Eckstein T, Teitelbaum H. Occupational and environmental medicine in a family medicine residency. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2001;101(5):288–298. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2001.101.5.288.
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Well-rounded instruction in occupational medicine as part of family medicine residency training is feasible through a program that balances a longitudinal curriculum of monthly occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) lectures, community-based OEM patient care, and worksite assessment. Such training would help equip family medicine residents to integrate occupational medicine into their practices, which, in light of a shortage of board-certified practitioners in OEM, would help fill community needs. The Intern-Resident Training Committee of Carson City Hospital in rural Michigan established both learner and institutional goals and objectives for such a program of instruction. A learner-needs assessment found appreciable interest among the residents for occupational medicine training. In addition, results of a survey of the occupational health community suggested there is inadequate coverage of OEM in medical schools and residencies. Furthermore, a focus group of occupational health managers revealed that clarity of communication and standardization of reporting were paramount concerns. Instruments for standardized OEM history and for OEM case management were developed for use within the residency continuity clinic. The curriculum was implemented with a variety of teaching strategies, including worksite assessment. Practice-based, case-oriented instruction was subsequently phased into the program as residents assumed responsibility for managing cases under the supervision of family medicine preceptors knowledgeable in OEM. An occupational medicine rotation was developed that included focused clinical exposure to OEM patients and studies that would lead to eligibility for a certificate of additional qualification in occupational medicine. Learner evaluations included chart reviews and patient satisfaction surveys. Program evaluations included interviews with occupational health managers. The residents were judged by their preceptors to have performed well. The responses of the health managers and the patients were positive. This program in occupational medicine was found to be educationally sound with demonstrated community benefit and patient satisfaction. Further, it is cost-effective, requiring no external funding.
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