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What will it be like to be at a brand new residency?

From an educational standpoint, it won’t be much different from being at a decades old residency; our residents will rotate through the same set of core rotations as any Family Medicine resident, taught by a fabulous teaching faculty with years of experience teaching residents and students. If anything, the educational differences will lie in the way our program will provide dynamic up-to-date didactics and innovative teaching modalities (like Simulation Lab and interactive lectures). Moreover, the first few classes will have the unique opportunity to work closely with attendings without the constraints of the typical “team hierarchy” where R1s report to R2s and R3s, who report to the attending. If you are a learner who prefers personalized teaching and feedback from an attending who sees you as an equal, you’ll love being part of our inaugural classes. You will get to work with faculty who are truly excited to meet and teach you.

Other unique features at a new residency like ours include the opportunity to give feedback that will make a difference, and to have a strong voice in reflecting on and improving your own residency experience as it is happening. For example, you won’t ever hear us say, “Sorry, that’s how it’s always been at the residency,” or “We’ve been doing it this way for 40 years; we’re certainly not going to change it now.” We are looking forward to having our first few classes of residents work with us to help shape the residency culture and create traditions and legacy for future generations of residents.

What kind of applicants are you looking for to fill your first few classes of residents?

Because a new residency program is a bit different than a long established one, we are looking for the kind of learner who will thrive in this type of new and exciting learning environment.  Self-motivated applicants with maturity, flexibility, and leadership experience and interest will certainly be highly regarded, as well as those who may be interested in taking an active role in developing the traditions and culture that will characterize this residency for years to come.

Does Kaiser accept international medical graduates?

Yes, we accept applications from international graduates with the appropriate documentation.

What type of board scores are necessary to get in to your program?

Kaiser Residency and Fellowship programs across California tend to be very competitive, receiving hundreds of applications every year. However, each program makes selections for interviewing and matching based on the applicant’s entire file. It’s important to have a well-rounded file that includes solid board scores (passed on first attempt), community involvement, a clearly defined passion for Family Medicine, and letters of recommendation that capture your clinical and personal strengths.

Do you have a university affiliation?

We have a strong academic affiliation with UCSF School of Medicine with all faculty having UCSF clinical teaching appointments. We regularly participate in conferences, faculty development, collaboration, and research as part of the UCSF Bay Area Family Medicine Alliance. Nearly all of our core faculty have completed the UCSF Faculty Development Fellowship.

Third year UCSF medical students spend their longitudinal third year family and community medicine clerkship at both our Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park facilities.

Since 2010 we have also been an academic affiliate of Touro Osteopathic Medical School, providing the full complement of core and elective clerkships for their third and fourth year students with about 16 students on campus any given day. Many of our faculty hold Touro clinical appointments as well.

What is your patient population like? Is there diversity?

As a medical center that provides care to over 60% of the entire population of Sonoma County, our patients are a reflection of the growing diversity in our county demographics. With approximately 10-15% Medicare, 10-12% Medicaid, and 10-25% ACA patients, residents will have the opportunity to care for a socioeconomically diverse patient population. The largest ethnic minority in our patient population is Latino, accounting for a growing portion of patient membership; many of the staff (MA, RN) in our family medicine center are bilingual/bicultural Spanish-speaking. Over 29 languages are spoken regularly at our medical center; other more represented ethnic and racial minorities in our patient population include African American, East Asian, Southeast Asian, and South Asian. 24-hour phone translation is available to help physicians care for patients speaking a multitude of languages.

On my electives, can I do off-campus or international rotations?

Yes! The Elective Away rotation in the third year allows residents the opportunity to travel. The Kaiser Permanente Global Health Program funds licensed residents in a variety of programs, connecting with hospitals and non-profits in Ugenya, Kenya, Lusaka, Zambia, Da Nang, Vietnam, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the Philippines, Guatemala, Honduras, and Ecuador, as well as other internationally-based programs. Residents may go off-campus only locally during their second and third year Elective rotations, as they are required to return to continuity clinic most afternoons. The program offers a plethora of possibilities for in-house Electives, reflecting the multi-specialty healthcare system of Kaiser Permanente.

What sorts of research opportunities are available?

Residents are required to complete two scholarly activity projects, one which is in quality. There are multiple opportunities for residents to participate in scholarly activities. Some are structured requirements and others are voluntary activities supported by the residency faculty as needed. All residents are required to conduct a project to improve performance and ultimately quality of care for patients, and all residents will get faculty support and advice to meet this requirement. Performance improvement (PI) and quality initiatives must be aligned with the organization’s larger goals and objectives. Residents will be given a list of PI topics and paired up with local resources and content experts in their project. First year residents will attend a local Performance Improvement Course. A Performance Improvement (PI) “Primer” is provided to help residents learn and apply the performance improvement process. Residents will also be supported by Kaiser’s Regional Department of Research (DOR), which has biostatisticians who can assist the residents with their research and data. The Regional GME office will support a full-time Research Project Manager in our local facility who will assist the residents in their PI projects. Last, Kaiser Permanente is also joining the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)’s Open School, which will also provide input on quality and performance improvement projects as well as access to related online courses. Residents are granted protected time during specific rotations each year to work on their project. At the end of their third year, residents are expected to give a presentation on their project.  Residents are financially supported for presenting at conferences.

I’m going to be so busy. How can I still “thrive” and stay fit?

Our residency program values a healthy work/life balance. We do not need our residents and other medical learners to “run” our hospital or ambulatory medical offices, and so have designed the Family Medicine residents’ schedule to maximize the educational experiences and minimize extended “call.” Beyond strict adherence to ACGME Resident Duty Hours requirements, our supportive faculty are present to ensure that our residents “thrive.” Our faculty act as role models, encouraging healthy, balanced lifestyles. Residents will have regular Personal and Professional Development sessions facilitated by a skilled therapist in addition to Balint groups to provide check-in and support during this dramatic time of personal and professional growth.

Healthy eating is a focus for our organization overall and supported in the selections offered in the cafeteria and conferences. Our cardiologists lecture on whole food, plant-based diets and the complimentary meals embrace these teachings. Kaiser Permanente prides itself in modeling the values we teach and we welcome participation in maintaining our organic garden located right outside our hospital and medical offices.

Exercise is encouraged with two employee gyms on campus and ready access to a number of off-campus fitness centers. Nature beckons for year round outdoor activities, including hiking and trail running/mountain biking in the many local and state parks, kite flying and beach walking along the stunning Sonoma coastline, skiing in nearby Tahoe, and much more. Our Integrative Medicine curriculum includes an interactive curriculum, Finding Balance in Medical Life, which includes time for self-reflection, personal heath goal setting, and respect for the body, mind, and spiritual aspects of resident experience. It’s not always easy during residency, but we do our best to make it easier for you to embrace this critical time in your training and stay well!

Where would I live?

Santa Rosa can best be thought of as a city with four large neighborhoods (or quadrants) and a downtown in the middle. Each quadrant has its own character, and there are many different nice neighborhoods to choose from. While most physicians live in Santa Rosa, you can also live in a wide variety of settings just within a 20 minute radius of Santa Rosa, including Sebastopol, Windsor, Kenwood, Rohnert Park (home to Sonoma State University), and Petaluma. There are also beautiful rural settings in “west county,” such as Forestville. It is also feasible to take advantage of the reverse commute into Santa Rosa from Marin County.

Can residents moonlight?

Yes. Residents who have a California license and are in good academic standing may moonlight after their second year.

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