Frequently Asked Questions
- Our Faculty: We have a diverse group of attending physicians, with a wide range of clinical expertise and personal teaching styles. All are very dedicated, committed to resident education, and are excellent role models of family physicians.
- Our Residents: We also have a group of energetic, spirited, and intelligent residents from a broad range of training locations, who have come together to form their own community of support, caring, and intellectual pursuit.
- Our Staff: Our residency staff is a dedicated group of individuals, who work together to provide residents with a well supported curricular framework and resources useful for training, including scheduling, clinic flow, and assistance in procedures.
- Breadth of training: Residents are exposed to the broadest spectrum of family medicine, from a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings to community, volunteer, and research experience.
- Research: A wide range of opportunities to participate in research is available for residents. The Family Medicine Department is nationally known for the strength of its Research Division, and residents can mentor and become involved in projects with highly respected faculty.
- Academic & Leadership Focus: During their three years of training, all residents are offered the opportunity to develop skills as leaders, teachers and scholars in the field of Family Medicine. Our program has academic and leadership focus tracks for those residents interested in dedicating additional curricular time to develop future skills in teaching, health policy, or research
- Sports Medicine affiliation: An accredited sports medicine fellowship program is closely affiliated with the Family Medicine Department, accepting one fellow per year. Family medicine residents rotate with Sports Medicine faculty in their clinics, providing excellent training in orthopedics and sports medicine.
- Practice Management and Behavioral Science Curricula: Residents participate in a year-long longitudinal curriculum to emphasize the areas of behavioral science and of practice management, which prepare residents with key skills for excellence as practicing family physicians.
- Our Location: Seattle. Seattle has so much to offer; sample some of its best through the Seattle Life link.
- Clinical Area of Concentration: Some residents wish to carry their education in a particular field further for more concentrated and indepth training. They choose this field and plan to spend two months of their elective time to pursue their interest. This area is designated on their residency diplomas at graduation.
- Palliative Care: Family Medicine provides faculty for the Palliative Care Fellowship in conjunction with the Internal Medicine Department. The one-year fellowship is for those interested in furthering their education in this critical developing field. R2 and R3 residents have an opportunity to work with the faculty and fellows of palliative care with elective time.
- Collaberative Educational Training: Some family medicine residencies in both academic as well as community settings are challenged with “opposed” programs or specialty attendings. Our program has had unparalleled success in working with other departments in our hospitals and feel this is a "collaborative" rather than "opposed" program in our educational goals. The high-caliber, adaptable and inquisitive prior UW family medicine residents have blazed the trails to allow current residents to function in full intern rolls on all teams and even co-lead teams on some services as an R2. We have excellent relationships with our major specialty training departments of internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology and pediatrics.
- Travel: Residents are required to travel to several training sites, including our Family Medicine Clinics and a variety of medical centers situated in the greater Seattle area. Maximum travel time is 45 minutes, although most sites are within 25 minutes. The utilized training sites were selected to maximize the value of specific educational experiences for residents and most are accessible by car, bike, UWMC/HMC shuttle or public transportation.
One of the most exciting outcomes of this residency is the diversity of career paths chosen by our graduates. Many follow paths to community and private practice, including many choosing work in community health centers and other underserved areas. Others have pursued fellowship training in sports medicine, obstetrics, geriatrics, adolescent medicine, addiction medicine, and psychiatry. Recent graduates have found themselves in far away lands with relief groups such as Doctors Without Borders, while others have found jobs with the CDC and EIS. Others have taken academic faculty positions. As you can tell, our residents have ended up in a broad spectrum of practice opportunities, and this is something that we take pride in as we provide a comprehensive training experience.
No major curricular changes are currently being planned. However, the program is continually refining the educational opportunities available to residents. Current areas of curricular refinement include evaluating a more flexible structure for the R3 year to enhance learning experiences and electives, further development of our academic focus track, development of advanced chronic disease management models, and expanding our model of service for underserved populations.
Tom E. Norris, MD, became the Chair of the Department of Family Medicine in 2011 after an interim role. He has had experience in clinical practice, residency program administration, medical school education and curriculum development. He has been a leader of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians, WAFP Foundation, the American Board of Family Medicine and the American Board of Medical Specialties in the past making him uniquely qualified to lead our department. J. Mark Beard, MD, became Program Director in June 2011 after being a faculty member in the program since 2003. Justin Osborn, MD, became the Associate Program Director in 2011. We welcomed Grace Shih, MD, as a faculty member in June 2013 to lead the women's health training and RHEDI grant. We anticipate hiring a new faculty member in early 2015.
Our residents receive 12 weeks of dedicated OB training in the R1 and R2 years at UWMC and Group Health Cooperative. In addition, residents rotate on the Family Medicine Service for 14 weeks throughout their three years, during which there is ample OB experience under the guidance of faculty family physicians. Residents also rotate through Columbia Health Center, a Community Health clinic serving indigent patients, providing longitudinal prenatal care to this at-risk group as well as attending their deliveries. Our residents feel competently trained in management of low-risk obstetrics and appropriate consultation for high-risk OB patients, and the majority of our graduates include OB in their practices.
Residents get extensive inpatient and ER pediatric training at Childrens’ Regional Medical Center. Historically, pediatric care exposure in the continuity clinics had been a relative weakness of the program. However, the clinics do community-based marketing to increase pediatric visits, as well as internal environmental enhancements to expand pediatric outpatient teaching and make the clinics more attractive to kids. Pediatric patients are commonly less available in urban settings due to the high cost of living expenses for a family. Significant improvements have been seen with our move to the Northgate area of Seattle where there is improved access to families.
Medical student teaching is an integral part of our residency training. Family medicine residents supervise third year medical students on various internal medicine rotations, on our family medicine service and in our family medicine clinic, as well as 4th year medical students who participate in sub-internships on the family medicine service at UW Medical Center. Additionally, some R-3 residents choose to be involved in teaching 1st and second year medical students in the UW School of Medicine's Introductory Clinical Medicine sessions.
Call as a first year can vary from q4 to no call, depending on the rotation. Residents have 3 call free months during their intern years. Second year residents have more call free months (approximately 5). In the other 7 months, call occurs every 4th to 7th night. Third year residents cover night float for 8 nights in 2 weeks and then take approximately 15-20 calls through the remainder of the year covering our Family Medicine Service, primarily on weekends and holidays when Night Float isn’t available.
Our program is an “opposed” program, in that our residents rotate alongside internal medicine, pediatric, surgical, ER, and OB residents during their training. However, given our institutional and national recognition, and given the quality of our residents historically, our program does not feel opposed but rather collaberative. Residents value the education received from the residents and attendings on other services and feel this is an integral part of their training. We have ample clinical opportunities to care for a VERY broad spectrum of patients. In fact, our residents enjoy a strong camaraderie with our colleagues in the other programs. These “other” residents are often found at family medicine resident get-togethers! Our residents are respected and appreciated for their hard work on these other services.
Our current electronic medical record is Epic Care, which was implemented July 2006 at the UWNC-Northgate (Roosevelt) FMC and November 2010 at Harborview FMC. The UWNC-Northgate FMC is under the direction of the University of Washington Neighborhood Clinics (UWNC) as of March 2012. UWNC has over 10 years of experience with the same EPIC Care system. UW Medicine also uses an EMR which is more applicable to inpatient care (Cerner, named Orca in the UW system), which residents will use on UWMC and HMC rotations. The department's transition to an outpatient-based EMR for our clinics has been smooth and successful. Our residents will continue to be expected to acclimate to a variety of EMR’s during their training given the variety of training sites that they rotate through.
What education support, time, and stipends are available to residents for continuing medical education (CME)?
- All residents receive ~$900 to use in their second and third years for anything academically appropriate. These funds may be used for book purchases, CME conferences, etc. Residents may use five curricular days to attend medical conferences during their three years.
- The residency also pays for CME training modules including ACLS, ALSO, and NRP. Additionally, the residency covers the cost of USMLE Step 3 which residents are required to pass for graduation. Residents, however, are responsible for the cost of State Licensing and the Family Medicine Boards, which are taken near the completion of residency training.
The Department of Family Medicine provides support and faculty to a one-year palliative care fellowship run in conjunction with the Internal Medicine Department. The program began in 2009 and we have had one of our family medicine residents apply and complete the fellowship to date. The fellowship accepts up to 4 trainees per year.
The UW Family Medicine Residency participates in the NRMP, exclusively. Our application deadline for the match is October 31st. We only accept applications through ERAS.
The residency does not have minimum USMLE or COMLEX score requirements. We do ask that you pass step/level 1 by your second attempt and step/level 2 on your first attempt. We ask that you complete Step 1 and 2 testing by December of the year you apply to our program and the year prior to your entry into our residency. Step 3 is not required prior to residency if you have for any reason already taken it
I am interested in both the UWNC-Northgate and HMC (Harborview) FPC tracks. Are there separate applications for these two sites?
There is a single application and interview process for both sites. However, each site has its own match number and match list, so candidates rank each site individually on their rank list.
Foreign graduates are screened and interviewed using the same criteria as other applicants, with these additional requirements:
- FMG’s need to be fully ECFMG -certified at the time of application. Strong applicants who will receive certification following their initial application and would still like to be considered are encouraged to provide proof that certification will be received promptly and prior to the academic year. Students of the Fifth Pathway program should ensure that their certificate is provided and the program is informed. If certificate is pending, program must verify status with the student's medical school.
- Applicants are required to have at least 2 months of clinical experience in the United States. (Observerships do not count towards this requirement.)
- If an applicant is more than 3 years beyond graduation from medical school, there must be evidence of ongoing experience in direct patient care.
If you match with our program in the NRMP match and you are ECFMG - certified, you may apply for a J1 visa through the ECFMG. We do not sponsor H1 visas for incoming residents. The program can accept applicants on F1 OPT visa extensions, following a review of eligibility for J1 visa sponsorship. F1 OPTs expire following the first year of residency and further sponsorship by the program directly is not guaranteed, but is considered. More information is available at the University of Washington International Services office site:
No, unfortunately we do not offer observerships at the University of Washington Family Medicine Residency program due to our heavy time investment in UW medical student and residency training. Our department is, however, affiliated with WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) region residencies. To obtain information about observerships, you must contact each affiliated residency individually. Contact information for each program is available on the WWAMI Family Medicine Residency Network's web site on a drop down list at the bottom of the main page.
What methods of communication are used by the residency to offer interviews and follow up on applications?
The UW family medicine program will send either an email or post letter offering an interview once your application has been reviewed. If you will not be able to receive a particular means of communication or your contact information has changed, please contact our office so that we can make other arrangements as necessary. Not all applicants are offered interviews. Subsequent communication occurs by email unless otherwise specified by applicant. Our residency does not promise training spots to applicants prior to the formal NRMP Match process.