Patients as Partners in FCM Residency Selection

As family medicine practices seek to become more equitable, an important aspect of working towards that goal involves decision-making capacity, governance, and how power dynamics affect healthcare system-level decisions. Patient and community engagement has been highlighted as an important strategy towards prioritizing patient and community perspectives more at the system level. To this end, the FCM Residency Program at the Family Health Center at SF General Hospital has progressively deepened its relationship with the FHC patient advisory councils (PACs).

The PAC members provide recommendations on resident quality improvement projects, partner with leadership team members to discuss existing health disparities at the clinic, and in 2019-2021, presented to medical student applicants as part of their interview Day. After three years of having patients participate peripherally in resident interviews, in the 2022-23 residency cycle, the program piloted a program in which patients are an integral part of the resident selection process.

Patients interviewed applicants, ​provided input about what we should prioritize in resident selection, and participated as voting members on the resident selection committee. This pilot has revealed many learnings and opened up many areas of inquiry. A majority of participants agreed it increased equity in the selection process and wanted to repeat the pilot.

Standing Room Only

In May 2023, PAC members, residency staff, and faculty shared lessons learned from the pilot with a packed audience at FCM's Jack Rodnick Colloquium (pictured above right). They engaged participants in an intentional process of discussing how patient and community engagement can and should be integrated into the family medicine residency application process.

[L-R) Adriana Cabrera, Gisela Venegas, Elida Vasquez, Valiree Thomlinson, Anjana Sharma, Melania Millar, Royster Miles, Bernadette Okereke, Robin Young. (Credit: Anjana Sharma)

In Nov. 2023, the group shared their work at a NAPCRG 2023 workshop (pictured below).