Residency Program Goals
With its commitment to quality medical education and developing competent, culturally sensitive family practice physicians, the WMMC Family Practice Residency Program has carefully fashioned a successful recruitment and selection process. These efforts have in fact resulted in a faculty and resident group which is mindful of program goals:
  1. To attract and train culturally compatible, socially aware, and academically qualified housestaff.
  2. To provide high quality training for young physicians in order to enhance their potential for successful medical practice.
  3. To retain program graduates in areas of unmet health care need - with special reference to the inner city.
  4. To successfully engage in leadership development of faculty and housestaff.

Since its inauguration in July 1988 the WMMC Family Practice Residency Program has developed and strengthened ties with the Greater East Los Angeles community which is home to over 400,000 people, 90% of whom are Latino, many are recent immigrants. It is culturally and linguistically isolated and socio-economically disadvantaged, with approximately 48% of the population expressing “difficulty” with the English language, and a high school drop out rate which exceeds 50%. Approximately 10% of the work-eligible adult population is unemployed or underemployed. Families earning annual incomes of less than $15,000/yr constitute 40% of the community and greater than 30% of the population is un­insured including 40% of its children. As a result, access to health care is limited.

Their health status is at risk because of disproportionate exposure to alcohol, drugs, violence, accidents, and Latinos are known to have high prevalence of several conditions including teen pregnancy, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, there is a high rate of preventable complications of chronic disease and certain types of cancer, such as invasive cervical carcinoma.

The WMMC Family Medicine Residency Program is the centerpiece of the Southern California Minority Medical Education and Training (MINMET) Program, located in the heart of East Los Angeles. The residency’s first priority is to train young physicians to practice in any setting. The second is to create a residency responsive to the needs of a multi-cultural predominantly Latino community.

Taking these two components, the program endeavors to provide residents with an ability to deliver excellent and comprehen­sive health care while obtaining leadership skills, providing high quality health care in a cost effective manner, and developing an ability to care for emerging groups with special needs such as the elderly, women and children, adolescents, those at risk of HIV infection and with acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and those with mental health problems and chemical dependencies.

The WMMC Family Practice Residency Program provides educational experiences to teach residents to provide primary care services to underserved populations. Ninety percent (90%) of patients seen by the residents in the Family Health Center are Medicaid recipients or uninsured and economically disadvantaged.

Through the efforts of its Directors and faculty, the WMMC FPRP has developed and implemented an exemplary Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC) Curriculum. The accomplishments made possible by this unique training curriculum were recognized by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine as a model educational program. As a result of this curriculum the residency program has successfully placed 80% of its graduates in underserved areas.

The residency has recruited twenty-two (22) physician and non-physician faculty members whose gender and ethnic diversity reflect the population being served. All current residents and faculty have a commitment to the East Los Angeles community and continue to demonstrate an interest in shortage area practice.

The recruiting process at WMMC is lengthy and deliberate. We work hard to identify our most appropriate candidates long before medical students apply through the National Residency Matching Program. As a result, we have enjoyed consecutively favorable classes made up of resident physicians who are capable and motivated to achieve program goals.

Each of our resident classes has included a high percentage of under-represented minority trainees. Significantly, 87% of residency participants have come from under-represented ethnic minorities and disadvantaged background, and all residents are chosen because of their demonstrated commitment to a meaningful career in medicine.

The WMMC Family Practice Residency Program has been singularly successful in attracting residents who bring a strong commitment and orientation to medically underserved communities by virtue of personal experience, cultural and linguistic ties, and sensitivity to populations in need. It clearly has shown its ability to recruit, train, and retain its graduates in the community.

The residency has successfully placed fifty of its 139 graduates in practice in East Los Angeles. Others have replicated the Residency Program philosophy in the Sequoia Pathway Program in Fresno. One graduate became the Residency Director of the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program and another joined him as a faculty member. Other graduates hold positions with Kaiser Permanente and Sharpe Health Care in areas which require culturally and linguistically competent family practice physicians.

Of the remaining graduates, one is Medical Director for the Roosevelt High School Student Health Center, one practice at a Venice Family Free Clinic, two work with the Indian Health Service, and several are working in Community Health Centers and Migrant Health Centers. A review of our current house staff indicates that others are also interested in practicing in East Los Angeles.

The Program, therefore, is truly having a positive impact on the community of East Los Angeles and similar communities of unmet health care need. This type of success in meeting societal needs is unparalleled among the greater than 450 Family Practice Residency Programs in the United States.