Our department has a long history as a "teaching practice" in the field of Family Medicine and Community Health.
Penn Family Care opened its doors on July 1, 1997 with five physicians (Drs. Bowman, Fisher, Krause, Neill and Nicklin) and, since that time, has grown dramatically, now including over 40 physicians. Annually, there are over 45,000 outpatient visits, 1,500 inpatient stays, 400 deliveries, and the occasional home visit. Many of the patients come from the surrounding West Philadelphia neighborhood, with others making the trek from elsewhere in the Greater Philadelphia region and further.
Penn Family Care is a teaching practice. This means that the providers teach medical students from Penn's School of Medicine on a regular basis. As a result, the patient will often find a medical student working with the doctor in order to learn about Family Medicine. Many patients choose to come to Penn Medicine's practices because they are teaching practices, which means that they stay up–to–date on medicine in order to teach. Some may be confused when the doctor says “I'm a resident doctor.” Resident physicians have already graduated from medical school and have chosen to pursue additional training in Family Medicine — sometimes after a period of active practice or after they've already completed another specialty, PhD, or public health training. More often they begin their residency just after completing medical school. They function as full members of the Penn Family Care physician staff, including teaching students as described above.
In addition to seeing patients in the office, the department's physicians often participate in other activities outside the office, such as teaching students, hospital rounds, and baby delivery. Because of these other duties, there are office teams of physicians working together to see patients, answer phone calls, and take care of urgent problems that arise in the practice. Patients should always ask to see their specific doctor but, if unavailable, help can be provided by one of the other team members.