The Department of Family Medicine at AUBMC was established in 1979; the first in the region. The training complies with the requirements of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-International and the Arab Board of Family Medicine. The residency training program was accredited by the ACGME-I on July 2015 and reaccredited for 3 years in December 2017. Some pertinent points include:
- The department has been involved in training residents and faculty in several countries.
- Our residents sit annually for the In-training exam that is prepared by the American Board of Family Medicine; the average score of our residents for several years has been higher than the average for the programs that take the exam.
- The department offers an excellent chance to participate in innovative research.
- All residents get exposed to different health systems including NGO that look after underprivileged populations. This cooperation with various organizations is attracting international students who are interested in global health.
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The resident research project has been established in the program of family medicine since 1993. The goal of the activity is to introduce research skills to the residents. The project is mandatory to graduation.
The Balint seminar, started by Michael Balint and Enid Balint-, is used to develop and strengthen the patient doctor relationship in residency training programs to produce better doctors. It consists of regular meetings led by 1 or 2 trained leaders where one resident would present a case that was emotionally disturbing or difficult to deal with. The group discusses the case in terms of the emotions, relationships and roles from the perspective of the doctor, and patient. The leader’s role is to insure safety and trust among the group members and keep the focus on the doctor patient relationship. There is evidence that participation in a Balint group affects the participants’ coping ability, patient centeredness, job satisfaction and wellbeing.
With the support and vision of Dr. Hamadeh, the Balint seminar was initiated for family medicine residents in Feb 2013. On weekly basis, the family medicine residents used to meet for the Balint seminar led by two faculty members from Medical University of South Carolina through teleconferencing (Drs. Clive Brock and Alan Johnson). The experience was very productive and was published in Family Practice in 2014. Two faculty members, Jumana Antoun and Maya Romani, are currently credentialed Balint leaders by the American Balint Society. Both continue to lead Balint seminars to family medicine residents every other week.
Our vision is to extend Balint training to other departments and universities. In 2017, we started the Balint seminars with the Internal Medicine residents and established a Balint group for faculty.