Family Medicine Residency Program

Family Medicine Electives

Family Medicine Acting Internships

The Department offers a wide variety of acting internships for fourth year medical students. These opportunities are primarily located at each of the three residency training sites (UPMC St. Margaret; UPMC McKeesport; and UPMC Shadyside). In addition, through special arrangement with a number of affiliated Family Medicine residency programs students are offered the opportunity to serve as acting interns in other institutions in Western Pennsylvania.

During the acting internships, the student is expected to function with relative independence in decision making, developing not only clinical skills, but also methods of approaching problem solving and increasing levels of leadership, critical for future professional development.

Indian Health Service

Electives in Family Medicine and Community Health are available on American Indian reservations and in Native Alaskan areas. The Indian Health Service (IHS) provides a variety of programs for third and fourth year medical students at IHS hospitals and clinics throughout the United States. Students live in government quarters and work under the supervision of United States Public Health Service physicians. Most sites offer a heavy emphasis on outpatient medicine, while providing some inpatient experience as well. Indian Health Service programs emphasize community health activities and often provide students with opportunities to make home visits with public health nurses, participate in preventive medicine programs, and/or work in remote field clinics. In general, students will need to arrange these rotations on their own. Rotations are popular and are often filled ten months in advance at some sites. Students are given considerable opportunity to manage patient care. At some sites (Tuba City, AZ and Rapid City, SD), there is also an opportunity for students to participate in epidemiological and public health projects under the supervision of IHS physicians.

Clinical Epidemiology

Students may do a faculty-guided tutorial in 1) the general principles of clinical epidemiology or 2) the application of clinical epidemiology principles to the understanding of health or disease. Students may participate in one of the ongoing epidemiology bio-statistical projects including an overview of all phases of the project or a specific, targeted research phase. Students may design an independent clinical epidemiology research study employed to answer a specific research question. The area could be a variety of clinical or public health issues.

Community Family Medicine

This elective is intended to offer medical students the opportunity to experience Family Medicine in a remote underserved community setting which is realistic to how physicians practice. The students focus on developing skills necessary to evaluate and treat patients in a community office setting. The degree of responsibility is determined by the knowledge and skills of the student. The students are exposed to the community family physician’s patient responsibilities, call schedule, community activities, family, and lifestyle. The students’ projects address the needs of the community of practice. Our department has supported the efforts of the Social Determinants of Health Group in their developing collaborations with New River Health in Fayetteville, WV, assisting with the establishment of an MOU and meeting in person with the WV group to set their practice up as a site for the Community Family Medicine Elective.

Practice-Based Pharmacotherapy

The student participates in a variety of activities (direct patient care, group/individual case-based discussions, chart reviews, and projects) to improve skills in prescribing and management of medications. Special emphasis is placed on obtaining a thorough medication history and using evidence-based drug information databases.

Students will use this information in combination with the routine history and physical to optimize therapy for a variety of conditions and circumstances including diabetes, hypertension, infectious diseases, antithrombotic therapy, dyslipidemia, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Students learn rational prescribing strategies based on cost, formulary guidelines (lists of medications approved for use per health systems and insurance companies), effectiveness, and individual patient characteristics. Students work with clinical pharmacists and family physicians with a special interest in rational prescribing.

Integrative Medicine

The Integrative Medicine Elective is offered to one senior medical student and one resident each month. This is a full-time elective in which the students and residents spend time with a number of integrative and complementary medicine practitioners observing their approaches. There is also a didactic component and each trainee is responsible for a presentation on an integrative medicine topic of interest.

Primary Care Sports Medicine

In this course, students participate in a wide variety of activities in order to improve his/her musculoskeletal examination and diagnostic skills and to promote understanding of the field of primary care sports medicine.

Experiences include direct patient care with primary care sports medicine faculty and fellows, group didactics, training room activities, group/individual case-based discussions, time with physical therapists and hand/occupational therapists, and musculoskeletal radiology sessions. Based on interest, we also strive to include exposure to neuropsychiatric and concussion/impact testing and exercise physiology.

Medical Student Research Training and Longitudinal Research Program

The School of Medicine curriculum requirement states that each medical student must complete a scholarly project. In addition to this requirement, additional opportunities exist for more extensive training including the Enrichment Program in Biomedical Research and the Longitudinal Research Program. Dr. Jeannette South-Paul serves as the Director of Medical Student Community-Based Research with oversight of the Medical Student Longitudinal Research Program, the community-based scholarly projects, and the enrichment program in biomedical research.

BioEthics Conference

The student will attend at his/her own expense, one to two weeks at an accredited bioethics conference. The rotation is offered for four (4) weeks of credit. Independent readings, writings and discussion with Dr. Richard Zimmerman or other faculty are needed to complete the course. The student is encouraged to attend any lectures by the Center for Bioethics and Health law. Clinical time in Family Medicine is an option that can be negotiated.

Community Based Family Centered Maternity Care, UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital and newly offered at UPMC Altoona Hospital

This elective is intended to offer medical students exposure to a wide variety of Family Centered Maternity Care models through a series of inpatient and outpatient clinical experiences. Directed readings and a "mini- project" also help to extend their understanding of the following:

• Integrated, Interdisciplinary Family Centered Maternity Care

• Barriers to Prenatal Care

• Creative Programs for Reducing Low Birth weight infants

• Use of Doulas, Midwives, and others in Prenatal and Intrapartum care

• The role of health insurers in augmenting systems of prenatal care

• The abuse of detrimental drugs in pregnancy (alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, etc.)

Family Medicine Preceptorship

The major emphases are the development of ambulatory care skills, the treatment of medical and psychosocial problems and preventive health. Most of the time will be spent in outpatient settings associated with the UPMC St. Margaret’s Family Medicine Residency. Students see scheduled patients during office hours as active members of the clinical team. Students are responsible for initial patient assessment and the development of therapeutic plans which will be discussed with a preceptor. Intensive one-on-one supervision and teaching is provided during student office hours. Opportunities are available to use and interpret outpatient procedures such as EKG, tympanometry, spirometry, cultures, colposcopy, rapid strep screens, etc. Faculty teaches seminars on commonly encountered Family Medicine topics. The clerkship "rounds-out" the student's medical education and provides a basic background in the unique aspects of ambulatory medicine and Family Medicine.