Family medical residents from the University of Minnesota will work in Minneapolis schools as part of a new five-year partnership set to launch next academic year.
Minneapolis City Council members approved a plan Friday that gives third-year medical residents from the University’s Family Medicine Residency Programs the opportunity to provide care for youth, while gaining experience and expanding the University’s reach to the community in the process.
Prospective medical specialists often complete a residency after graduating from medical school, during which they practice alongside professionals to develop skills specific to their field.
Medical director of School Based Clinics Nicole Chaisson said there’s been a movement in the industry toward training in clinics rather than in hospitals, and now is an opportune time to establish the partnership as the family residency program develops a new, adolescent-focused track.
Chaisson is also the associate director for the University’s Smiley’s Family Medicine Residency, which includes clinical and hospital care for Minneapolis residents. She said the collaboration with the city will help advance the program’s goal of creating a stronger track for studying adolescent medicine.
The chance to work with young people is very relevant training for residents at the University who are pursuing careers as full-spectrum family doctors, she said.
“I’ve always thought that it would be a great rotation for residents,” Chaisson said.
The majority of school-based clinics nationwide are located in high schools, she said, though some are in elementary schools. The city’s School Based Clinics program provides care to students in seven Minneapolis high schools, each of which will have its own clinic.
One resident will practice in a clinic each month, Chaisson said, and six residents will rotate through clinics each year.
School Based Clinics Manager Barbara Kyle said the clinics offer access to more health care services than schools traditionally do. Students can receive comprehensive care, including nutrition and mental health services, regardless of whether they have insurance, she said.
Residents rotating through the school-based clinics will bring a “fresh approach,” she said, and will support the clinics by tending to more patients, participating in research and doing community outreach.
“I think it’s a very good learning experience,” she said, noting that in a traditional hospital or clinic, residents might see a variety of patients, but the school-based rotation will let them focus on just adolescents.
Chaisson said she considered creating the University-city partnership earlier, but School Based Clinics
recently transitioned to an electronic records system and the additional change would have caused too much of a stir.
School-based clinics in the Twin Cities first started popping up in the 1970s, Chaisson said. At that time, increasing health coverage for adolescents was an area of interest.
“We were missing opportunities to provide teens with good care,” Chaisson said.
Minnesota currently has 20 school-based clinics statewide, according to the School-Based Health Alliance.
Becky McIntosh, director of administration at the Minneapolis Health Department, said the University is an important stakeholder in several areas across the city. The city partners with the School of Nursing and has worked with the Clinical Laboratory Sciences program in the past.
Providing specialized care in a clinical setting is critical for residents, Chaisson said.
“When they get out into the real world, they’re going to be providing these services,” she said.