Training physicians to care for the underserved: preventive medicine residency-community health center linkages

Am J Prev Med. 1996 May-Jun;12(3):156-60.


The population of uninsured and underinsured individuals in the United States continues to grow, compounding problems of adequate access to medical care. Some of the medical needs of this population are met by community health centers (CHCs). However, CHCs often have difficulty recruiting and retaining physicians, especially those with skills in community medicine. This article describes a general preventive medicine residency program that has been successful in preparing physicians for practice in these settings-what we call training in community-oriented preventive medicine (COPM). At the heart of COPM training are mutually beneficial relationships between CHCs and the residency program. This process has been greatly facilitated through the use of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) federal training grant support to "match" funds provided by CHCs. As of July 1994, 11 residents have entered the COPM track, with eight graduates and three current residents. Thus far, all graduates have remained involved in community-based medical care and preventive medicine activities for medically underserved populations. This training arrangement can serve as a model for other preventive medicine residency programs and for CHCs interested in enhancing physician recruitment and retention. Medical Subject Headings (MeSH): community-oriented preventive medicine, medically uninsured, preventive medicine residency training, community health centers.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Community Health Centers / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations*
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration*
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Medically Uninsured
  • Models, Educational
  • Personnel Selection
  • Preventive Medicine / education*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Training Support
  • United States
  • United States Health Resources and Services Administration