October 18, 2010

SoM receives $3.84 mill to expand urban health residencies

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has been awarded a $3.84 million federal grant to support the creation of the Osler Urban Health Residency Program, which will bolster the institution’s mission to produce primary care physician leaders versed in the medical and social issues that afflict the underserved of Baltimore City.

The five-year grant, part of $320 million in funding available under the new Affordable Care Act, is designed to expand primary care residency programs throughout the nation. The Urban Health Residency track, the primary care arm of the renowned Osler Medical Housestaff Training Program, will annually match four residents who will undergo three years of training in the Department of Medicine, with a focus on addressing the growing medical needs of underserved populations. The track will partner with its sister program, the Johns Hopkins Internal Medicine–Pediatrics Urban Health Residency Program, which began training four residents in July.

“The need for primary care physicians and leaders has never been more acute nationwide,” said Edward D. Miller, dean of the School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Major U.S. cities, including our own, clearly face a primary care work force crisis at a time when health care issues prevalent in our inner cities are rising. This grant sends a clear message about the importance of primary care in managing the complex health problems of our urban populations.”

The Affordable Care Act grant will cover the costs of the residents’ salaries, malpractice and health insurance, and expenditures for recruitment and residency-related activities, according to internist and pediatrician Lenny Feldman, the Urban Health Residency track director.

“With the passage of health care reform, primary care’s central role in health has been reaffirmed, and the emergence of primary care physician leaders is crucial,” Feldman said. “This grant will help us in our attempts to address the growing medical needs in underserved communities by providing resident physicians with specialized training in managing the myriad health problems, from high blood pressure and diabetes to alcoholism, AIDS and domestic violence.”

After three years of training in internal medicine, the graduates will receive full tuition support from Baltimore Medical System to earn a master’s degree in public health or business administration, or a similar advanced degree in an area of interest, while practicing part time as primary care physicians at Baltimore Medical System, which provides care in medically underserved communities.

Rosalyn Stewart, the associate track director, said that the program will focus on social and medical issues that are underemphasized in traditional training. “Healthy living only comes about when all of those issues are dealt with in a coordinated and comprehensive fashion,” she said.

Funding for the combined Internal Medicine–Pediatrics Urban Health Residency Program currently comes in part from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the Osler Center for Clinical Excellence at Johns Hopkins, as well as a grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

This new grant will eventually add 20 residents to the Osler Medical Housestaff Training Program.

“This is an important addition to Johns Hopkins and Baltimore,” said Charlie Wiener, director of the Osler program, which will begin in July 2011. “The city and our institution need a program like this.”

“Johns Hopkins is in the business of creating leaders, and we all know that we haven’t created enough urban health primary care leaders,” said Myron “Mike” Weisfeldt, the William Osler Professor of Medicine and director of the Department of Medicine. “I am confident that physicians emerging from the Urban Health Residency Program will be able to improve the health care of patients in urban settings around the country.”

For more on the Urban Health Residency track, go to www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Medicine/hstrainingprogram/index.html.