Two Decades of Title VII Support of a Primary Care Residency: Process and Outcomes

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To assess 23 years of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry funding to the New York University School of Medicine/Bellevue Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program. The program, begun in 1983 within a traditional, inner-city, subspecialty-oriented internal medicine program, evolved into a crucible of systematic innovation, catalyzed and made feasible by initiatives funded by the HRSA. The curriculum stressed three pillars of generalism: psychosocial medicine, clinical epidemiology, and health policy. It developed tight, objectives-driven, effective, nonmedical specialty blocks and five weekly primary care activities that created a paradigm-driven, community-based, role-modeling matrix. Innovation was built in. Every block and activity was evaluated immediately and in an annual, program-wide retreat. Evaluation evolved from behavioral checklists of taped interviews to performance-based, systematic, annual objective structured clinical examinations.


The authors reviewed eight grant proposals, project reports, and curriculum and program evaluations. They also quantitatively and qualitatively surveyed the 122 reachable graduates from the first 20 graduating classes of the program.


Analysis of program documents revealed recurring emphases on the use of proven educational models, strategic innovation, and assessment and evaluation to design and refine the program. There were 104 respondents (85%) to the survey. A total of 87% of the graduates practice as primary care physicians, 83% teach, and 90% work with the underserved; 54% do research, 36% actively advocate on health issues for their patients, programs, and other constituencies, and 30% publish. Graduates cited work in the community and faculty excitement and energy as essential elements of the program's impact; overall, graduates reported high personal and career satisfaction and low burnout.


With HRSA support, a focused, innovative program evolved which has already met each of the six recommendations for future innovation of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine Education Redesign Task Force.

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