutting edge of medicine. It is literally awash with conferences, grand rounds, seminars, and educational opportunities that no non-university hospital can match. The research that is taking place in family medicine is the kind of research most likely to be useful to our patients - in clinical care, in prevention, in physician-patient relations, and in learning and caring for the health of our community. The faculty are constantly learning, sharing knowledge with each other in journal clubs, research forums, and in their practice, challenging each other to practice on the evidence, not habit.
Our Residency Director, Deborah Clements MD, along with Associate Residency Director Belinda Vail MD, the faculty and your Chief Residents, are committed to ensuring that the training received by residents in the KUMC program is second to none. The curriculum continues to evolve to be certain that our family medicine graduates are trained for practice in the future, not the past. While all of the future is not certain, some things are. For example, all family physicians will be caring for a large number of older adults. The training in geriatrics at KU is top-notch. For those family physicians who want to include young families on their practice, especially for those going to rural areas, delivering babies will be key. The KUMC FM faculty has great teachers and role models for providing family-centered maternity care. Our practices require us to do more than sit in our offices waiting for patients; we need to assess and proactively intervene in the community. Again, the KUMC department is committed to community-based medicine, and as I have noted above, this is a major research interest of our faculty. As a resident, your continuity practice may be at our KUMC-based clinic, at our suburban KU-MedWest facility, in inner-city settings, or in our rural Junction City track.
Personally, I have strong beliefs about where family medicine and family medicine education should be headed, and I will be working with the residency faculty to further enhance the KU program. These include ensuring that family physicians are the main teachers of family practice residents in all settings (just as other specialists are the main teachers of their residents), and that family practice residency training should be focused on the settings in which family physicians will spend most of their future practice, specifically in the community ambulatory practice setting. I am also committed to working in and with the community, and to emphasizing practice and programs that work with our most vulnerable and underserved populations, both rural and urban. I believe that the specialty must embrace diversity - of cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic background, as well as belief and lifestyles - among its practitioners, and encourage this diversity among our residents and faculty.
Working with the Department of Family Medicine at KUMC is very exciting for me. I look forward to meeting many of you, and beginning in July to work with some of you who can share my enthusiasm for family medicine, and join our great adventure together.
Please feel free to drop me a note with questions, comments, or anything else at firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise to respond.
With best wishes for a successful future, wherever you choose for residency training,
Joshua Freeman, MD
Professor and Chair
Department of Family Medicine
University of Kansas Medical Center