Aims to Increase Local Primary Care Providers
Plans to Welcome Residents in Summer 2022
The idea to develop a Family Medicine residency training program at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield grew out of a plan to help support the hospital services BFMC provides to its community, and to establish a vitally needed pipeline of primary care clinicians for the Pioneer Valley.
Nationally, many family medicine graduates set up practices near their training programs, according to Dr. Robert Baldor, founding chair of the new Department of Family Medicine for the University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate campus.
Family Medicine Cares for Patients and Their Families Holistically
Family Medicine is Built Around a Social Unit—the Family
Many other specialties are geared to a specific patient population (such as, children or women), or a single organ system (like cardiology), or an intervention (such as surgery).
So, family physicians are trained to deal with the entire spectrum of clinical issues experienced by family members over their lifetimes.
Broad Skill Set Supports Patient Care in Provider Shortage Areas
In Massachusetts, family medicine practices see mostly adult patients, but it's very typical to also provide a significant amount of care to infants and children. Some family practices also include obstetrics, nursery, and nursing home care.
Family physicians can fulfill important healthcare needs, particularly where specialists and subspecialists are less available—and there are several such areas in western MA, including Franklin County.
It Takes a Community to Train a Family Physician
Adapting Practice to Meet Community Needs
Family physicians often mold the nature of their practices to meet their community's medical needs.
The emphasis on outpatient medicine, continuity of care, health maintenance, and disease prevention makes family physicians superb primary care providers, who also have the training to coordinate care among different specialists and subspecialists when these services are needed.
Establishing a Family Health Teaching Center
The Family Medicine residency will be a three-year ACGME-accredited training program, with a total of 12 residents. It will be based at a new family health teaching center created from the soon-to-be renovated Baystate Greenfield Family Medicine practice on the first floor of the Sanderson Building. The plan is to welcome the first residents at the end of June 2022.
While the core focus is to train family physicians, when fully operational the teaching center will also educate advanced practice and behavioral health providers.
"I look forward to working with the hospital, my specialty colleagues, advanced practice and behavioral health providers, and the greater Greenfield community to achieve that goal for Franklin County," says Dr. Baldor.
"While it has been stated that it takes a village to raise a child, I’ve come to realize that it takes a community to train a family physician."
Robert Baldor MD is a Vermonter born and bred, having grown up in north central Vermont. He earned his undergraduate degree in Medical Technology and his medical degree from the University of Vermont. He completed his Family Medicine residency at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, where he also served as Chief Resident.
Following training, he served for three years on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico as an officer in the US Public Health Service, paying back his National Health Service Corps medical school scholarship.
Dr. Baldor was recruited back to Worcester to be the Associate Director for the UMMS Family Medicine Residency Program, and later the Residency Director. He has continued on faculty there until his transition to the Baystate campus of UMass Medical School.