Purpose: For more than 25 years, family medicine residencies (FMRs) have worked with community health centers (CHCs) to train family physicians. In light of the long history and current policy focus on this training model, the authors sought to evaluate comprehensively the scope and extent of family physician training occurring in CHCs.
Method: The authors conducted a cross-sectional survey of 439 U.S. FMR directors in 2007. FMR directors were asked to provide information regarding the number, type, location, and length of any CHC training affiliations and to rate their satisfaction with such affiliations.
Results: Of 354 respondents (80% response rate), 83 FMRs (23.4%) provided some type of CHC training experience; 32 (9%) had their main residency continuity training site in a CHC. Respondents reported that 10.5% (788) of family medicine residents were trained in a CHC continuity clinic. The average length of affiliation was 10.2 years. Residency directors reported high satisfaction with CHC training affiliations.
Conclusions: Almost one-quarter of FMRs in 2007 provided some training in CHCs. However, the proportion of residencies providing continuity training in CHCs--the type of training associated with enhanced recruitment and retention of family medicine graduates in underserved areas--was limited and relatively unchanged since 1992.