Welcome to the Department of Family & Community Medicine

Family and community medicine

Message from our chair

The Department of Family & Community Medicine is the foundation of training in generalist medicine and community healthcare at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Through innovation in curricular development and in clinical practice, the Department is committed to training Family Physicians of the highest quality who become regional leaders in health system development, to the provision of cutting edge healthcare services to the people of southern, central and western Illinois, and to advancing the principles of Family Medicine and population health through the scholarship of discovery, education, integration, and application.

To this end, the department administers five regionally based Family Medicine residency training programs, two fellowships in Primary Care Musculoskeletal Medicine, as well as a new Lincoln Scholars medical student track to give students the knowledge, skills and perspective to provide care in rural areas.  All programs emphasize interprofessional integration and community engagement.

In addition, the department is honored to house the SIU Physician Assistant Masters Training Program which graduates 40 highly trained PA’s each year to also serve health care needs in our region.  This nationally recognized program will be expanding to include a doctoral program (DMSc) beginning in 2021 as well.

Faculty members of the Department play integral roles in curricular development and teaching in all four years of medical school, and, in collaboration with the Southern Illinois University-Carbondale College of Applied Sciences and Arts, in all years of the Physician Assistant Program. We welcome you to explore our philosophy and programs through the pages of this website.

Since 1971, the SIU Department of Family & Community Medicine (FCM) has played a major role in meeting the healthcare needs of the communities and people of Illinois. The primary responsibility of our department is an 66 county region populated by 2,200,000 people who live in an area approximated by the southwest side of a line drawn from Rock Island in the central-northwest to Effingham in the southeast. Our residency training programs in Alton, Carbondale, Decatur, Quincy and Springfield have been leaders in innovation in healthcare delivery, and have produced a cadre of family physicians who are the soul of healthcare delivery in this region.

Through 2020, FCM has graduated over 900 family physicians, half of which practice in the State of Illinois and over 40% of whom practice in state and federal healthcare shortage areas. Each year, FCM graduates 27 family physicians (soon to be 33 with the addition of the Alton program) and assists in the training of 40 SIU physician assistant students. Future trends in healthcare and education provide our department a variety of opportunities.

In 2012, our department began a transition in becoming a federally qualified health care system through 330 federal grant funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

All of our residency sites are now FQHC sites and provide interprofessional training for our learners as well as experiential learning in population health and addressing social determinants of health.  In addition, we have expanded to work with our regional critical access hospitals as well as health departments, mental health centers and community organizations to provide behavioral health, dental health and primary care services.  By training within our sites, learners are more apt to recognize such needs and provide such services in the future.

Our department must be a leader in the innovation of healthcare delivery systems with strong primary care infrastructure, particularly in light of the dramatic changes in medical science, population health demographics, and health information technology. Our department must be a leader in educational methodologies, as we teach medical students, physician assistant students and residents to develop the most efficient and effective personal medical homes and the necessary broad range of skills.

Our department must be flexible, adapting to and influencing national trends in healthcare in order to strive for better health, better healthcare, lower cost and joy in practice.  Indeed, current trends in healthcare in the US provide our department unparalleled challenges and opportunities for the future.

Best regards,
Janet Albers, MD
Professor and Chair
Department of Family & Community Medicine

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