The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) was created by the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 and its first chair was hired in 1996. Since then, the department has systematically built clinical, research, and educational programs that have become deeply integrated into the fabric of Penn Medicine’s academic and clinical programs, the university, and the community.
A greater focus on high-value care and population health, the existing unmet community need requiring coordinated action coupled with the growth of our health system, created the impetus for the Family Medicine and Community Health Department. We have built a strong slate of current programs in education, patient care, research, and community health initiatives that involve strong collaborative relationships with federally-qualified health centers and other health care entities in the community.
Penn’s resources offer unique opportunities for the department to train the primary care and community health workforce of the future with expertise in community health, inter-professional practice, and research. Over more than two decades, the department has established itself as a prime setting for preparing the next generation of family medicine and community health leaders. The department has also led in public health and global health programs in Penn Medicine including a global health fellowship and an MD/MPH program.
Our research programs have grown considerably over the last two decades with programs in mental health, community health, chronic disease prevention and screening, and disparities. In fiscal year 2015, we realized a forty-two percent increase in research funding in an increasingly limited and competitive environment. Our Mixed Methods Research Lab (MMRL) is highly sought after as the standard for integrating patient and community voice in research.
Our community focus is not only evident in our research but also in our clinical care. Our care is distinguished by a holistic approach to treating the entire family and addressing the continuum of care. We provide clinical services in West Philadelphia and many patients walk from their homes to the clinic. Despite limited space and constricted geographic presence, our access for new patients has been among the best in health systems and our visit volume increased by 5% from FY10 to FY15 and our net patient revenue increased by 20%.
As the health care ecosystem evolves, the department, along with its partners, is poised to advance Penn Medicine’s strategic objectives through leadership of population health management, healthcare delivery research, and integrating social context in both clinical care and research.