Baystate Health is bringing family medicine to Franklin County. Family medicine physicians receive broad training that prepares them to treat all members of a family, from children to adults, and diagnose and treat a wide array of ailments.
Led by Founding Chair Dr. Robert Baldor, the Department of Family Medicine is a partnership between Baystate Franklin Medical Center and UMass Medical School – Baystate. The program will open a teaching health center, which will serve as an educational facility for medical school graduates pursuing further specialty training as family medicine residents, and will be open to new patients in 2022.
This is the first Baystate Health academic department to be housed outside of Springfield and will help to provide greater access to care by increasing the number of physician appointments available to patients.
In addition, the long-term goals of the program are to grow the future healthcare workforce for Franklin County, attract medical professionals to the area, and support Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s commitment to delivering community-based healthcare.
Q&A with the Founding Chair
Dr. Robert Baldor is the professor and founding chair of the Department of Family Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School – Baystate.
What differentiates family medicine physicians from primary care physicians?
Family medicine physicians care for all members of the family, from infants to the elderly, and are trained to treat a wide range of acute and chronic ailments. Family medicine doctors often care for the same patients, and their families, throughout their lifespans, while providing preventive and wellness services such as school or work physicals to birth control and pap smears. These physicians are trained to treat common problems from heart disease and diabetes to acne and skin cancer; and to perform common office-based procedures, like skin biopsies and joint injections. Finally, there is recognition that many patients suffer from behavioral health problems. Family physicians address these needs as well, whether by providing medically assisted treatment for substance abuse or through supportive counseling for depression and anxiety. Family physicians are trained to provide comprehensive care by consulting and collaborating with other specialists as needed, while providing the actual care close to home!
What can patients expect from the new Department of Family Medicine?
Patients can expect high-quality care and access to specialists and medical professionals who are trained to treat for the health needs specific to local residents. Physicians and medical residents who are a part of the Department of Family Medicine are also a part of the community, as they will engage with local resources to help improve the overall health of their patients. Our team-based care approach integrates other areas of care, such as behavioral health, to create a holistic experience for patients. Once established the teaching health center will also provide opportunities for other members of the healthcare team to receive training and education locally.
What are you looking forward to most from opening this new department?
I am looking forward to providing the greater Franklin community with a place where families have access to the care they need, when they need it. I am also particularly excited to welcome the next generation of family medicine physicians to Baystate Health through this medical residency. Historically, many family medicine physicians continue to practice close to the community in which they trained, so my hope is that a significant portion of these medical residents remain local and provide high-quality care rooted in a strong foundation they will develop through this program
If you’re interested in learning more or supporting this project, please contact Philanthropy Officer Christina Cronin at 413-794-7719 or Christina.Cronin@BaystateHealth.org.