Public Health Impact of FMRPs

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

 (15 March 2006 17:39)

Coastal Research Group — Policy Statements

Title : Public Health Impact of Family Medicine Residency Programs


Public health impact

Public health benefits


Community context of care

School health

Population-based health

Policy/Position Statement

In an environment of economic constraints, declining resources, and increasing public health needs, support for a collaborative relationship between family medicine residency programs and their communities’ public health infrastructure will ultimately benefit the public and protect the health of the community.

Practice styles and techniques taught in family medicine residency programs, including comprehensiveness, community-orientation, and coordination of resources for their patients, should be used to advance federal, state and local public health priorities.


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.  In addition, in collaboration with the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, the taxonomy and data set are undergoing detailed analysis to demonstrate the relationship between family medicine residency programs’ clinical contributions to their communities and the meeting of local public health needs.

Pertinent Data

Data from this project support the observation that family medicine residency programs contribute to the public health priorities of communities in:

The “sentinel” physician role (community health assessment and protecting the health of the public)

Care of special populations (school-based health, low-income elderly)

High-quality disease prevention services

Training of a professional workforce in appropriate models of care

Curriculum in breadth of care

Curriculum in public health and epidemiology

Care in the context of community

“Community” as part of FMRP mission statements


Family medicine residency programs make material and substantive contributions to meeting the public health needs of the communities they serve through the training of generalist physicians with an “adaptive skill set”.

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 practices.

The integration of school health in residency curricula.


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.      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)

4.      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)

5.      IOM Report — The Future of Public Health in the 21st Century –

6.      Gerberding J — 10 priorities


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

Adaptive skill set — The clinical skills of a physician that can be applied to a variety of medical problems through the extrapolation of current training.

Sentinel physician — That member of the medical community most likely to have early/initial contact with a threat to the public health.


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 Public Health Impact of FMRPs: Richard Clover, MD

Last Updated (18 May 2006 07:51)

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