As I reflect on what the Department of Family Medicine has accomplished in our forty years here at the University of Michigan, I am awestruck. Our impact at the University of Michigan, and around the world, has grown significantly. From humble beginnings, with four faculty members housed in the basement of the Medical Science I building, we have grown to more than 100 outstanding faculty members, many of whom are renown for their work and expertise. Throughout the years of growth, however, our missions of excellence in family medicine patient care, education and research, have remained our central focus.
Our first health center in Chelsea is still a cornerstone of the Chelsea community and has led the way for us to manage six thriving clinics. Our newest clinic in Livonia is thriving and fulfilling a great need for primary care in the area as well as providing a site for medical student education, and we’re considering adding a seventh site, most likely north of the Ann Arbor area. We’ve developed specialty clinics within our health centers including U-M Integrative Medicine, the Japanese Family Medicine Health Program, the Dexter Deaf Clinic and Latino “clinics” at Ypsilanti and Livonia. Beyond that, Department faculty members are leaders in health system-wide initiatives such as the Adult Hospice & Palliative Medicine Program, Ambulatory Care, and the Adolescent Health Initiative. Our clinical activities spread far into the community with faculty providing care at The Corner Health Center, the Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools, the Hope Clinic, The Delonis Homeless Shelter, Arbor Hospice and nursing homes in Chelsea and Ypsilanti. As pioneers in the patient-centered medical home model, people look to us as leaders in today’s world of health care transitions.
From a non-existent research program in 1983, the Department has developed into one of the top research programs in family medicine in the nation judged by productivity and quality of research faculty as well as research grants. We are now a national resource for academic family medicine with grants totaling more than $3 million per year. Faculty members publish more than 100 papers every year and multiple faculty members have published more than 100 papers throughout their career with us. Many faculty are involved in the University's Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation, including in leadership positions, and all our researchers are making discoveries that are changing the way we practice health care. The recent development of the Michigan Mixed Methods Research and Scholarship Program puts our Department on the forefront of this innovative research paradigm. Caroline R. Richardson, M.D., the Dr. Max and Buena Lichter Research Professor in Family Medicine, has led our research department for 2 years and has implemented new ideas that have supported our research endeavors. I am looking forward to the exciting innovations and findings our researchers and scholars will be discovering.
Our residency program started with four brave newly graduated medical students who took a leap of faith before the program received official accreditation. We now welcome 13 residents into our program annually and they’re among the nation’s best and brightest. Our residents are trained in two health centers, and receive inpatient and obstetric training both in Ann Arbor and Chelsea. We are well on our way to implementing the Clinic First model, which bodes well for the success of our residents after graduation as they will have been trained in the health care paradigms of the future. Beyond the residency program, our role in medical student education is vital. Our faculty work tirelessly to ensure our medical students, residents and fellows become the best physicians. Faculty members are very involved in the new M-Home curriculum and have multiple leadership roles in the Medical School. On top of that, our clerkship has been consistently the top-rated clerkship of all U-M programs for over 20 twenty years! Likewise, we have seven fellowship programs, providing interested family physicians the opportunity to receive additional training and certification in various areas.
We recently celebrated our 40th anniversary, which gave us a chance to reflect on our many accomplishments. Currently, we rank 4th in the Family Medicine Medical Specialty rankings of Best Graduate Schools 2015 by the U.S. News & World Reportand 1st in the Midwest in the nation of top family medicine residencies by Doximity.com. We’re also ranked #5 in National Institutes of Health funding for Departments of Family Medicine.
It is a dynamic time to be a family physician and it is a tremendous honor to be chair of this incredibly vibrant Department. I am so proud to work with such an outstanding group of colleagues as we seek to improve health care in this new era of primary care strength, value, and progress!