Academic Leadership Focus


A significant need exists for physicians to play a larger role in improving the systems within which patients seek health care. The University of Washington Family Medicine Residency Program, with grant assistance from the Washington Academy of Family Physicians, has created Academic and Leadership Focus tracks, an innovative program that encourages residents to pursue aspects of family medicine outside of the purely clinical realm.

Academic and Leadership Focus allows residents to bring the Future of Family Medicine into the present by identifying and developing a project in one of the following three areas: (1) Research; (2) Advocacy and Policy; (3) Education. The goal of this program is to propel a new cadre of family medicine physicians into various academic and leadership positions in their communities.

Each Focus resident is expected to meet both core and individual track competencies, design and implement an independent project, and share the process and results of that project with other members of the residency. Residents will have a Focus advisor to guide the resident through curricular guidelines and assist in the identification and completion of independent projects. Residents that declare themselves as Focus participants and begin to identify project ideas during intern year will have protected time during second and third years to pursue learning objectives and their project. Participants also will have support for one away elective at the AAFP’s Graham Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, up to one resident in each class will have the option to pursue training in a master’s program (e.g., MPH) if they commit to a fourth year as Chief Resident with the program.

I. The Core Academic Curriculum

A core academic curriculum has been identified that describes competencies each participating resident should meet by the end of his/her program. The core curriculum includes competencies that will be explored through lectures and educational modules in the following areas:

  1. Grant-Writing
  2. Teaching Medical Students
  3. Advocacy
  4. Journal-Writing
  5. Project Development and Evaluation
  6. Research Projects

II. The Academic Focus Track Curricula

The Focus curriculum is further divided into three tracks that ideally help guide residents to meet more specific interests in their field of choice. Tracks have been identified in Research, Advocacy and Policy, and Education, but are not intended to limit residents interested in other fields, or in a hybrid track. It is expected that track curricula can be met through the design and implementation of a specific independent project that each resident will design with the assistance/approval of his/her mentor. Included herein are recommended competencies in each of the three designated tracks, and residents are encouraged to modify these as their interests demand.

  1. Research (Clinical, Public Health, etc.)
    1. Formulating a Research Question
    2. Literature Reviews and Critical Analysis of the Literature
    3. Basic Research Designs and Protocols
    4. Practice-Based Research
  2. Advocacy and Policy
    1. Community Needs Assessment
    2. Coalition-Building
    3. Working with the Media
    4. Lobby and Legislation
  3. Education
    1. Core Education/Teaching Principles
    2. Patient-Based Teaching
    3. Curriculum Design
    4. Mentorship
    5. Resident and Medical Student Teaching

III. Certificate of Completion

At the end of residency, after completion of an independent project and the core curriculum, and presentation to the residency, participating residents will be entitled to a Certificate of Completion for Academic and Leadership Focus. It is anticipated that participation in this program will help launch further academic, research, and advocacy pursuits, most immediately following residency in the form of fellowships and faculty positions.