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The Department of Family Medicine and Population Health at the VCU School of Medicine has a long history of excellence in medical student education. In our interactions with medical students, our faculty and staff are always committed to the following core values:
The department has a demonstrated commitment to medical education. Faculty lead a 4 year School of Medicine longitudinal course focused on population health, evidence-based medicine, and patient relationships. We continue to coordinate a month-long required family medicine clerkship in the third year which is highly regarded by VCU students and graduates and also recognized as exceptional compared to other clerkships at this school and nationally. Family Medicine faculty also direct the International/Inner City/Rural Preceptorship program and a variety of student electives. Our latest innovation is the creation of the fmSTAT - Scholars Track program: the Family Medicine Scholars Training and Admissions Track.
We have an outstanding Student Family Medicine Association that has received multiple national awards for excellence from the American Academy of Family Physicians. Our global health programs continue to grow and include several trips throughout the year to Honduras and the Dominican Republic. In addition, two of our faculty serve on the Board of Directors for the School of Medicine’s HOMBRE group.
All of our activities are designed to provide the best possible training for all medical students regarding the nature and scope of family medicine. In addition, we strive to cultivate and nurture student interest in and commitment to family medicine as a rewarding and challenging career. Students are always welcome!
We pride ourselves on our nurturing environment, our innovative programs and our positive energy!
The family medicine clerkship is a required course in which all third-year medical students complete a four-week rotation with a family physician. These rotations are designed to deepen students’ understanding of the academic and practical bases of family medicine through patient care in community settings. A hallmark of clerkship is our dedicated faculty, many of whom graduated from the VCU School of Medicine.
Among the nearly 60 clerkship learning sites throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia are a variety of practice models, including group practices, community health centers and family medicine residency programs in urban, suburban and rural communities. Many of the sites offer opportunities to provide care to a variety of underserved populations. The department is committed to developing all sites as safe and friendly active learning centers for our medical students.
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The Department of Family Medicine and Population Health has created and coordinates a variety of electives that allow students to pursue well-defined career goals, explore various types of practice settings and broadly gain a better understanding of their career options.
With the exception of the Service Learning in Global Health, these electives are available to VCU medical students. Students from other schools should contact the directly to inquire about opportunities for visiting students. Our current list of electives includes the following:
The Family Medicine A.I. gives senior students a sense of the role and responsibility of an intern (1st year resident) in a community hospital setting. FM A.I.’s are coordinated through the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health; students are assigned to one of three residency programs for the A.I. for 4 weeks.
This elective enables registered students to experience particular aspects of family medicine: e.g. rural, research, women’s health, sports medicine, residency program, etc. The selective is coordinated through the Department of Family Medicine for VCU students for the equivalent of 2-4 weeks.
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Contact Judy Gary, MEd
For students interested in learning more about family medicine, the family medicine interest group known on campus as SFMA (Student Family Medicine Association) provides educational, professional, and social opportunities to interact with on-campus, residency, and community family physician faculty. SFMA is one of the oldest, largest, and most robust medical student organizations at VCU and among Virginia medical schools. SFMA is a very frequent recipient of the Program of Excellence Award from the national American Academy of Family Physicians!
Each semester the SFMA sponsors a variety of programs, both educational and social. Through its efforts, students learn about important topics facing family physicians, the broad diversity of practice options available to family doctors, and the anticipated improvements in financing primary care. Furthermore, the SFMA organizes specific highly popular skills workshops for students, such as sports medicine, mental health, ultrasound, office-based dermatology, which are taught by our residency and medical student education faculty. The club also provides information about family medicine to the general student body.
The SFMA Planning Committee, a group of eight to 12 students, meets regularly throughout the academic year to design, organize and implement the programs for the club. In serving on the planning group, students have the opportunity to develop lifelong friendships and gain important experience in leadership and program development. Opportunities are also available to serve on national and state committees. Funding for VCU SFMA programs comes from the Dean’s Fund, Virginia Academy of Family Physicians (VAFP), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the VCU Department of Family Medicine and Population Health.
SFMA Pulse is a medical student- run newsletter for archiving stories related to family medicine, showcasing inspiring role models, and embracing diversity of background and thought. Check out the latest edition of the SFMA Pulse. For previous issues, please see links on the last page of each issue. Please share any thoughts, suggestions, or requests for content with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student membership covers all four years of training. The $15 membership fee is paid by the VAFP. It includes a subscription to the American Family Physician journal. As SFMA members, students are also automatically members of the AAFP, and the VAFP.
For More Information
Contact Judy Gary, MEd
The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Acceleration Program was started in 2005 to provide career support for incoming disadvantaged and underrepresented minority (URM) students who expressed an interest in health science (not medicine specifically). In an effort to increase student interest in a career in medicine, Acceleration Program students have participated in clinical teaching sessions with VCU medical and pharmacy students at the Goochland Free Clinic since 2012. The program, called Acceleration3, has continued since that time with 4 students each semester including 4 students over the summer break. The Acceleration3 students have learned how to take patient vital signs and a social history. The Acceleration student work is repeated and corroborated by the medical and pharmacy students and then ultimately discussed with the attending physician and attending pharmacist. The program has been successful in increasing the number of Acceleration students applying to medical school.