2005 - 2014 Program of Excellence Award American Academy of Family Physicians
The mission of the Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG) is to inform medical students about the unique philosophy of Family Medicine through education and mentorship. FMIG understands the role of family physicians in the improvement of health in this country and seeks to encourage medical students to be future leaders in their practices, to understand the problems facing health care today, and to respond to the growing disparities in health care that exist among immigrant families and minority populations in large urban centers, such as Los Angeles.
The UCLA Department of Family Medicine started as a division of the Department of Medicine in 1974, achieving departmental status in 1997. Patrick Dowling, MD, MPH, became the first permanent chair in 1998. He is a former migrant health center physician who had previously directed Family Medicine residency programs at Cook County Hospital, Brown University, and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. His focus as Chair has been on caring for underserved populations, including opening up a residency training site in a Latino neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.
The Department maintains active clinical services, with residency clinic sites in the San Fernando Valley and in Santa Monica. It also has a Division of Sports Medicine with a 2-year fellowship. We have an active research division, including Dr. Lillian Gelberg, a member of the Institute of Medicine and an internationally-known researcher in the area of access to care for the homeless, and Dr. Michael Rodriguez, a researcher in community health with an emphasis on the underserved. Besides the residency program, our department is active in medical education at all levels. Family Medicine faculty members chair the Doctoring 1 and Doctoring 2 courses, the 3rd year Longitudinal Preceptorship, and the 4th year Primary Care College. Our department also houses and staffs the student-run Salvation Army Homeless Clinic, in which 100 students from all years receive academic credit for seeing patients and running the clinic, in additional to volunteering many hours. The Family Medicine Department is the leader in this effort, particularly impressive in view of our relatively small numbers, and now students are realizing that Family Medicine is the specialty on this campus that does more than provide lip service to the concept of service.
Our Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG) has been in existence since the beginning of our department. Moving from informal meetings at the Pre-doctoral Director's home where students could meet practicing Family Medicine physicians, we now have a full schedule of meetings and activities with the largest number of students participating than ever before. Gradually students have taken over more and more of the administrative and organizational functions of the group, and in the past year, the number of students wanting to get involved at the officer level has also increased.