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UNM Family Medicine Indian Health Service Residencies Paused

The University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) and Indian Health Service (IHS) have partnered to care for Native American patients in our community for nearly 70 years.

As part of this partnership, the Albuquerque Indian Health Center has trained dozens of Family Medicine residents from UNM through an Albuquerque IHS clinic placement. During the three-year Family Medicine residency, a dedicated group of resident physicians sees patients in the IHS clinic, providing preventive care, prenatal care and chronic care for patients of all ages.

This collaborative effort provides substantial benefits to UNM, IHS, resident physicians and our patients. Unfortunately, we are having to temporarily place the residents at two other UNM Hospital clinics at this time due to vacancies in supervising physician staff at the clinic. We want to emphasize that the IHS continuity clinic is a vital part of UNM’s educational and clinical missions, and UNM and IHS are working together to ensure the ongoing availability of this learning opportunity. IHS and UNM are partnering to ensure patients who currently receive care from the resident physicians in this clinic can access care at the IHS facility or in a UNM facility.

“Family and Community Medicine residency applicants from around the country recognize this partnership between an IHS clinic and a residency program as incredibly unique and it is one of the draws of many of the nation’s best applicants to our program, including Native American applicants,” said Felisha Rohan-Minjares, MD, interim chair of Family & Community Medicine at the UNM School of Medicine. “The residents who provide patient care at this site are dedicated to the health and well-being of the Native American patients they serve, and many go on to serve Native American populations after they complete residency.”

“We look forward to continuing this partnership and strengthening the relationship to provide excellent care to patients and a robust clinical experience for the residents,” Rohan-Minjares said.

Residents currently at this continuity clinic site will transfer to two other UNM Hospital clinics in Albuquerque to continue this portion of their training. This switch will not impact their completion of the residency program.

“The Indian Health Service remains firmly committed to providing training opportunities for health care providers in Indian Country. Recruiting and training physicians who are committed to serving Native patients is critical to our mission,” said Leonard Thomas, MD, director of the IHS Albuquerque Area. “Our focus is on the long-term sustainability of this program, and we are actively working to strengthen our capacity to provide this valuable opportunity.”

UNM Family Medicine is also working in partnership with the IHS Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, N.M., to establish a new residency program that is currently recruiting for its inaugural class.

Categories: Education, School of Medicine, Top Stories