The department is involved at all levels of the curriculum, both in developing and coordinating curriculum modules and programs and in the classroom, seminar, bedside and clinic teaching. It also has a particularly large involvement in much of the planning and development of the curriculum, which is done in conjunction with other disciplines; moreover, the department is heavily involved in the problem-based components of the curriculum, teaching clinical skills and in assessment. In addition to its undergraduate responsibilities, the department sponsors a two-month block of the internship and conducts clinical supervisor training programs. In cooperation with the Ministry of Health, a four-year Family Medicine residency program has been active for the past four years with graduation of the first class of residents this past academic year.
Specific teaching areas include: physician/patient communications, including giving bad news and counseling; consulting skills including physical examination; problem-solving; medical ethics; community screening; disease prevention; geriatrics; investigation and management of diabetes, hypertension, asthma and anemia in the community setting. In all their teaching, the department members stress basic problem-solving skills and their application to medical practice in a community context.
Common medical problems are approached from several aspects. In the undergraduate curriculum the stress is on information gathering, preliminary diagnosis and general management. In the internship and residency programs emphasis is on patient-centered consulting, the comprehensive and continuing management of patients with common problems encountered in the community and integrating prevention into medical practice.
At all levels of the curriculum the students are required to do projects of increasing complexity to further their knowledge of illnesses and disease in the community context. At residency level, the department supervises and assesses research projects, which are a mandatory part of the course.
The Department is actively involved in teaching at all levels of the undergraduate curriculum. This includes design and planning of the individual course components as well as teaching specific segments. Members of the Department play an active leadership role in the overall co-ordination of specific learning modules as well as providing overall coordination of the Medical Sciences Year 1 and 2, and Organ Systems Year 1 and 2 Courses.
Teaching at these levels includes small group hands on learning and discussion groups as well as more formal lectures. Clinical activities in the Primary Health Care Centers are also co-coordinated and supervised.
A major emphasis of the department is the required Family Medicine clerkship. This clerkship is 10 weeks in duration and includes substantial clinical experiences in primary health care centers working with clinical faculty affiliated with the department. These clinical tutors provide students with one-on-one teaching in the clinical setting. In addition, students attend seminars where both the principles of Family Medicine are taught as well as various aspects of ambulatory family practice including common problems seen in primary care. Students also visit their home emirates for one week of the clerkship to gain insights into how the primary health care systems work in their home communities. Additionally, students complete a project on an aspect of care provided in the primary health care centers.
The Department of Family Medicine has been an integral component of the Faculty of Medicine since the beginning of the medical school. Departmental faculty provide education in all years of the medical school including a required 10-week family medicine clerkship. The department is also extensively involved in Graduate Medical Education (GME) including sponsoring a two-month block in the internship as well as co-sponsoring along with the Ministry of Health, a three-year residency program in family medicine. Faculty also extensively participate in Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs for physicians and other members of the primary health care centers within the Al Ain Medical District.
Research is also an integral part of the Department of Family Medicine’s activities. Faculty research themes include the epidemiology and natural history of common problems seen in primary care, interventions to improve management of chronic diseases within family medicine practices and research on evaluation and the improvement of medical education. The research program also has an important educational component. Medical students are required to perform a project during their required clerkship while family medicine residents are required to perform more extensive projects. Faculty also serve as research mentors for health care providers who are pursuing advanced degrees.
Departmental faculty are extensively involved in all aspects of academic administration including chairing several important committees within the Faculty of Medicine and coordinating substantial portions of the medical school curriculum. Departmental faculty also provide family medicine clinical care in the Oud Al Toba Clinic, which serves families of faculty and staff working at the Faculty of Medicine as well as providing clinical care at numerous primary care centers throughout Al Ain .
(last updated: 15-July-2002)
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