New Hopkins residency program focuses on urban healthcare

A new residency program at Johns Hopkins Medicine is grooming future leaders in urban healthcare. The main thrust of the program is to develop primary-care physicians who have significant experience treating the underserved in urban settings, according to the Baltimore Sun, who then will become leaders in urban health.

Four interns in the first year of the program will get more clinical training in pediatrics and internal medicine; participate in rotations in nontraditional urban settings, such as HIV outpatient clinics; study prison healthcare systems from the inside; and in their last two years, also earn master's degrees in public health or another related field to lay the groundwork for policymaking careers.

The training will set residents up to coordinate health centers, to create more urban health programs, to work on Capitol Hill, or to work as health commissioners, according to Dr. Rosalyn Stewart, who helped design the six-year residency program. The program is one of 80 med-ped programs that blend internal medicine and pediatrics, but is the only one to target the complexity of urban health, the Sun reports.

First-year residents spend several hours a week at an East Baltimore primary-care clinic overseen by two Hopkins physicians. Besides collaborating with experience nurse practitioners and social workers, they are learning to "prescribe" social services.

"Saying, 'It would be great if you followed up [at this substance abuse treatment center]' is a lot different than saying, 'Here's the phone number; your appointment is at 4 o'clock on Tuesday'" Dr. Chris Gibbons, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute, told the newspaper. "It's one of the ways we're redefining the word 'physician.'"

Graduates of the program will be in high demand, especially among insurance companies, foundations and government, said Dr. Myron Weisfeldt, chairman of internal medicine at the Hopkins School of Medicine, who helped dream up the new residency program.

A division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service announced last month that it will give Hopkins $3.8 million to expand the program. Next year's class is slated to be three times bigger, with 12 interns.

To learn more:
- read the Baltimore Sun article
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