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A Letter from the Program Director


Maria A. Schiaffino, M.D.


Family Medicine education at Summa has a rich history and a vibrant future. We have been training Family Medicine residents for over 50 years! We take great pride in the fact that over the years, students and team members regularly describe the residency environment as positive, welcoming, friendly and collaborative. We are also very proud of the faculty and clinical specialized team members that make it possible to offer unparalleled training opportunities.

Our residency program’s future direction has been influenced by the changes and opportunities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the challenges brought on by pandemic restrictions, we upgraded our conference room with equipment that makes virtual didactics and meetings much easier and more interactive. While we resumed in-person sessions, we also maintain the ability to join virtually.

Clinically, we expect that utilization of telehealth will continue for some patient visits. We have learned that telehealth allows us to reach and serve many of our patients who have barriers to keeping face to face visits. We continue to leverage telehealth visits to expand the reach of our team-based care and to bring non-physician team members into their homes.

Family Medicine is at the forefront of the transformation of medical care in America. Our residents are trained in a multidisciplinary approach to the care of the most frail and vulnerable complex patients in our community. Excellent primary care, provided by well-trained family physicians, will provide the foundation for the health of our community and nation.

The Family Medicine Center is further adapting to the changing healthcare environment and the needs of our resident learners with exciting, positive changes in curricular offerings and clinical operations. The great support we receive from the Summa Health administration has allowed us to increase the number of staff members and to expand the services offered at the FMC. This support has allowed us to offer more integrated behavioral health services, clinical pharmacists, addiction treatment, social work support, home visits, complex care coordination and increased access for our patients.

We are planning and implementing team-based population health management to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our FMC teams. Our population health initiatives will help assure that all the patients in our practice receive a higher level of chronic disease care and preventive care. Already, we have unique programs in place that address food insecurity and a collaboration with Legal Aid that addresses patients’ legal barriers that affect their ability to receive medical care.

Our curricular offerings include longitudinal experiences in in-home care, addiction medicine, trauma-informed care, practice management, communication, wellness, leadership, efficient EMR documentation, safety, and Lean Six Sigma process and quality improvement. We have also developed an academic track for residents who are interested in teaching and learning more about the best ways to educate and evaluate learners.

Our approach to education is based on evidence-based principles designed to ‘make it stick’ and improve understanding, clinical care, and standardized test scores. In addition, faculty members partner with residents to create an individualized education plan based on their interests and any identified opportunity for growth.

Our formal educational calendar starts the day with interactive group sessions focused on board review questions, discussion of challenging cases, improving office efficiency and better communication. Each Wednesday afternoon, all residents participate in educational sessions that include hands-on practical sessions, OMM sessions, interactive core topic discussions, and invited didactic presentations. Our monthly Practice Excellence meeting focuses on developing our clinical team and improving our processes. Twice a year we offer Skill Building workshops that add to the training of dermatology, POCUS (Point of Care Ultrasound), musculoskeletal and casting techniques.

At the Family Medicine Center, we believe that ‘the clinic is the curriculum’. This means that we strive to improve clinic operations to optimize resident education. Our Clinic First model emphasizes team-based continuity care. As part of Clinic First, we try to schedule PGY2 and PGY3 residents to see patients for 2 full days per week. A full day of clinic lets you ‘park your car once,’ thus eliminating the stress of hurrying to or from a rotation at another location for half day in the clinic.

The Family Medicine Center is a certified Patient-Centered Medical Home with integrated clinical pharmacists and behavioral healthcare providers. The clinic day begins with a team huddle, followed by 1:1 pre-precepting with faculty to plan for effective care, as well as address any identified challenges. A typical day in the clinic will have 3 or 4 faculty members providing advice and educational feedback to their 2 or 3 assigned residents. Our clinical pharmacists, behaviorists and social worker are on hand to help with “on-the-spot” patient needs.

This recruitment season we will continue with virtual interviews combined with in-person opportunities. I am quite excited about all that our program offers and how our diverse and multidisciplinary group of educators enrich the training that you will receive.  We hope that you will choose to meet us and be able to see and feel the culture of Summa and our program.


Maria A. Schiaffino, M.D., FAAFP
Program Director/FMC Medical Director

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