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Family Medicine Residency: FAQs

What are the strengths of your program?

We are proudest of the people who make up the program. Our longstanding tradition of excellence has allowed us to attract mature, intelligent, well-balanced residents. They, along with a stable faculty and high quality support staff, make a highly effective team. We all work together to reach our goals of excellence in patient care and resident education.

More concretely, our program is known for our sports medicine, obstetrics, and international health experiences.  We offer a junior faculty / career development position, fellowships in sports medicine and a junior faculty obstetrics position for those residents who wish to develop added expertise. 

We recognize that the scope of practice may vary for our graduates.  For example, some may include hospital care in their practice and others will not.  As such, we support residents' efforts to tailor their residency experience to acquire the skills they will need for the practice they envision.

Our residency program offers many other unique learning opportunities. To learn more about them, check out our Family Medicine Areas of Concentration.

How has your program done in the match?

Over the past decade, our program has consistently filled predominantly with graduates from U.S. universities. We are happy to consider foreign medical graduates. However, for them to be successful, they typically need to be highly competitive applicants and have USMLE scores that average 80 or above.

What makes Greensboro a good place to live?

Greensboro is a city of about 300,000 people. It is nestled between the Appalachian mountains and the Atlantic coast, in a region of gently rolling terrain called the Piedmont. With lengthy fall and spring seasons and generally mild winters, outdoor activities are popular among residents. The city has several colleges and universities, including the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro College, Guilford College and Bennett College. The cost of living is at the national average. The Guilford County School System is well regarded. Most children of the residents and faculty attend public schools. Because Greensboro is such an attractive city, we have been able to recruit residents from all parts of the country. Most of them choose to stay in North Carolina once they graduate because it is such a great place to live.

What is the retention rate of your program?

In over 35 years of residency education, 14 residents have left our program before graduating. The vast majority of residents who left did so because a spouse had a job transfer to another city or a family illness required the individual to move closer to home.

What major changes do you anticipate?

Our program has a very successful record and we do not anticipate making major changes in our approach to education.  Instead we plan to evolve and adapt to changing systems of care both nationally (i.e. healthcare reform) and in our community. 

We have enjoyed an incredibly stable faculty over the years and have benefited from the wisdom of our faculty elders.  We anticipate some changes in our faculty with one retirement and another long-standing faculty member becoming part-time.  We have planned for these changes and are actively recruiting additional physician faculty that will help shape the future of our program.

Does your program have elective opportunities?

Faculty members, Dr. Wayne Hale, has a long-standing commitment to international health.  He regularly leads two-week mission trips to Honduras for students and residents. While the trip to Honduras is faculty driven, residents are not limited to this opportunity. We have had residents do international rotations in Costa Rica, Australia, Africa, Mexico and Ecuador. For further information, see our International Health Area of Concentration.

How does your program incorporate technology into education?

We maintain a wiki which contains a wealth of information including goals and objectives for all of our rotations; local patient care resources, residency information and links to many knowledge resources.  Please contact Amy Myers to give you a temporary password if you would like to review it.

Clinically we use a variety of devices to access patient data including tablets, phones, laptops and PDAs.  EPIC is both our inpatient and outpatient EMR and allows seamless integration of information.    Residents are able to access both outpatient and inpatient records remotely.  

Residents are given funds to purchase a portable device of their choice for use in patient care.  Access to UpToDate and other knowledge resources are provided free to residents.

Is the Cone Health Family Medicine program opposed or unopposed?

With eight residents per year, the Family Practice Residency Program is the largest residency in our Health System. We also have an Internal Medicine Residency Program that supports six residents per year. Pediatric residents from Chapel Hill regularly do a rotation at our hospital.

As an aside, the word "opposed" does not capture the spirit of our relationship with the other residents at our hospital. We cooperate and support one another. We believe our program benefits from the other residents and faculty that serve our hospital.

Where is the Cone Health Family Medicine Center located and what types of patients does it serve?

The Cone Health Family Medicine Center is a separate building located on the campus of our main teaching hospital. We see patients of all income levels. Our payor mix is as follows: 35 percent Medicaid, 25 percent Medicare, 31 percent Managed Care and 9 percent self pay.

In terms of ages, 34 percent of our patients are 18 years of age or younger, 21 percent are 19 to 35, 19 percent are 36 to 50, 15 percent are 51 to 64 and 11 percent are 65 or older.

Outside of the Family Medicine Center, where does resident training take place?

Most of our in-hospital rotations take place at our main facility, the 536-bed Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. Our OB and normal newborn nursery rotations take place at Women's Hospital, a facility dedicated to women's healthcare which is located approximately three miles from Moses Cone Hospital. The city's third hospital, Wesley Long Hospital, is also part of Cone Health and residents will occasionally see patients in that facility.

Approximately 80 percent of the training of our first-year residents is in hospital-based rotations. By the time a resident reaches the third year, 85 percent of the training is in ambulatory-based experiences.  In addition to the Family Medicine Center, these include rotations at private practitioners' offices and other outpatient facilities.

Do your residents obtain board certification?

Because of our success in recruiting high quality medical students, our residents and graduates have fared well on all quality indicators. Specifically, they have historically scored above the national average on in-training exams and have a 99 percent pass rate on the Family Medicine Board Exam.

What about Obstetrical training at your program?

Our program has a wealth of clinical opportunities to learn low-risk Obstetrics. The required inpatient obstetrics experience consists of six weeks during the intern year and two weeks during the 2nd year.  After completing your inpatient Obstetrics rotation, you will be assigned a minimum of 10 prenatal continuity patients over the three years of residency. For those interested in training more thoroughly in obstetrics and maternity care, we offer the Obstetrics Area of Concentration. As well, the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) course is provided for all first-year residents.

Experience has taught us that family physicians often have opportunities to practice obstetrics in rural and underserved areas but rarely have those opportunities in urban areas. Because of these realities, we encourage residents to carefully consider their preferred practice environment as they plan the depth of their obstetrical training during residency.