UC San Francisco will establish the country's first formally funded training program in an academic medical center for doctors who specialize in the care of hospital patients, thanks to a grant from a New York City-based foundation with a history of funding innovative projects in medical education. The Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation will give UCSF $712,000 over three years to establish the program for doctors in the recently emerged specialty of hospital care, called hospitalists. About six of UCSF's approximately 30 internal medicine residents are participating in the pilot program, which began in July 1998.
Having doctors who specialize in hospital care is a departure from the way doctors have traditionally functioned in American academic hospitals. Traditionally, the care of hospital patients has been managed by residents, who are medical school graduates in the late stages of training, in academic medical centers. Residents work under the supervision of faculty members who rotate in that role infrequently, often just for one month each year. Patients' primary care doctors traditionally managed their care in non-teaching hospitals. The emergence of hospitalists is based on the idea that inpatient care specialists will be better skilled, more efficient and more available to hospitalized patients than primary care physicians or residents.
UCSF's hospitalist-track residents will receive special training in a variety of subjects related to hospital care, said Robert Wachter, MD, UCSF associate professor of medicine and epidemiology, associate chairman of UCSF's Department of Medicine and chief of the Medical Service at UCSF's Moffitt-Long Medical Center.
In addition to standard training in internal medicine, residents in the program
will study aspects of medicine they are more likely to encounter in hospitals,
such as the care of dying patients, Wachter said. They also will work on
developing skills in areas that will help them be more efficient and better
Contact: Diana Marszalek
University of California - San Francisco