Friday, August 23, 2013

Focus On UMass Fitchburg: A Dually-Accredited Community-Based Residency

This month, I am heading up Route 495 to talk a bit about our community-based residency in Fitchburg, a UMass residency that is entirely separate from our Worcester program.

The Basics:  UMass Fitchburg is a community-based residency in North Central MA and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012!  It provides care at one for one of America's first teaching community health centers. The faculty aim to prepare you to practice in any community with special emphasis on caring for those in greatest need. Each year we welcome six new interns to train in Fitchburg. Our Fitchburg residency is able to take advantage of all the resources of a major medical center and we offer an academically stimulating program.

A Brand New Health Center:
  Our brand-new health center building, to open in the coming months,   will offer a state-of-the-art design for team-based care and resident instruction. In addition to our comprehensive primary care services, patients have access to on-site behavioral health and dental and lab services. Patients can also access urgent care services across the street, along with ambulatory physical therapy and radiology.

Our Community Hospital:
HealthAlliance Hospital is a medium-sized community hospital that hosts our family medicine residency as its only teaching service. Residents and students enjoy a dynamic team approach to care with coverage of patients within the full scope of family medicine inpatient practice. HealthAlliance has repeatedly been voted one of America's "Most Wired" hospitals due to its investment in information technology, easing care and improving patient safety.

Our Academics: Didactics cover a wide array of medical, community health, and behavioral medicine topics as well as procedural skills and topics in practice management. We are constantly revising the curriculum as needs and opportunities change. Special training is available in osteopathic therapy (we are a dually accredited residency), geriatrics, addiction and sports medicine. All residents participate in one of several annual QA projects. Interns have one dedicated Tuesday afternoon each month for workshops.

Our Osteopathic Curriculum:  As the only dually accredited (DO and MD) residency in Massachusetts, we offer monthly lectures and regular OMT sessions with DO preceptors to hone our skills and learn new techniques. Residents are encouraged to use OMT skills in patient care in the office and hospital. There are many occasions to attend osteopathic courses for further learning. In our program, we have a wonderful collaboration between our allopathic and osteopathic physicians.

Global Health:
The UMass Family Medicine Global Health Track is designed for residents at both the UMass Fitchburg and UMass Worcester residencies. Interns who apply and are selected for the program will travel to Nicaragua and/or the Dominican Republic to study community health-based systems. They will be introduced to epidemiologic research there as well as clinical or research-based projects and monthly seminars.

Our Underserved Community: ACTION (Accessible Comprehensive Treatment in our Neighborhoods) is our land-based and mobile clinic that provides primary care services to the homeless in North Central MA. We've partnered with a host of organizations in the community to help our most vulnerable citizens, including such agencies as Our Father's House (a local shelter), and the Montachusett Opportunity Council.

We're Right Up Route 495:  Fitchburg and Leominster are easily accessible to Boston and Worcester and Providence, but without traffic congestion or the high cost of living. Mountains, beaches and lots of open space are close by. Our residents might take a break from their clinical duties by night skiing at Wachusett Mountain, hiking at Mount Wachusett State Park and Leominster State Forest, or joining in  a variety of local sports leagues. Numerous high school and college sports and the Boston Marathon provide opportunities for medical coverage training.

Want to know more? Meet the Fitchburg residents and faculty and read our blog post by 2013 graduate Amanda Iantosca, DO, titled "Transitioning...A Fitchburg Day in the Life." 


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