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Elective Tracks

At Saint Joseph Health System you can use your elective time specializing in areas that interest you.

We have a wide variety of areas to choose from, including:

  • Behavioral Health
  • College Health
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Geriatrics
  • Hospitalists
  • Informatics
  • International Health
  • Obstetrics
  • Occupational Medicine
  • Palliative Care
  • Public Health
  • Research
  • Rural Health
  • Sports Medicine
  • Women's Health

Read on below for more information about some of our tracks, and if you would like to receive additional information about our program, please send an e-mail to moc.cmrjs@sdampahc.

Behavioral Health

Resident physicians wishing to pursue an interest and further their knowledge in Behavioral Health will have several opportunities to do so during their Family Medicine Residency at Saint Joseph Health System.

Resident physicians at Saint Joseph Health System will be exposed to the behavioral health arena – initially through our core curriculum, which is longitudinal.  One faculty Psychologist, Rachel Feit PsyD, is responsible for the behavioral health curriculum, as well as any elective track.

For the resident who wishes to pursue more advanced experience in behavioral health, Dr. Vachon will help to provide this training according to the goals of the resident.  These goals might include more advanced psychiatric competence, the application of health psychology to patient treatment regimens, advanced relational skills in the doctor-patient interaction, gaining specific counseling skills with particular patient populations, or any other area of behavioral medicine.

During a resident's three years, an abundance of resources will be pointed out, in order to allow the resident to focus their reading in areas of interest.

In addition, available medical education conferences offered at a national level will be discussed with the resident. The residency provides five days/$1500 per year to attend such medical education conferences.

For more information, please contact:

SJHS Family Medicine Residency Program

(877) 635-8788(877) 635-8788 FREE

Emergency Medicine

Resident physicians wishing to pursue their interest and further their skills in Emergency Medicine/Urgent Care will have multiple opportunities to do so during their Family Medicine Residency at Saint Joseph Health System

In addition to the required Emergency Room experience, residents will be able to spend more time in the ER, via the six blocks of electives that are available at SJHS.  A variety of settings/emergency rooms exist within the SJHS system.  The emergency room at our SJHS Mishawaka campus continues to grow its volume exponentially.  Residents have proven to be a vital asset to its functioning.  In fact, our own ER regularly has residents moonlighting in the evenings to help offset the large volume of patients seen on a daily basis.

As a resident physician at our program, you will already be required to participate in (and pass) ACLS, NRP, PALS, and ALSO (Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics).  The ATLS Course is available in the community, and this course is taken advantage of by many residents within the program. 

Residents who have a strong interest in the area of emergency medicine will find the ability to moonlight in this part of Indiana to be quite easy.  In Indiana, only one year of postgraduate training/residency is required for U.S. medical graduates (two years for foreign medical graduates) to be able to obtain a permanent license, and therefore, be able to moonlight independently.  The residency makes it our responsibility to see that you are ready for such experiences before you are allowed to pursue them.

Several of our Family Medicine Residency alumni work now in a full-time Emergency Medicine setting and can serve as resources as you pursue this area of interest.  One of our recent graduates, Garrick Collins (2012), is practicing as a full-time emergency room physician in rural Arkansas.  He was able to garner enough experience through his rotations and elective time to practice right out of residency.

Other opportunities to further ones interest in this area will include national medical education conferences (each resident has a yearly CME benefit).

Of note, is the availability of post-residency fellowships in Emergency Medicine, of which past graduates of our program have taken advantage.

Geriatrics

Resident physicians wishing to pursue an interest and further their knowledge in the area of Geriatrics will have several opportunities to do so during their Family Medicine Residency at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center.

The faculty at SJRMC Family Medicine Residency includes Ted Neumann, M.D., who possesses a Certificate of Added Qualification in Geriatrics.  Dr. Neumann has maintained an avid interest and practice in this field and currently serves as the Director responsible for our Geriatrics curriculum.

Resident’s individual goals can be met in a block rotation format (residents have six blocks of elective time available), as well as longitudinal experiences over the resident’s three years).

While our core curriculum involves our second and third year residents maintaining a nursing home presence by following patients with Dr. Neumann (and attending rounds at the nursing homes), there is also a longitudinal experience of geriatric-related lectures.

For the resident who wishes to further their knowledge, this opportunity is available by working directly with Dr. Neumann.  An increase of patient volume at a local nursing home, as well as patients representing the senior part of our patient population (in both the ambulatory setting, as well as homebound) can be directed to any resident with an increased interest in this area.

A number of longitudinal experiences are available within the community, which can add to this experience.  These include (but are not limited to) involvement with a local Hospice organization, community health centers that cater toward the geriatric population, community organizations whose service goal is to assist the geriatric population, and the directed reading (by Dr. Neumann) in this area of medicine.

Several medical education conferences exist nationally and can be attended by the resident physician by using the 5-day/$1500.00 annual CME benefit.

Residents wishing to pursue a CAQ in Geriatrics will find their goals facilitated by working directly with Dr. Neumann during their three years in residency.

Hospitalists

Resident physicians wishing to pursue an interest and further their knowledge in the area of Hospital Medicine will have several opportunities to do so during their Family Medicine Residency at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center.

Residents’ individual goals can be met in a block rotation format (residents have six months of elective time available), as well as longitudinal experiences over the resident’s three years).

While the core curriculum of the Family Medicine Residency at SJRMC consists of 7.5 blocks of inpatient general medicine, as well as several more blocks of medicine sub-specialties (Cardiology, Rehab, etc.), residents have the ability to spend additional time learning hospital-based medicine.  Residents may use elective time to do rotations with the hospitalists within SJRMC, or with other hospital-based physicians (intensivists, pulmonologists, cardiologists).

Residents will also be directed in their reading in both professional journals as well as textbooks to further their expertise in this area.  Several national educational conferences are now available, and the resident can be given direction as to ones that will best fit their needs and goals.  The annual CME benefit can be used towards attending these conferences.

Obstetrics

Resident physicians wishing to pursue an interest and further their knowledge in the area of Obstetrics will have the opportunity to do so during their Family Medicine Residency at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center.

Several items make additional obstetrical training/experience at SJRMC ideal.  These are:

  • We are located in Indiana – the best state in the nation to practice OB from a malpractice perspective.  This “less litigious” atmosphere has attracted more obstetricians as well as family physicians to practice obstetrics.  You, as a resident, benefit from a multitude of mentors (Family Physicians as well as Obstetricians).
  • All of the full-time Family Medicine faculty practice obstetrics (I challenge you to find this at many, if any, other programs).
  • You learn from both Obstetricians and Family Physicians.  This means that you not only will see the high risk OB patients with the Obstetricians during your OB blocks, you will also have the opportunity to manage obstetrical patients with a family medicine perspective during your longitudinal experience in the Family Medicine Center.

While the ACGME requires only two months of obstetrical training in a Family Medicine Residency, we at Saint Joseph’s require a minimum of 4.5 blocks.  Should a resident wish to gain more experience, they may utilize any of their seven months of elective time to pursue this.  Your level of involvement is limited only by your enthusiasm and initiative.

Sports Medicine

Resident physicians wishing to pursue an interest and further their knowledge in the area of Sports Medicine will have the opportunity to do so during their Family Medicine Residency at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center.

A variety of goals and interests are often raised by resident physicians at the beginning of their residency experience.  While some resident physicians may have decided early that they are in pursuit of a Sports Medicine Fellowship position, many resident physicians wish to focus their efforts on obtaining a solid Sports Medicine education during their three years of residency.  For those resident physicians who wish to acquire an added level of experience in Sports Medicine during their three years (without pursuing an eventual Sports Medicine Fellowship), a number of opportunities exist.

Up to six blocks of elective time can be used to spend in block rotations that will strengthen this interest, with the most obvious being additional time on a Sports Medicine rotation with Dr. Steve Simons, our Sports Medicine Fellowship Director.  His year-round involvement with several area colleges (including the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, and Bethel College), as well as his own Sports Medicine Clinic, afford ample opportunity for a resident physician to acquire an incredible strength in Sports Medicine knowledge in their three years.

In addition to block rotation, multiple longitudinal experiences exist.  These include (but are not limited to) weekly attendance at area sporting events (such as Friday night football, Saturday track meets, etc.) and sports-related physical examinations that are often times performed in a group setting over the course of the year.

Residents who wish to pursue this area of interest will also be encouraged to participate with Dr. Simons in exploring more specific interest (upper extremity, lower extremity, the female athlete, nutritional issues, etc.) as their interests dictate.

There are numerous national medical education conferences that are available, and our faculty will be able to direct you to ones that will benefit you the most. Residents receive an annual CME benefit of 5 days/$1500 to use towards such educational conferences.  Several texts and journals will also be recommended to you to become familiar with and use in your educational progression.

For the interested resident, weekly didactic conferences occur through the Sports Medicine Fellowship, and these can be made available to the interested resident physician.

Women's Health

Resident physicians wishing to pursue an interest and further their knowledge and expertise in the area of Womens’ Health will have the opportunity to do so during their Family Medicine Residency at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center.

In addition to the exposure resident physicians receive in the area of Women's Health during the core curricular experiences of the residency; they will be given an additional opportunity to become competent in the evaluation and treatment of women's health care.

Participation in extra block rotations (seven blocks of elective time available) may be scheduled in such rotations as Gynecology or Obstetrics.  Additional experience as well as a broadening of knowledge in the area of pap smear interpretation and management of abnormal paps, as well as procedural skills, including D&C, endometrial biopsies, colposcopy, and LEEP will be available.

Many of these opportunities are available on a longitudinal fashion, and weekly to bi-weekly experiences in area college health clinics as well as indigent clinics can facilitate this acquisition of knowledge.

Resident physicians will be given directed reading in one or several of the professional journals as well as textbooks that are available in this area.

Residents will also be advised regarding available medical education conferences that are put on nationally.  Residents will be allowed to use their annual CME benefit to fund their attendance at these courses.

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