Founded in 1970 to train physicians to practice in community health centers and underserved areas, the Residency Program in Social Medicine (RPSM) of Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York, has graduated 562 board-eligible family physicians, general internists, and pediatricians whose careers fulfill this mission. The RPSM was a model for federal funding for primary care residency programs and has received Title VII grants during most of its history. The RPSM has tailored its mission and structured its curriculum to promote a community and population orientation and to provide the requisite knowledge and skills for integrating social medicine into clinical practice. Six unique hallmarks of RPSM training are (1) mission-oriented resident recruitment/selection and self-management, (2) interdisciplinary collaborative training among primary care professionals, (3) community-health-center-based and community-oriented primary care education, (4) biopsychosocial and ecological family systems curriculum, (5) the social medicine core curriculum and projects, and (6) grant support through Title VII. These hallmark curricular, training, and funding elements, in which population health is deeply embedded, have been carefully evaluated, regularly revised, and empirically validated since the program's inception. Practice outcomes for RPSM graduates as leaders in and advocates for population health and the care of underserved communities are described and discussed in this case study.
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