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Features of the Family Medicine Residency Program

Additional features of our Family Medicine Residency Program include the following.


We provide family medicine residents with a personal laptop for use at home and work, and CME funds can be used for updating cell phones or tablets. The office and Forbes Hospital (and much of Allegheny Health Network) are connected via an integrated electronic health record (Epic) for both outpatient and inpatient encounters. Additionally, residents, attendings and nursing communicate via secure texting and calling at the hospital (PerfectServe). For the office we recently introduced an online scheduling tool for the residents and faculty that can sync to your personal calendar (QGenda).

Team dynamics

Our program focuses on team dynamics. While attending physicians teach evidence-based medicine, they are also open to discussing different ideas regarding patient management. The atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation adds greatly to the learning experience.

Hospital support

Our hospital administration ensures that residents have 24-hour support for clinical care and computer services, which says a great deal about how the hospital views the residents' role here - as integral members of the medical team.

Longitudinal behavioral science

Because family medicine will involve you in a therapeutic capacity in the lives of your patients and their families, your interpersonal skills are of primary importance. Moreover, it is likely that your patients will present you with a range of problems such as depression, stress-related illness and marital or sexual difficulties. To equip you to interact sensitively and to recognize, assess and initiate treatment for such patients, behavioral science training experiences are incorporated into all 3 years.

A full-time behavioral scientist is available to all residents for consultation, co-precepting, and demonstration of therapeutic techniques for use with patients. Once weekly, the behavioral scientist participates in inpatient behavioral rounds with our program's residents and faculty. A weekly patient care seminar (Balint) will allow you to discuss your patients from a behavioral standpoint and consult with peers and faculty, among whom are a therapist and a family physician. Monthly core curriculum conferences address common psychosocial problems and include workshops that focus on skills such as counseling, telephone medicine and working with families.


Videotape review of your patient sessions is designed to give useful feedback on your interviewing, counseling, and problem-solving skills; nonverbal physician-patient/family interaction; and the efficiency with which you conduct office visits. All exam rooms in the Family Medicine Center have video recording capabilities. You then review your session tapes with the behavioral scientist or a faculty member whose remarks can serve to heighten your ability to self-monitor and modify your approach as necessary.

Patient education

Educating patients and encouraging them to become active partners in their own health care are strongly supported by the program's emphasis on patient education. As a resident physician, you will be expected to identify the learning needs of your patients and tailor a specific teaching plan to guide them to the required information.

Throughout the program's duration, a full-time nurse practitioner and patient educator coordinates patient teaching activities, assists you in developing patient teaching methods and materials, and serves as your resource for in-depth education with selected patients. Faculty and staff are also available to help you in your patient education duties.

Community medicine

As a family physician, you will be an important and integral leader in the community you serve. Our program helps you step into this role by integrating community medicine into all rotations. You will have opportunities to observe and work with community agencies, schools, and sports medicine programs. In addition, our faculty are involved in a variety of community agencies and projects, and you are invited to team with them as they provide community service.

Resident support

The program is sensitive to the unique stresses that new physicians sometimes encounter during their residency experience. To ease your transition into your new roles, the program begins resident support during the first-year orientation, when faculty confer with residents on risk assessment and stress reduction and address the fears and expectations of residents. The resident support group is open to all residents and gives you the opportunity to develop effective communication and interpersonal skills while dealing with the positive and negative aspects of your residency in a supportive atmosphere.

Resident evaluation

Objectives and evaluations are established to guide, assess, and document each resident's experiences in rotations and at the Family Medicine Center. At the end of each rotation, the supervising attending physician evaluates you on a range of essential knowledge, skills, and professional attributes. Family Medicine Center preceptors regularly audit charts, directly observe your patient care, and evaluate your specific clinical and practice management skills.

Development staffing meetings

These evaluations are held twice a year for each resident. At these meetings, you and your advisor review your self-evaluation and discuss all rotation and office evaluations. With the benefit of this feedback, you and your advisor outline a six-month plan for your continued development.

Program evaluation

Each resident is regularly requested to evaluate the teaching, rotations and other learning experiences that comprise the program. Residents also participate in curriculum, patient education, research, and Family Medicine Center committees with faculty members and the residency director to plan and implement program modifications.

Family-centered maternity care

Residents learn an approach to obstetrics that is different from that typically practiced by obstetricians. Family-centered birthing is a high-touch, low-tech approach in which assumptions about practice are challenged by evidence-based medicine and the needs and desires of the laboring woman are supported when possible. Family medicine faculty members back up most deliveries and serve as role models. They and our obstetrician faculty support the residents as they work directly with their patients. You will learn to practice a safe and satisfying approach to the prenatal and birthing process that is consistent with the philosophy of family medicine.

Ultrasound curriculum

Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is becoming increasingly popular in Family Medicine. We have incorporated a curriculum to further advance this practice. Experience is gained working alongside physicians and ultrasound techs in the realms of: inpatient sonography, prenatal sonography (and L&D), cardiology/echocardiography suite, and Musculoskeletal (on sports medicine rotations). At the Forbes Family Medicine office we employ a Philips Lumify tablet-based ultrasound that is portable and can be used for sideline coverage as well.

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