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 sometimes 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. Residents are required to attend (rotation specific), regardless of whether they have an ongoing project or not. Residents are required to attend eight research meetings over the course of their residency as a graduation requirement. Other attendees include members of the Lawrence General Hospital staff and Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, we all as members of the local medical community. The usual agenda for these meetings includes progress reports about research in progress, brainstorming new ideas, and how to move beyond roadblocks in research. Epidemiologic and statistical principles are reviewed as appropriate to the ongoing projects and also to cover basic concepts.
We have computer software available such as Dynamed, STATA, NVIVO, OVID, Up to Date, and EpiInfo, and access to other internet sites to assist with the research process.
Examples of Current Research Projects by Faculty and Residents include:
- Longitudinal Case Series of Atypical Glandular Cell Pap Smears
- Medical Education Evaluation Research – National Family Medicine Program Director Surveys
- Food Insecurity
- Screening and Developing Office Based Interventions for Social Determinants of Health
- Evaluation of Centering Pregnancy and Centering Parenting
- Evaluation of Use of Procalcitonin to Direct Antibiotic Use
- Evaluation of Hepatitis C Screening and Treatment in a CHC
- HIV Stigma and Impacts on Treatment