Lawrence Family Medicine Residency, the nation’s first Teaching Health Center founded in 1994, is committed to providing residents not only strong clinical experience but also an academic environment that encourages the creation and dissemination of new knowledge. Our culture of innovation and our strong connections and integration with the community actually offer superior opportunities to produce community and primary care-oriented research. We do not see “Scholarly Activity” as an ACGME requirement to check-off but rather an obligation to our community and our residents to strive for excellence.
For family medicine, a Teaching Health Center organizational structure provides a great foundation for scholarly activity. With EHRs, research is increasingly becoming more easily “doable” in community health centers like ours (with 65,000 patients, over 270,000 visits annually) rather than exclusively academic health center environments that often do not mirror a family medicine-served patient population.
Our residency is engaged with multiple national medical education research endeavors through our specialty’s Length of Training national demonstration study, the CAFM Education Research Alliance (CERA) Surveys, and work with the ABFM Research Division. Our two affiliated medical schools (UMass and Tufts) offer additional academic resources besides the Research Division we have built over the years here in Lawrence.
Our residency remains one of the country’s most active participants in academic presentations at national family medicine education meetings; both residents and faculty are strongly encouraged to regularly present their work outside of Lawrence, at national, regional, and statewide family medicine meetings.
Research and scholarly activity have always been important elements of faculty development and residency life. Understanding how to ask and answer clinical questions including producing your own evidence creates a superb clinician. Recent changes in residency requirements for research and scholarly activity have encouraged and motivated residents to explore and execute these principles. The idea of “putting a puzzle together” for the patients’ well-being has been a powerful stimulus to learn the principles of research and evidence-based medicine. Lawrence FMR faculty and residents work together on numerous research and quality improvement projects. Many projects lead to presentations at regional and national conferences as well as publication.
Lawrence Family Medicine Residency is committed to research and provides assistance with project planning, research design, implementation and manuscript preparation. A list of resident publications and presentations at state and national meetings is available from the residency office.
A monthly Research Meeting is scheduled for residents and faculty and supplements the Evidence-Based Medicine and Health Systems Management didactic curricula. The usual agenda for these meetings includes progress reports about research in progress, brainstorming new ideas, how to move beyond roadblocks in research, as well as core epidemiologic and statistical principles.
If assistance is desired for statistics or design of projects, faculty are available to help. Additionally, the statistics department at Tufts School of Medicine has been generous with its time for resident studies. The IRB at TUSM also offers a weekly help line for questions regarding “exemptions,” vulnerable populations, and the mechanics of form-filling. Note: if residents desire to engage in research involving human subjects, they should be CITI® certified before starting.
Examples of Current Research Projects by Faculty and Residents include:
- Medical Education Evaluation Research – National Family Medicine Program Director Surveys, Addiction Medicine curriculum, Transgender Health curriculum
- Food Insecurity
- Screening and Developing Office Based Interventions for Social Determinants of Health
- Evaluation of Centering Pregnancy and Centering Parenting
- Antimicrobial stewardship
- Evaluation of Hepatitis C Screening and Treatment in a CHC
- Emergency contraceptive use and BMI