Curriculum and Program Highlights

Curriculum and Program Highlights

Our program provides our residents an outstanding, well-rounded training experience, which prepares our graduates to practice in a variety of settings. Some of our unique strengths add depth of knowledge and experience to our residents to better prepare them for practice.

One of the highlights of each resident’s year is our Essentials of Family Medicine  (EFM) rotations. In each year of residency we “pull residents off the wards” and put them together in the classroom for didactics, workshops, group projects, team-building time and outpatient clinic. We tailor each of these blocks to the educational needs of the residents. For example, we deliver much of our Practice Management curriculum in the third-year, during EFM III. These blocks of dedicated didactic time allow us to ensure that each resident, in each year, will engage in learning that we believe is essential to the practice of Family Medicine, and are a great complement to our weekly conferences.

A major focus of the Department involves the practice and teaching of  Information Mastery, a physician-friendly method of applying evidence-based medicine in every day practice. One of our faculty members, Dr. David Slawson, is a founder of this methodology and is internationally known for his work. In addition to a core curriculum in EFM months, we have a weekly information mastery session. All of our faculty are well-versed in information mastery and integrate it into classroom and clinical teaching – it is a part of our department’s “DNA.”

Another focus of the Program is on behavioral medicine teaching. Our behavioral medicine educators, as well as our physician faculty, help residents learn to better care for themselves, motivate patients to change behavior and learn therapy skills relevant to Family Medicine, through didactics and a rotation in the Family Stress Clinic. We also practice an integrated model of primary care and mental health care that we call Collaborative Care: Our staff therapists and psychologists will come see your patient who needs additional help – whether that is to support the patient in a life crisis or to address a particularly challenging health behavior.

Another element that is unique to our program is the "hybrid nature" of the curriculum. While many rotations take place at the University of Virginia Hospital, we also have a strong emphasis on, and have required curricular elements in, rural medicine. You will find that many of our resident rotations take place in the offices of physicians in the community rather than at the University of Virginia Hospital. This allows our residents to experience the "real world feel" that is prevalent in many community programs. We are proud that 20% of our graduates practice in rural communities.

Our primary teaching practice offers residents a diverse range of patients. We provide care to well-educated University faculty, as well as under-served residents of surrounding rural counties and Charlottesville’s public housing communities. We also care for a large number of refugee and immigrant patients in our International Family Medicine Clinic. Refugee families from across the globe are resettled to Charlottesville by the International Rescue Committee. Interested residents may elect to work with these patients in their continuity clinics throughout the last two years of residency.