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Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Primary Care Track differ from the categorical training program?

Primary Care Track residents participate in a six-month ambulatory long block, which includes additional clinic sessions and dedicated curriculum and electives, during their junior and senior years. In addition, a second continuity clinic is added at a site based on the individual resident's interests. Primary Care Track residents also participate in the bimonthly Primary Care Seminar and are invited to quarterly Primary Care Interest Groups and Social Events.  In addition, they receive regular mentorship and career counseling. Primary Care Track residents have approximately the same number of general medicine inpatient rotations as their categorical program colleagues. They tend to have somewhat fewer specialty inpatient rotations and intensive care unit rotations.

How do I apply for a position in the Primary Care Track?

There is a separate match for the Primary Care Track. We plan to match four Primary Care Track residents annually.  Up to two additional Primary Care Track slots are generally offered for interns in the categorical program, but there is no guarantee of placement.

How many residents in the Primary Care Track enter careers in primary care medicine?

Historically, over three-quarters of the Primary Care Track's graduates have entered primary care careers. Of those who choose to pursue subspecialty fellowships, many practice a mixture of general and subspecialty ambulatory medicine.

What types of jobs do people have after training?

Primary Care Track residents pursue positions that include clinical, educational, administrative, and research roles. Many, but not all, choose to join academic practices. Our graduates are currently on the faculty at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Tufts Medical Center, Yale University, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York University, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Stanford University, University of Alabama, UCSF, and UCLA. Other graduates work in community health centers or private practice settings.

What if I choose to do a fellowship?

While the Primary Care Track is designed to prepare residents for careers in primary care, some graduates have decided to pursue subspecialty training in allergy, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, infectious diseases, oncology, and pulmonary medicine. Primary Care Track residents are equally competitive as categorical program residents in fellowship matches.

I am interested in underserved populations.  What opportunities exist?

Historically, Beth Israel Hospital was founded in order to provide care to underserved populations in Boston. Healthcare Associates (HCA), our hospital-based practice, cares for a wide variety of patients. Several of our faculty are interested in health disparities and cross-cultural medicine. Residents may also work in continuity clinics or ambulatory block rotations in community health centers. In addition, an elective in the Indian Health Service is available.

I am interested in women's health.  What opportunities exist?

The women's health practice within HCA opened in 2004 and is a model teaching practice.  As an added service, consultations focused on female sexual dysfunction, obesity, and disabled women are available within the practice. We have affiliations with student health centers in Boston. We also offer elective experiences in gynecology, bone and mineral metabolism, breast diseases, gynecology, and urology. In addition, we have an affiliation with Planned Parenthood.

I am interested in Latino health.  What opportunities exist?

We have several Latino faculty who receive referrals and can direct patients into the practices of interested residents. Residents may work with these preceptors during their outpatient training. Many faculty are interested more generally in cross-cultural medicine. Two affiliated continuity practice sites (Dimock Community Health Center and Medical Care Center North in Chelsea) have substantial Latino populations.

I am interested in international health.  What opportunities exist?

Many of our residents work in international settings, and BIDMC has established an affiliation with a teaching hospital in Botswana (Global Health Program). Other residents have worked in India, Nepal, Taiwan, and Vietnam in recent years. Several faculty have major commitments to international health.

Is it possible to learn how to teach as a Primary Care Track resident?

Yes. Primary Care Track residents have a course on medical education as part of their ambulatory long block rotation and participate in teaching other primary care residents and medical students. All housestaff are given the opportunity to serve as a teaching resident during senior elective time. In this role, residents lead case-based discussions and didactic sessions for other residents and students, work as apprentice preceptors alongside our faculty in practice, and observe interns in practice.

Is it possible to do research as a Primary Care Track resident?

Yes. Many residents participate in research projects during their area of concentration time. Content areas have included health services research, clinical epidemiology, medical education, and clinical research.  Areas of research interest within the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care include chronic disease management, delirium, geriatrics, health policy, HIV, and obesity.

Contact Information

Residency Training Program
Internal Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
West Campus, Deaconess Building, Suite 306
One Deaconess Road
Boston, MA 02215
617-632-8273
617-632-8261
primarycare@bidmc.harvard.edu