Primary Care Track

For interested residents, up to four categorical residency positions annually are dedicated to more intensive training in primary care.

Track-Specific Curriculum:

Additional Primary Care block during intern year — First year residents who have elected the primary care track will be assigned a second month of outpatient general internal medicine, typically at one of the Virginia Mason medical centers. This allows interns to have more up-front immersion in primary care practice and experience in multiple clinic settings. This block is in lieu of an additional inpatient month, allowing residents to focus more time toward outpatient medicine even during their intern year.

Continuity Clinic at Eastgate Public Health Center — The residents in the primary care track are preferentially assigned to the Eastgate clinic for their weekly full-day continuity clinic. Eastgate is a King County public health clinic that has partnered with Virginia Mason since 2008 to serve the health care needs of the community and improve resident education. Residents at Eastgate quickly establish continuity with their panel of patients and are truly seen as the patients’ primary physicians. Residents learn to manage a stunning diversity of illness presentations in a resource-limited setting with the assistance of Virginia Mason teaching faculty. The partnership between Eastgate and Virginia Mason allows for expanded access to primary care for underserved patients, all the while providing a rich educational opportunity for our residents.

“Everyone here helps keep Eastgate open. It’s staffed by the same attendings as our downtown clinics, which means you get to care for truly underserved patients but with the same excellent educators we get at the other sites.”  — Erika Cunningham, R3

Secondary Continuity Clinic — Second year residents are assigned a secondary continuity clinic for an additional half-day per week. This clinic can be the downtown Virginia Mason clinic, a Virginia Mason satellite clinic, or the Pike Market Medical Clinic downtown. This experience allows residents to practice in multiple systems, expanding exposure to different clinic settings and adding diversity to their patient panels.

Outpatient Elective Experiences — An advantage of Virginia Mason for residents interested in primary care is that most of our subspecialty rotations have an outpatient focus (with the option of seeing hospital consults for those interested). Because of this, most subspecialty rotations are directly applicable to a career in primary care. In addition, there is a subset of two-week elective rotations tailored to residents interested in practicing outpatient general medicine, including outpatient gynecology/women’s health, outpatient general surgery, hyperbaric medicine, orthopedics/sports medicine, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, physical medicine and rehabilitation and urology. These electives are open to all residents, but are preferentially assigned to residents in the primary care track.

Primary Care Innovation Elective — New in 2015, this four-week elective is a partnership between multiple Seattle-area internal medicine and family medicine residency programs. The purpose of the elective is to expose residents to innovative primary care systems throughout Seattle, with a focus on understanding the structure of these systems.

Weekly Didactic — In addition to the track-specific activities above, all residents participate in weekly didactics on clinic-specific topics. These didactics are led by our excellent primary care faculty, who also serve as clinical preceptors. Our primary care faculty are consistently rated by residents as some of the best teachers in the program. Many have also been recognized by their colleagues and patients as among the top doctors in Seattle. All residents, primary care and otherwise, benefit from their expertise and enthusiasm for teaching.