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New Grant WIll Train More Primary Care Physicians

Innovative program for Northwestern residents in community health setting

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April 11, 2011 | by Marla Paul

CHICAGO --- A consortium including McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University, Erie Family Health Center and Norwegian American Hospital will receive a new federal grant that could reach $16 million over five years to support an innovative new program to expand the primary care workforce.

The grant will fund family medicine outpatient residency training in a community-based setting that emphasizes preventive and chronic disease management. The program has begun training eight residents in primary care, will grow to 16 residents in July and will expand to 24 residents by July 2012.    

“This is a new approach,” said Deb Edberg, M.D., director of the McGaw family residency program. “We are creating a residency experience that emphasizes training at an out-patient primary care facility and isn’t hospital dependent. One of the big problems with health care is physicians graduate and do a really good job of taking care of people when they are sick in the hospital, but don’t do as good a job at primary care and prevention. This program is designed to help change that.”

The Northwestern consortium is one of 11 designated teaching health centers around the country awarded a grant from the Health Resources and Service Administration.

"If we want people to be experts in community care, which is what Erie does, we should train the next generation of providers,” said David Buchanan, M.D., chief medical officer at Erie. “This program will support the future of the health system in Chicago and the country."

José R. Sánchez, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian American Hospital, noted the grant “will enable the partnership to train family physicians with an emphasis on caring for the underserved as well as contributing to research and public policy. Norwegian American Hospital is honored to be part of this important new program.”