A Letter from the Chiefs: Why We Chose This Program
Warm greetings from sunny San Diego!
Thanks very much for taking the time to visit the Family Health Centers of San Diego Family Medicine Residency Program (FHCSD FMRP) website. We’d like to take a moment to share with you what drew us to this unique program, and why we feel so fortunate to be a part of it today. Before we dive in, though, we’d like to provide a brief history of the program, highlighting its origin and its mission.
FHCSD FMRP was born out of the Teaching Health Centers grant during the Obama administration, awarding funds to community health centers to create training programs in hopes of addressing the primary care shortage that we face across the nation. Though this grant provided an incentive to start the program, the idea of a residency program within FHCSD began long before that, a dream cultivated by our esteemed CEO, Fran Butler-Cohen, and our founding faculty.
FHCSD has an inspiring origin story in itself, built in 1970 on the advocacy of dedicated local Latina leader Laura Rodriguez. She and a group of community members sought to bring much-needed medical services to Barrio Logan, a grossly underserved Latino community in the heart of San Diego. The full story can be found at our main organizational site, www.fhcsd.org. Today, FHCSD is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) and accredited patient-centered medical home (PCMH). Our residents work primarily out of the City Heights clinic location, serving one of the most diverse and underserved communities in San Diego.
Since its infancy, this program has blossomed into a robust, competitive, and enriching site to train in the practice of community-based urban underserved family medicine. The program strives not only to produce strong, competent family physicians, but also community leaders. The program has delivered on its promise to create a new generation of highly qualified community medicine physicians dedicated to the care of everyone, with a special commitment to uninsured, low-income, and medically underserved persons.
This rich history and commitment to serving the diverse, underserved urban community of City Heights is what drew us to this program. No other residency program on the interview trail seemed to embody as much dedication and commitment to their community as FHCSD, in large part due to the fact that it was started as a teaching health center in a strong non-profit community clinic setting, augmented by inpatient care at the mid-city San Diego health safety net facility, Scripps Mercy Hospital. The rope that ties all of the FHCSD programs together, including the residency program, is the desire to bring truly exceptional care and resources to the patients we serve in an accessible way, based on real needs identified by the community. To be a part of this is what keeps us going each day.
The diversity of our patient population is certainly another strength of the program. The patients we serve daily hail from countries around the world, coming to us as immigrants, both documented and undocumented, refugees, and asylum seekers, which truly gives our care a global health at home flavor. Some of our most common populations served include Latinos, Somalis, Vietnamese, and Cambodians, with over 41 languages spoken in our clinic! This enriches us with training opportunities in cultural competency and in advanced presentations of both chronic and acute illnesses and even rare infectious disease cases.
Among numerous curricular strengths in our program, our HIV track stands out as a unique opportunity for interested residents to pursue during their training, resulting in two graduates board-certified in HIV Medicine each year. All residents rotate through the gay men’s health and transgender medicine clinics throughout their training, but two residents selected to be a part of the HIV track participate in focused training in HIV and hepatitis care and sit for the boards prior to graduation. Other tracks and areas of concentration available to residents include: Global Medicine, Sports Medicine, Integrative Medicine, and Substance Abuse Medication-Assisted Therapy.
Lastly, the infectious camaraderie of the resident and faculty family make this program feel like home. The close-knit feel of the residency community is palpable even to prospective residents during interviews and social gatherings and it is truly one of the aspects of this program that sets it apart. We enjoy a healthy work-life balance, with San Diego providing endless opportunities for hiking, beaches, watersports, museums, restaurants, breweries, etc. The list goes on!
We are both so proud to be a part of the FHCSD FMRP family, surrounded by inspiring residents and faculty who are leaders in our community. We could not be more excited to share our love for this program with you. Please feel free to contact us any time!
Sarah Matthews, MD
Meghann Martelly, MD
Class of 2019