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Curriculum

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Our Goal – We strive to educate Family Physicians who will be excellent clinicians in communities where primary care physicians are needed to practice at the highest level of their training. Our area specifically, and rural communities in general, need FPs who are excellent outpatient physicians, but who are also capable to care for sick patients in the hospital, deliver babies, and work in the emergency room. All Family Medicine residency programs are required to follow the curriculum guidelines specified in the ACGME Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Family Medicine. What sets our program apart from some others is that being unopposed means that our residents get to train in a community where the focus is solely to educate Family Physicians. They get the benefit of treating a wide variety of patients in a rural regional medical center and having their continuity clinic as part of a long established and well respected Federally Qualified Health Center.

  • Year 1
  • Family Medicine Fundamentals 4 weeks
  • Inpatient Adult Medicine - 12 weeks
  • Emergency Medicine - 4 weeks
  • OB/Newborn - 4 weeks
  • Musculoskeletal - 4 weeks
  • Pediatric ER - 4 weeks
  • Geriatrics - 4 weeks
  • Dermatology - 4 weeks
  • Behavioral Health - 4 weeks
  • Clinic Intensive - 8 weeks
  • Year 2
  • Inpatient Adult Medicine - 8 weeks
  • Emergency Medicine - 4 weeks
  • OB/Newborn - 5 weeks
  • Pediatric Inpatient 4 weeks
  • Gynecology - 4 weeks
  • Pediatrics Outpatient 4 weeks
  • Night Float - 4 weeks
  • Clinic Intensive - 11 weeks
  • Electives - 8 weeks
  • Year 3
  • Inpatient Adult Medicine - 6 weeks
  • Surgery - 2 weeks
  • Native American Clinic 4 weeks
  • Pediatrics Outpatient 4 weeks
  • Clinic Chief - 8 weeks
  • Clinic Intensive - 4 weeks
  • Night Float - 2 weeks
  • Electives - 20 weeks
  • ABFM Board Review - 2 weeks

Outpatient Clinic – Our residents are assigned a panel of primary care patient on their first day who they will follow for their 3-year residency. The outpatient clinic is located at the Redwood Community Health Center, just a 3 minute walk from the hospital. Residents attend an outpatient clinic for at least one half day a week for their entire three years. As a branch of Open Door Clinic, many patients are part of the safety-net population that FQHC's were designed to serve. However, since Open Door Clinics are the main providers of primary care for our entire community residents, will treat a wide variety of patients on their panel.

Family Medicine Fundamentals – This is a one month introductory experience allowing new residents to connect with their team and new community and to develop skills fundamental to their training. This will include workshops, didactic sessions, and experiences out in our community. There will also be clinical experiences where new residents are paired with a senior resident mentor at some of our common clinical sites.

Didactics – Each Wednesday afternoon all of our residents gather together for didactics. There are formal Board review sessions as well as discussions led by residents on tropics of interest. Community physicians in various disciplines discussing topics pertinent to family physicians. In addition, there are regular sessions focusing on resident wellness.

Scholarly Activity – Residents are expected to complete two research projects during their 3 years. One may be a Quality Improvement project involving the clinic or hospital. The other may focus on community medicine. The isolation of our community and the fact that almost all of the population of Humboldt County have medical records in the Open Door or St. Joseph EMRs make it an ideal setting for community-based research. As a regional medical center, our residents get to care for patients with a wide range of conditions. Residents are encouraged to write up case reports for poster presentations or publication. Recent examples include: Massive Pancreatic Pseudocyst, Perforated Appendicitis, Clostridium septicum Sepsis, Acute Anterior Fornix Infarction., Incidence of COVID-19 Hospitalization and Mortality Rate and Closed Loop Small Bowel Obstruction.

Inpatient Adult Medicine – Residents spend time each of their three years on the adult inpatient service at Providence St. Joseph Hospital, in 2 weeks blocks. The residents service functions as one of 5 hospitalist teams, caring for almost all adult patients in the hospital. Our team consists of 3 or 4 residents with a senior resident coordinating the service. Attending physicians are either Family Medicine residency faculty or hospitalists. Our goal is for residents to be prepared to care independently for patients with a wide range of illnesses by the end of their third year of training. As the major community hospital in our region, our residents get to treat patients with common medical problems typical in any community hospital. However, as the only regional medical center in a large area, our residents also treat a variety of "unusual cases". We encourage our residents to write up their "unusual cases" and you can see a number of their presentations above.

Emergency Medicine – First- and Second-year residents spend 4 weeks apiece in the Emergency Room of Providence St. Joseph Hospital in two-week blocks. As the only level 3 trauma center in our region the emergency room is busy. Training is supervised by Board Certified ER physicians. By the end of their training, residents are expected to be prepared to care for the wide range of patients typically seen in ERs. Residents who have a special interest in emergency room medicine may choose this as their track elective area and receive an extra 14 weeks working in the ER in their last two years of residency training.

Obstetrics – First year residents spend 4 weeks and second year residents spend 5 weeks on Labor and Delivery. They are supervised by Family Physicians on the Residency faculty as well as OB-GYNS and Nurse Midwives on the staff of Open Door Clinic and the Providence Medical Group, Humboldt. Residents also follow pregnant women in their continuity clinic and are expected to attend their birth whenever possible. While in L&D, residents also round on newborns including those in the NICU.

Clinic Intensive – Time is spent in each of the resident's 3 years on a Clinic Intensive" rotation. This allows them to experience the life of a primary care physician with a more intensive time in the continuity clinic. There will also be time for the resident to have longitudinal experiences with some of our outpatient subspecialists, groups clinics, and the mobile medical clinic.

Pediatric Emergency Room – Since our community does not have a designated pediatric emergency room, we have partnered with UC Davis Medical Center for our residents to receive this required training at their Pediatric Emergency Room. First year residents go to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento for a 4-week rotation in pediatric emergency medicine. The program pays for transportation expenses and lodging in Sacramento close to the UCD Medical Center.

Pediatric Inpatient Medicine - Since we also do not have a designated pediatric inpatient service in our community, our 2nd year residents go to UC Davis Medical Center for this required 4 week rotation. The program pays for transportation expenses and lodging in Sacramento close to the UCD Medical Center.

Pediatric Outpatient Medicine – Residents have 4 weeks of Pediatric Outpatient Medicine in two-week blocks during both their second and third year of residency. This rotation is supervised by Pediatricians at the Open Door Eureka Community Health Center Pediatric Clinic and in the offices of Pediatricians in the Providence Medical Group , Humboldt.

Musculoskeletal/Orthopedics/Sports Medicine – There is a 4-week rotations in the first year of residency divided into two-week blocks in musculoskeletal and sports medicine. Time is spent with Orthopedic Surgeons in the Providence Medical Group, Humboldt as well as FPs with sports medicine training, Physical Therapists and Podiatry. Residents will often attend high school and college sports games with community physicians who serve as team physicians.

Behavioral Health – There is a 4-week rotation during the first year in Behavioral Health in 2 two-week blocks. Time is spent with Psychiatrists in the Open Door Clinic and private practice, and the Humboldt County Psychiatric Inpatient and Outpatient units as well as the Humboldt County Jail.

Dermatology – There is a 4-week rotation in Dermatology on the first year in two-week blocks. Supervising ate Dermatologists in the Providence Medical Group, Humboldt and in private practice.

Geriatrics – There is a 4-week rotation in the first year in Geriatrics. Residents spend 2 two-week blocks at the Redwood Coast Program for the All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE). This model program is designed to keep frail elderly people living safely at home. Residents also have a few of their continuity patients who reside in a local skilled nursing facility who they will see monthly during their 3 years under the supervision of an FP who is the Medical Director of the nursing home.

Gynecology - Second year resident spend 4 weeks on a gynecology rotation. They work with community and Open Door Clinic gynecologists improving their skills in Women's Health.

Surgery – There is a 2-week rotation in the 3rd year of residency in surgery. However, in addition residents are encouraged to assist in operations when their continuity patients in clinic or the patients they care for in the hospital go to the OR throughout the residency.

Native American Health - Third year residents spend 4 weeks working in the clinics of the United Indian Health Services (UIHS). Time is spent at their primary clinic in Arcata, the Potawat Health Village, as well as outlying clinics under the supervision of their Family Physicians. The goal of the rotation is to gain knowledge and respect for the issues involved in providing medical care for the Native American communities on the North Coast of California. In addition, elective time may be spent at UIHS if desired.

Night Float - Second and Third year residents have rotations in the hospital on Night Float. They work a 7PM to 7AM shift for 6 days each week. They cover the residents inpatient service at night and also work with the hospitalist "Nocturnist" in the Emergency Room admitting patients to the hospital overnight. On the rare occasions when things are quiet, they can catch a few winks in one of the residents sleep rooms in the hospital.

Clinic Chief – This is a third year experience focused on teaching and mentoring other residents in the outpatient setting and learning about clinic operations.

Vacation/Personal Time Off - In each year of training residents may take up to 30 days off for vacation or PTO. If residents find it necessary to take more than 30 days off in any 12 month period for maternity, parental or sick leave, ACGME, ABFM and Providence policies and California employment law apply. This means that if a resident takes more than 30 days leave in a 12 month period, their training time may need to be extended accordingly to apply for Board Certification.

Electives - There is a total of 28 weeks of elective time available in a resident's second and third years. Residents develop an individual learning plan with their advisor in order to best structure their elective time to focus on their objectives. Some of our residents plan to exclusively practice outpatient medicine after graduation. However, many of our residents hope to continue caring for hospitalized patients, obstetrics and emergency room work in their future plans. Elective time may be used to gain additional experience in a resident's area of major interest or they may plan a curriculum that best suits their educational objectives. Residents may also choose to work with a variety of community physicians, or design their own local or out of area electives. In addition to spending more time on Inpatient Adult Medicine, Obstetrics or in the Emergency Room, other community electives available to our residents include:

  • Allergy/Asthma
  • Anesthesiology/Intubation/Central Lines
  • Cancer Care working with the team at our Regional Cancer Center
  • Infectious Disease
  • Medical Management of Substance Use Disorder
  • Native American Care at the United Indian Health Services
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Palliative Care and Hospice Medicine
  • Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Sports Medicine
  • Urology