Care of Underserved Populations

Last Updated on April 16, 2022 by Lee Burnett, DO, FAAFP

(15 March 2006 17:43)

Coastal Research Group — Policy Statements

Title: Care of Underserved Populations





Publicly funded


Special populations


Policy/Position Statement

The range of services delivered in family medicine residency programs provides comprehensiveness and continuity of care for “safety net” populations.


Introduction to the National Project

Since 2000, the Coastal Research Group National Project on the Community Benefits of Family Medicine Residency Programs has amassed a robust database on the services provided by a diverse sample of family medicine programs.  That sample reflects the distribution of residency program characteristics nationally.  From this database has been derived a detailed taxonomy of the services delivered to the patient populations served by those programs.

Pertinent Data

Data from this project supports the observation that the benefits of family medicine residency programs to safety-net populations include:

High-quality fundamental medical services

High-quality disease prevention services

Appropriate access to needed specialty services

Coordination of social services that complement care

Multidisciplinary team care

Training of a professional workforce in appropriate models of care


Comprehensiveness and continuity of care delivered to underserved populations provide a roadmap to an efficient and effective system of care that benefits society in general.

Future Considerations

Physician workforce issues including numbers, training and distribution.

The benefits of community partnerships with health systems.

The use of family medicine residency programs as sentinel innovators for health care delivery.


1.      Starfield B, Shi L, Macinko C — Contribution of Primary Care to Health Systems and Health.  The Milbank Quarterly 83(3):457-502 (2005)

2.      IOM Report — Crossing the Quality Chasm — (

3.      IOM Reports (6 during 2001-2004) on the Consequences of Uninsurance —  (

4.      Goldberg W, Goldfrank L, Smith PC, Green LA, Lanier D, Yawn BP – The Ecology of Medical Care Revisited.  N Engl J Med 345:1211-1212 (2001)

5.      Green LA, Fryer GE — The Development and Goals of the AAFP Center for Policy Studies in Family Practice and Primary Care.  JFP 48:905-908 (1999)


Safety-net population — Segment of the US population that includes recipients of Medicaid health coverage, the, publicly-subsidized medically indigent, the uninsured, and those under-insured who would be financially decimated by catastrophic health care costs … those whose access and means to care is either discontinuous, insufficient or non-existent.

Comprehensive care — Care of women, men and children that meets all of their health care needs.

Continuity of care — Health care to an individual by a specific medical professional or team over an extended period of time.


This policy statement is a product of the Coastal Research Group (CRG) Policy Analysis Committee, Task Force on Family Medicine Center Benefits

Chair, Working Group on Care of Underserved Populations: Peter Nalin, MD

Last Updated (18 May 2006 07:41)

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