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Family Medicine Santa Rosa - FAQ

What kind of applicants are you looking for?

We are looking for people who are passionate about family medicine, who care deeply about patient-centered and team-based care, and who are looking forward to being part of our Sonoma County and KP residency community. As a new(ish) residency, we value self-motivated applicants with maturity, flexibility, and leadership experience and interest, 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. That said, we believe that while it is important to demonstrate capacity to learn and pass required exams, these are not the only markers of a successful physician. We also recognize that standardized board exams carry some inherent bias, so we have developed a holistic file review algorithm that relies on more than just board scores to determine a candidate’s competence, lived experience, and ability to thrive in a rigorous academic environment. Overall, we look for applicants with a well-rounded file that includes a community involvement, lifelong learning, 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 most 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, and over 75% of the Medicare population of Santa Rosa, our patients reflect the broad diversity of our county demographics. Residents will care for a socioeconomically diverse patient population, with approximately 10-15% Medicare, 10-15% Medicaid, and 15-20% ACA patients, including underserved patients living rurally and many families and medically vulnerable older adults living in poverty.

The largest ethnic minority in our patient population is Latinx/Hispanic, accounting for a growing portion of patient membership; many of the staff (MA, RN) in our family medicine center are bilingual/bicultural Spanish-speaking, and residents/faculty with Spanish language skills can cultivate a patient panel with a significant proportion of Spanish-speakers. 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. Our county is home to several recent immigrant communities including Eritrean and Syrian refugee families. 24-hour phone translation is available to help physicians care for patients speaking a multitude of languages.

We are also a community with a large population of people identifying as LGBTQ+, including many faculty, residents, and employees/leaders on our campus. As a resident, gender and sexual health will be part of your standard curriculum and you will have the opportunity to care for many patients of all ages across the gender and sexuality spectrum.

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 sort of research opportunities are available?

Our program provides exciting opportunities for you to explore your passions through scholarly activity. Residents are required to complete two scholarly activity projects in our program. The first project starts in the middle of your first year and can be tailored to fit your career goals and interests. You will pitch your project at our annual Residency Shark Tank event, where both faculty and residents present their scholarly ideas to attract ‘investment’ and mentorship. The second project is a performance improvement project which is completed at the beginning of your third year of residency. Residents will complete 4 hours of face to face training provided by a local performance improvement expert and will then work in pairs on a project aligned with local quality goals.

You will be well supported throughout your residency scholarly activity journey. We have a full time Research Project Manager who provides mentorship and will help you stay on track, and you will have dedicated time to work on your projects. In addition, we have a network of librarians who can assist with literature searches, as well as biostatistical support from the KP Northern California Division of Research, Biostatistical Consulting Unit. Finally, residents are financially supported to attend conferences.

Here is a selected list of recent publications and presentations:
SRO FM Research Overview

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. Our robust Resident Advisor Program provides protected time each month to connect with your resident advisor, offering a chance for reflection, check-in, and guidance if needed.

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 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, Healdsburg, Windsor, Kenwood, Rohnert Park (home to Sonoma State University), and Petaluma. There are also beautiful rural settings in “west county,” such as Forestville and Graton. Here in Sonoma County, you can choose your setting. You can live downtown, or beside vineyards, apple farms, or live oak and redwood forests. You can enjoy a garden year-round, whether it be greens, succulents, or fruit trees. 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.

What are the benefits of going to a newer residency program?

From an educational standpoint, our residents 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. However, we have also had the opportunity to thoughtfully design our curriculum from the ground-up, giving intentional thought to the specific skills and experiences 21st century physicians will need to be effective leaders of the future of healthcare.

Moreover, our first few classes have had the unique opportunity to work closely with attendings who are truly excited to teach, give feedback that gets addressed immediately (and in some cases, incorporated into the very next month’s rotations!), and have a strong voice in reflecting on and improving their own residency experience as it is happening. Our faculty will never 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 classes of residents work with us to help shape the residency culture and create traditions and legacy for future generations of residents.

Is Santa Rosa Family Friendly?

If you have children, Santa Rosa has many top-rated public and private schools to choose from, one of the best community colleges in the country, and Sonoma State University nearby. There are great parks and activities for children. Among the most popular is Howarth Park, with play structures, a train, carousel, and pony rides. A plethora of activities are offered through the city’s Recreation & Parks department, and don’t miss ice skating at the famous Snoopy’s Home Ice rink!

How do I get to Santa Rosa?

Santa Rosa is conveniently located 55 miles or one hour north of San Francisco on US-101. You can fly directly into Sonoma County’s Charles M. Shultz Airport in north Santa Rosa from Seattle, Portland, LA, Orange County, San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas on Alaska Airlines or Allegiant Air. Santa Rosa is an hour and a half drive from both San Francisco and Oakland International Airports. There is a very easy shuttle bus that regularly travels between Sonoma County and both the San Francisco and Oakland airports.

What is a fully integrated health care system?

An integrated health care delivery system is one in which all the providers from various specialties work together in a coordinated fashion to care for the patients. They share relevant medical Information through a single EHR and share goals of care and responsibility for patient outcomes. Here at KP, all providers have KP cell phones. Specialists are available 24/7 as a resource for primary care, and welcome questions and shared responsibility. Family medicine physicians don’t hesitate to text, call, or email specialists at any time for recommendations in all specialty areas. It’s not uncommon to speak to a cardiologist from the family medicine exam room with the patient, to coordinate care and obtain workup or treatment recommendations. Similarly, it is routine for dermatology photos to be sent to the dermatologist through a special dermatoscopic camera in primary care, and for the diagnosis and treatment recommendations to return immediately. Should the patient need to be seen in dermatology, the dermatology department will reach out to the patient directly and coordinate the care. We are all one medical group and work together as a team, and the multi-specialty coordination is palpable. Additionally, social workers, psychologists, dieticians, discharge care coordinators, health educators, and other support staff are readily available.

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