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Residency Planning FAQs - Family Medicine

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Why do students choose to train in your specialty? What is it they find attractive?

Typically residents enter a career in Family Medicine because they wish to treat patients without regard to age, sex, or disease process. Family Physicians get to establish long-term relationships with their patients. There is great variety in the kind of practice Family Physicians choose. Family practice residents can go on to do additional training in Geriatrics, Sports Medicine, Obstetrics, and other areas of special interest. Family Medicine is the only specialty that allows you to deliver a baby, care for a child in the office, treat a patient in the hospital or nursing home, and even in the home setting. More then 90% of all complaints can be handled by a family doctor. We are experts in the undifferentiated complaint. If we can't take care of what is wrong with someone, we are trained to get that person to the right resource, while following up on their progress. Students going into family medicine typically ask themselves: I've liked all of my rotations thus far, adults and children care, young and old, sick and well visits - do I have to give up seeing some of these patients by selecting a narrower filed? The answer is no. Family physicians love what they do, and pride themselves on taking care of the whole person. Their is time to enjoy life outside of medicine, by choosing family medicine, and with an average salary of $186,000 in 2008, residency graduates are easily able to pay of medical school debt. With the changes coming to health care, family medicine is positioned to be in even greater demand. It is a rewarding specialty.

What are the top 10 training programs nationally in terms of overall reputation?

There are approximately 500 training programs in Family Medicine, more so than any other specialty. It is therefore difficult to say what the best programs are, and there are no national rankings. There are MANY excellent programs across the country. Some of the more highly regarded University (mostly) programs are:

  • West: Memorial Family Medicine (California), University of Washington
  • Midwest: University of Missouri, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota
  • South: University of North Carolina, University of Maryland, Georgetown University
  • North: University of Rochester, Lancaster General Hospital

What are some good regional programs?

  • University of Maryland
  • Georgetown University (Providence Hospital)
  • York Hospital
  • Fairfax Hospital
  • Franklin Square Hospital
  • Lancaster General Hospital

What are the strengths of the program here at the University of Maryland?

The University of Maryland is one of the oldest programs in the country. It is one of a handful of programs that has graduated more that 300 residents. Our graduates are in practice all across the country, in every kind of practice setting imaginable. One of our great strengths is that our residents get to treat patients of all socioeconomic groups in our family health center one block away from the hospital. Our residents also spend time rotating through a number of excellent community hospitals and practicing physicians offices. This gives them the best of all possible worlds: exposure to University specialists and pathology along with real world experience.

We have a busy obstetrical component to our residency, with nine of our faculty doing deliveries. This ensures our practice will continue to provide care to many young families. Our faculty are highly regarded teachers, clinicians, and researchers. Our residents come from some of the best medical schools in the country. We value diversity in ourselves and in our patients. And we have consistently graduated some of the finest family physicians in the country.

What are the factors you look at when evaluating an applicant from most important to least important?

We rank our applicants based on a number of criteria. We like them to have a significant interest in learning obstetrics, since we are one of the few programs in this part of the country that graduates residents every year that continue to do obstetrics. We also believe University programs have an obligation to train residents that are interested in teaching after they complete their training. We therefore look for applicants that like to teach and might consider a career in academic Family Medicine. Lastly, we insist that our residents are committed to caring for the indigent population that we serve.

While we look at these factors, our graduates feel comfortable practicing in any setting when they complete their training.

What advice do you have for University of Maryland students interested in your specialty?

Only get advice about Family Medicine from a family physician. Many other specialists have opinions or beliefs about Family Practice, but you get the most reliable information from one of the faculty in our Department. We are happy to have students follow patients with us so you can get an idea what it’s like to be a family physician. Another valuable resource is the AAFP website, virtual FMIG. It is tailored specifically to medical students and their needs.

If students have more questions, whom in your department should they contact and how can they reach them?

Any of our faculty would be happy to meet with students to discuss career plans. Some of the people that you should contact include:

Do you have any additional comments?

The Department of Family Medicine at the University of Maryland has been one of the leaders in our specialty for more than 30 years. We welcome the opportunity to talk to you about our specialty, and to share with you our enthusiasm for working with our patients. Our Mission Statement is: "We improve health through Family Practice, education, and ideas."

Visit the Department of Family & Community Medicine Website