Program Features / Curriculum

The Program has several features that make it distinctive:

  • Small Size: “Family” within the Brigham Residency Program
  • Cohort Structure
  • Unique Preceptor Model
  • Practice in a highly integrated health delivery system
  • Resident-led Curriculum
  • Individually tailored training time

Small Size

We are a small program within the larger Brigham Internal Medicine Residency family. There are usually 12 residents total, 4 residents in each year, with occasional additions.  Our small size affords opportunities for intensive small-group learning and great flexibility and responsiveness to resident initiatives in our program-specific curriculum.

Cohort Structure

Residents in all three years are scheduled to participate in outpatient-based blocks simultaneously to allow for intensive, interactive small-group learning. This structure is explicitly used to foster professional growth and the development of leadership skills.

Unique Preceptor Model

Each of our residents is paired with a preceptor with whom he or she works throughout the three years of residency. This is a defining and popular feature of our program. 

Practice primary care in a highly integrated health delivery system

  • One-on-one, longitudinal mentoring: Each resident manages his or her own primary care practice, partnered with a superb clinician-educator at a unique Atrius Health (formerly HVMA) health centers in the metropolitan Boston area. The longitudinal relationship fosters accelerated opportunities for growth and is the cornerstone of our program. Residents practice side-by-side with their preceptors during the entire three years of residency, gaining valuable insight into longitudinal care and practice management.
  • Individualized patient panels: Atrius Health serves large and diverse clinic populations. Unlike most primary care programs in the country, residents build their own panels tailored to their clinical interests and career goals.
  • Team-based care: Residents practice alongside important health professionals, including nurses, case managers, pharmacists, and population management specialists.
  • Integrated subspecialty experiences: Sessions with BWH and Atrius subspecialists are integrated into the outpatient rotations so that all graduates are exposed to the full spectrum of outpatient management and learn advanced techniques in the care of complex patients.

Resident-led Curriculum

All Atrius Health primary care residents have their outpatient block time scheduled together so that they learn as a dynamic community.  There are several components of the curriculum that are “standard.”  The remainder of the curriculum is conceived of and executed by the residents themselves with oversight by the Program Director.  This allows additional training in leadership, curriculum design, and deliberate practice.  The foundational components of the curriculum include:

  • CLINICAL EPIDEMIOLOGY Every week a resident leads a roundtable journal article discussion with an emphasis on epidemiologic methods and application to primary care practice. The session is overseen by clinical epidemiologist Dr. Bill Taylor, emeritus Director of this Program.
  • PATIENT-DOCTOR Residents engage in a weekly reflective session that focuses on the joys and the struggles of clinical practice and explores the intersection between individual growth and clinical care. This regular session fosters support and community within the program and provides space for personal healing and growth. Patient-Doctor is one of the most cherished components of our curriculum and is led by facilitators Dr. Amy Ship and Dr. Jim Sabin.
  • FACULTY TALKS These talks feature some of the best educators in the Brigham and Atrius community. Residents handpick speakers so lectures are always engaging, relevant and fun.
  • RESIDENT TALKS As an adjunct to faculty talks residents are also responsible for teaching a subset of topics in ambulatory care. Because learning is an active rather than passive practice, “res talks” allow residents the opportunity to enhance skills as teachers, leaders, communicators, clinicians and learners. Residents are mentored in teaching skills, the art of feedback, and engagement in interactive, adult­ learning styles that keep didactics engaging and useful.
  • JUNIOR CURRICULUM The program embraces the unique passions and interests of our residents outside of the walls of the exam room. Junior residents create short curricula on topics about which they are passionate. Previous topics are wide-­ranging and include: Disabilities in Healthcare, Design Thinking, and Disruption in Healthcare.
  • “HOWIE ROUNDS” Residents bring cases for weekly discussion with master clinician Dr. Howard Lewine in a “morning-report” style format.
  • AND MORE! There is unlimited flexibility to create curricula that best serves the residency cohort. Other components of our curriculum include communication skills (Motivational Interviewing, The Serious Illness Conversation Project, Negotiation Skills), longitudinal palliative care and chronic pain curricula, workshops on implicit bias, Suboxone waiver, leadership skills, .

Individually tailored training time

The residency program offers a close-knit “family” in which each resident both contributes to the overall community and is given the time and support to create a learning experience that serves their unique needs.  Dr. Amy Ship, the Program Director, is committed supporting residents as they craft a path within the Program that will help them refine their skills or expand their capabilities.  While every resident cares for their own panel of patients at Atrius Health, they also have options to pursue electives in every clinical subspecialty, to pursue clinical training in diverse settings including prison health, refugee health, healthcare for the homeless, addiction medicine, LGBTQ health, and women’s health, to name but a few.  Residents are equally able to join research projects in population health and healthcare delivery that are ongoing at Atrius Health’s Center for Innovation, at the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Institute, or to learn about healthcare management through project work or apprenticeships at Atrius Health C-suite. Many residents pursue projects or create longitudinal learning experiences that are unique to their interests.

View a list of our current residents and alumni HERE.