FAQ

Why would I want to be at the SIU Alton Family Medicine Residency Program -- a brand new program? 

Being at a new program certainly is different than stepping into a program that has been long established.  Your first year class will be the ONLY residents at the program for the 2021-22 year.  While this means that you will not have leadership from senior residents to depend upon initially, it also means that you will have direct interaction with and supervision by attending physicians in everything you do and will pave the way for those residents who come after you.  As a new program, we are also not bound to tradition and are free to explore innovative forms of education and patient care delivery.

Your residency class will form especially close bonds as you participate in the new program.  You will have direct input into decisions that are made regarding the future of the program, and your feedback will be essential as we strive to make our opportunities for patient care, education, and service the best that they can be for you and the residents who follow. 

Each of you will get the chance to be “acting chief resident” multiple times in your first year of residency.  This will allow you leadership experiences early in your residency program, experiences that normally are limited to third year residents.

Being at a new program may have some challenges as well.  The attending physicians in the program will be doing more direct patient care and supervision in the first year or two to make sure that residents do not exceed their work hour limitations.  This, however, also means that we as faculty know exactly what your workload and duties really are—something that many faculty don’t understand in established programs that have had residents for many years. 

Will the program have the expertise I need?

SIU School of Medicine Department of Family and Community Medicine (SIU FCM) is responsible for the academic administration of the Program.  SIU FCM has nearly 50 years of successful Family Medicine training at its other four residency sites in Carbondale, Decatur, Springfield, and Quincy, having graduated over 900 Board Certified Family Physicians who practice throughout the United States and around the world.  Our faculty have ample residency education experience, and our sponsoring hospital, as part of the Barnes-Jewish-Children’s system, has access to institutional experience with resident education throughout the St. Louis metro area.  Indeed, as a resident, you will benefit from this directly as you train alongside residents in your first and second years in Pediatrics at one of the country’s top Pediatrics programs at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.  In addition, the outpatient clinical partner, SIHF, is a Federally Qualified Health Center that has housed another Family Medicine residency program for over 20 years.  All three of these partners are fully committed to making your residency experience the best it can be.

What is innovative about this program?

All residency programs are bound to some basic requirements in terms of clinical experiences and time spent in various activities throughout the three year program, in accordance with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME); however, each program has its own unique identity.  The SIU Alton program will offer special emphasis on evidence-based medicine (EBM) and information mastery, patient and community advocacy, outreach to vulnerable populations, POCUS, MAT, and procedural training.  In addition, our program offers a high degree of individualized experiences depending on resident interest and need for preparation for the practices they will have in the future.  Residents who are interested in exploring academic medicine will be fully supported.  Leadership training will also be emphasized and individualized, as physicians in all environments are leaders—in their practices, their organizations, and their communities.

Is your program IMG friendly?

Yes!  International medical school graduates are welcome and can apply through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

Is your program unopposed?

Yes, it is.  There are no other residencies rotating through Alton Memorial Hospital or the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation clinic.  There are, however, medical student learners on site, but they will not distract or detract from your residency training experiences.

Will there be a lot of travelling between sites?

Thankfully, no.  Out of our three participating sites, Alton Memorial Hospital and Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation are located on the same campus.  St. Louis Children’s Hospital is located approximately 40 minutes (22 miles) from Alton Memorial Hospital.

Am I a good fit for your program?

We’ve been asked this question a lot and it’s a good one.  Our ideal candidate is interested in developing leadership skills, is extremely passionate about Family Medicine and serving our patients, their familes, and their communities.  If you demonstrate this through a personal statement or elsewhere in your application, we will notice.  Those are the candidates we want to interview.

What concessions will you make for applicants affected by COVID-19?

We understand that the pandemic ruined everyone’s plans, cancelled sub-internships, rotations, and/or clerkships, and put a hold on taking USMLE Step 2.  Our best advice is to make your application stronger by having really positive and detailed letters of recommendation and an even stronger personal statement.  Once you’re able to take Step 2, go for it.  We do not have cutoff scores for the exams, but we do look at pass attempts.

What is Alton’s demographic info?

Alton's population is approximately 30,000 residents, but our estimated service area population is about 250,000.  Alton is in Madison County and the city demographic information (from www.census.gov) breaks down as follows:

White - 71.0%
Black or African American - 24.1%
American Indian and Alaska Native - 0.1%
Asian - 0.4%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander - 0.0%
Two or More Races - 4.1%
Hispanic or Latino - 2.5%
White alone, not Hispanic or Latino - 69.0%