Family Medicine Curriculum

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Behavioral Health

Our behavioral health curriculum is multifaceted. Residents work with faculty members in the Department of Psychiatry for two weeks to provide consultation services for hospitalized patients with acute and chronic mental health needs. Residents also rotate on in the outpatient Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) clinic during their two-week Addiction Medicine rotation. Additionally, there is longitudinal outpatient curriculum in our Integrated Behavioral Health clinic, which is staffed by faculty physicians who are dual-boarded family medicine & psychiatry. Residents gain skills in diagnosing and treating delirium, dementia, depression, anxiety, psychosis, substance use disorders, and other mental health disorders.

Cardiology – Inpatient Consults & Outpatient Clinic

Residents will spend two weeks working with attending cardiologists on the inpatient consult service in which our residents are the first contact for patients with a variety of cardiovascular diseases, including arrhythmias, acute coronary syndromes, and acutely decompensated heart failure. During the two-week outpatient cardiology experience, residents will see a wide range of problems in outpatient cardiology clinics, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, cardiomyopathies, and arrhythmias. Residents participate in cardiac procedures, such as stress testing and echocardiogram interpretation.

Chronic Disease Management

Chronic disease has become the dominant health problem in the United States, accounting for more than 75 percent of health care spending. This longitudinal curriculum helps to prepare our residents to manage patients with chronic diseases. Residents will learn different approaches to systematic care for chronic illnesses.

Community Medicine

Family physicians are called to care for the communities in which they live and to apply the biopsychosocial model to their patients. Our community medicine curriculum is integrated into various rotations, including our two-part orientation and our didactic academic half day curriculum. Residents learn how communities affect patients, patients engage with their communities, and physicians incorporate knowledge of communities in the care of patients. Residents participate in community service activities, visit community agencies, and learn about social determinants of health.


Residents will spend two weeks in dermatology clinics where they learn to identify common skin conditions and distinguish atypical and serious presentations of dermatologic disorders. Residents gain knowledge of commonly seen skin diseases and treatments in the Family Medicine Clinic and attend dermatology didactic presentations.


We offer residents wide-ranging opportunities for elective rotations. Two weeks are available for first-year residents, and an additional ten weeks are available for second- and third-year residents to tailor their educational experience to their future practice needs. Residents may choose from many community- and academic-oriented electives, covering every specialty. International electives are available, as are regional and national off-site rotations. Many residents choose to create their own electives.

Emergency Medicine

Residents rotate through the Emergency Department, a Level I trauma center, supervised by faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine, for a total of six weeks during residency. Residents spend two of those six weeks in the pediatric emergency department, focusing exclusively on the care of children with emergent conditions.

Family Medicine Centered Obstetrics & Newborn Care (“9024”)

Residents work with Family Medicine Obstetrical (OB) faculty providing care to newborns, infants, and obstetrics patients in the hospital setting. Nicknamed “9024” after the pager carried by the resident on this service, residents work one-on-one with their attending physician and gain experience triaging OB patients, performing deliveries, resuscitating & evaluating newborns, assisting family medicine faculty-performed cesarean sections, and performing procedures for newborn infants.

Family Medicine - Didactics

Our residency program structures its didactic curriculum in an “academic half day”. Every Wednesday afternoon, our residents are excused from eligible rotations to join together and learn about a wide range of topics from family medicine faculty, faculty throughout the College of Medicine, and guest lecturers from the community and other institutions. In addition to didactic lectures on medical topics, we offer monthly POCUS sessions and procedure training simulations. Academic half days also include resident wellness sessions, chief resident meetings, residency forum (with program leadership), and resident-led board review.

Family Medicine - Inpatient

Our Family Medicine Inpatient Service admits patients from our medical home of all different ages and with a wide variety of medical and surgical problems. Two junior residents, a senior resident, a senior medical student, a physician assistant, and an attending faculty physician work as a team to care for patients on this unit. Two night-float residents (one junior and one senior) provide overnight coverage during the week. Two on-call residents provide coverage over the weekend. The team also provides medical consultation to other medical, surgical, and psychiatric units at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Family Medicine - Orientation

Our four-week orientation is split into two sections, with two weeks in July and two weeks in the fall. During this orientation, first-year residents will have the opportunity to get to know the Family Medicine faculty and residents as well as obtain or renew skills. Residents get to learn the ins and outs of our clinic and inpatient services. Residents undergo certification in ACLS, PALS, and NRP. Residents are also oriented to our electronic medical record system (Epic). A high challenge ropes course is held at the end of the month with the goal of developing team-building skills, which are utilized throughout the training program. Past residents have found the experience enjoyable and a great time to connect with new colleagues.

Family Medicine - Outpatient

Residents will spend time in the Family Medicine Clinic throughout their entire residency by participating in a regular continuity of care clinic. The clinic experience provides an opportunity for residents to function as family physicians in a busy outpatient setting, developing continuity with their patients. It is in this setting that residents hone their office medicine skills and provide care within a medical home. Residents maintain responsibility for their patients' care throughout the three years of training and acquire skills needed to deliver comprehensive care. Emphasis is placed on patient education and maintaining health as well as treating disease. They also spend time in the procedure clinic (where they perform common dermatologic procedures, colposcopies, IUD insertions, and endometrial biopsies, treadmill stress tests, vasectomies, and more) and the same-day access clinic (where residents care for our patients with urgent problems). Residents receive support to care for their patients and improve their care from team members including social workers, pharmacists, nursing staff, and faculty physicians. Residents also experience longitudinal curriculum in the Integrated Behavioral Health clinic, Family Medicine MSK clinic, Family Medicine OMT clinic, all run by family medicine physicians.

Family Medicine - Night Float

Residents on this rotation will assume care of all inpatients (including newborns, children, and post-partum women) on the Family Medicine Inpatient Service for the evening and overnight hours Sunday through Friday. Residents work in pairs with a junior and senior resident for this two-week rotation.


Residents spend two weeks each year working in our Geriatric Assessment clinic with Family Physicians who have their CAQ in Geriatrics. Residents will work with an interdisciplinary team of nurses, pharmacists, physicians, fellows, and social workers who specialize in geriatric care with a focus on health promotion along with prevention and treatment of disease and disability later in life. Residents are also assigned nursing home patients to care for throughout residency as part of our longitudinal long-term care curriculum.  


Residents enhance their gynecological care while practicing in the Family Medicine Clinic in addition to the Women’s Health Clinic rotation for four weeks, which is staffed by faculty members in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Residents participate in general gynecologic care including premenstrual syndrome, vulvar-vaginal diseases, menopause, and ultrasound. Instruction in colposcopy, intrauterine device (IUD) placement, Nexplanon implantation, and endometrial biopsy is also provided by faculty in the Department of Family Medicine in the Family Medicine Clinic.

Newborn Nursery

Residents work with Department of Pediatrics faculty physicians providing care to healthy newborns in the hospital setting. Residents will gain experience resuscitating and evaluating newborns, providing anticipatory guidance counseling to new parents, and performing procedures for newborn infants.

Obstetrics & Prenatal Care - Cedar Rapids

Residents spend 2 weeks rotating at a community hospital in the nearby city of Cedar Rapids (located approximately 30 minutes north of Iowa City). Supervised by board-certified obstetricians and midwives, residents learn the principles and techniques of antenatal care, management of labor and delivery, and postpartum care. Residents will spend an additional 2 weeks on a prenatal clinic rotation in this community setting. 

Pediatrics - Inpatient

Residents work with the Pediatric Blue Team or Green Team for this four-week rotation. Patients on these inpatient teams have a variety of diseases, and residents are supervised by staff from different divisions in the Department of Pediatrics (General Pediatrics, Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Pulmonology, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Pediatric Nephrology) to provide care to hospitalized pediatric patients.

Pediatrics - Outpatient

In the first year of residency, residents participate in the general pediatric acute care clinic. During this rotation, residents work with faculty and residents in the Department of Pediatrics. Additionally, in the third year of residency, residents spend four weeks working in pediatric subspecialty clinics (gastroenterology, developmental diseases, general pediatrics).

Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS)

Our longitudinal POCUS curriculum is incorporated into Wednesday afternoon didactic sessions, as well as Family Medicine Inpatient, Family Medicine Clinic, and Family Medicine OB rotations. Residents can also apply POCUS skills during their Emergency Medicine and Surgical & Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (SNICU) rotations.

Practice Management

This longitudinal curriculum encompasses leadership, career development, patient safety, legal & ethics lectures, physician wellness, and financial management, to assist residents in preparation for practice. Much of this curriculum takes place during our annual resident retreat.

Quality Improvement (QI)

During this longitudinal curriculum, residents will learn principles of health care improvement. Residents will develop and implement evidence-based activities within clinical practice, aimed at reducing gaps in quality and/or improving patient safety. Residents present their QI projects at the annual Clinical Scholars Day symposium in spring of PGY-2 year.


Residents spend two weeks in the rheumatology clinic where they care for patients with acute and chronic rheumatologic diseases, including various kinds of arthritis, autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, etc. Residents have the opportunity to perform office-based rheumatologic procedures, such as arthrocentesis and joint injections.

Sports Medicine

Residents spend 2 weeks each year at our Sports Medicine Clinics to receive focused training in sports medicine is taught under the supervision of primary care physicians with a certification of added qualification in sports medicine, faculty in the Department of Orthopedics, and certified athletic trainers in the areas of pre-participation assessment, injury prevention, evaluation, management, and rehabilitation. Residents have the opportunity to perform office-based orthopedic procedures, such as arthrocentesis and joint injections. Residents also provide care to patients in the Family Medicine Clinic with athletic and recreational injuries, and rotate longitudinally with one of our family medicine sports medicine faculty in the Family Medicine MSK Clinic.


Training is provided in general surgery and subspecialty surgery with special emphasis on the diagnosis and management of surgical disorders, emergencies, and the appropriate and timely referral for specialized care. Residents rotate through the Emergency General Surgery Service for 2 weeks under the supervision of faculty in the Department of Surgery to achieve competency in the diagnosis and management of a wide variety of surgical problems typically encountered by family physicians.

Surgical & Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (SNICU)

The Surgical & Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit is the major academic referral center for support of critically ill patients in Iowa. The unit is medically directed and staffed by faculty members in the Departments of Anesthesia and Surgery. Residents on this 2-week rotation provide care to patients with respiratory failure, sepsis, stroke, multi-system trauma, and peri-operative complications.

Training in Advanced Life Support

Residents will complete certification courses in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO), and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP). If they choose, residents may also complete Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS).