Dear Prospective Lawrence Family Medicine Resident,
Welcome to the Lawrence FMR community! Our website is full of specific information on our residents, our faculty and staff, our curriculum, our facilities, and our Community Health Center. It may be helpful, however, to first share more generally our underlying philosophy and overall goals to put everything in context for you.
First of all, we feel an obligation to provide the best family medicine residency training in the country. We seek to train the best primary care physicians in the world – and for the world – nothing less. Our residents have proven a willingness to make an extra investment in their education by undertaking a four-year integrated curriculum, responding to the needs of our specialty as it aspires to lead our country’s health care system to a better, more equitable place. We also take the long view. We don’t think things will change by doing residency the same traditional ways with the same traditional curriculum, but there’s no getting around it – to preserve the best of family medicine’s past yet have room for all the new curriculum we need to provide requires more of a commitment. The bottom line is that we are not preparing people for the next three years (or the last 35) but rather for the next 40.
We are proud of our history. Our health center – Greater Lawrence Family Health Center – was founded in 1980 to address to critical health access needs, discrimination, and health inequities for our growing Latinx community in Lawrence. Our residency program was founded in 1994 as a novel innovation to address the lack of well-trained primary care physicians to meet the needs of this community. We were founded as anti-racist programs in a time before this was an articulated concept. We feel a deep commitment and responsibility to further develop and live out this commitment to fight social injustice, health disparities, and racism by training excellent comprehensive compassionate family physicians who are not only committed to social justice but are also given the tools to be forces of change within health care and the communities they serve. This process is a journey and we have the humility to know we have much to learn. We are committed as a residency to work to create a more just and anti-racist residency community and to be agents working towards health equity.
Given that the U.S. currently has more than 37 million people who speak Spanish, we believe it will be increasingly difficult to provide health care for underserved populations in the future without fluency in Spanish. Every resident participates in our outstanding Spanish Language program; that includes protected time as block rotations and longitudinally to learn and improve Spanish Language proficiency during the first year of residency and beyond. At graduation from our program, you will be a superb family physician who has mastered the cultural aspects of delivering health care in an underserved Latinx community, transferable far beyond Lawrence, ready to use your Spanish skills for your own and your patients’ benefit. Check out the details of our nationally-known Spanish curriculum elsewhere on this website.
Our national reputation as an academically powerful program is well-deserved and our residents get the “best of both worlds.” Our diverse and extremely talented faculty publishes extensively, teaches at national meetings, and leads academic family medicine organizations. All our residents learn full-spectrum family medicine which includes strong maternity care training, community medicine, and tremendous experience in family medicine-based hospital care. Only 30 minutes north of Boston, we are academically affiliated with both the University of Massachusetts and Tufts, giving our residents access to significant academic resources and medical student teaching opportunities right here in Lawrence.
Our program has a long history of leading, not following. We were the first CHC-sponsored residency in the United States, founded in 1994, and serving as the model for what later became the national Teaching Health Center program. Several years ago LFMR received the prestigious Innovative Program Award from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. In 2012 we were selected as one of 11 family medicine residency programs in the United States to participate in the ACGME’s national four-year Length of Training study, as our specialty looks at how best to produce full-spectrum family physicians as the foundation of a high- performing health care system. Our decision to expand our training to a four-year curriculum is based on our mission to train physicians that can meet the needs of whatever community in which they choose to practice and our commitment to not compromise in providing the highest quality of training and health care for our communities.
Finally, and most importantly, people here are passionate about what they do and whom they serve. When we ask residents, faculty, and staff what they most like about our residency program, the answer is universal – “the mission” and the sense of belonging to a learning community that feels like a family. We want to continue to attract people who intensely care about serving those who need it the most, now and in the future. If you are committed to caring for the underserved and seek training in an academically rigorous “hands-on” Teaching Health Center environment, we invite you to join us!
Wendy Barr, MD MPH MSCE
Residency Program Director
Vice President of Clinical Education