Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program                        Excellence Without Ego

Primary Care Track

In July 1985, in recognition of the increasing need for broadly trained primary care internists, the Department of Medicine implemented a Primary Care Track under the direction of the Division of General Internal Medicine. The goal is to train physicians in comprehensive care of the adult patient. To enhance the acquisition of skills in out-patient medicine, the Primary Care Track provides more ambulatory training than is offered in the Categorical Track. Primary Care Track residents will have continuity clinics at both the Kirklin Clinic and the VA as opposed to categorical residents who have clinic at only one site. In continuity clinic sites, the resident is regarded as the primary physician with the attending physician serving as consultant and teacher. The attending to resident ratio is low, typically 1 attending working with 3-4 residents, to assure opportunity for close instruction and optimal teaching. The core training includes in-patient and intensive care medicine, an experience essentially identical to that provided in the Categorical Track. Graduates of the Primary Care Track describe themselves as well prepared to practice primary, consultative, and critical care medicine. They have performed as well as graduates of the Categorical Track on the ABIM certifying examination. Many have done fellowships in more office-based subspecialties such as endocrinology, geriatrics, hematology-oncology, nephrology, and rheumatology.

Block Months

The Ambulatory Care Block Month is a major distinguishing feature of the Primary Care Track. The purpose is to allow concentrated time in ambulatory medicine without in-patient responsibilities. As opposed to categorical track residents who have one block month each year, primary care track residents have two block months during each of the 3 years of training. During a typical month, approximately 20% of the time is devoted to the continuity practice of general internal medicine. The remainder is devoted to areas such as geriatrics, office gynecology, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, dermatology, sexually transmitted diseases, sports medicine, and subspecialty internal medicine clinics. The specialty clinics are selected by the individual resident in the R-2 and R-3 years to suit their needs and interests. The resident has the opportunity to work one-on-one with attending physicians in diverse specialties.

Typical R-1 Primary Care Block Month


Typical R-2 or R-3 Primary Care Block Month


Community Preceptorship

In their R-2 or R-3 year, residents have the opportunity to do a Community Preceptorship – to spend a month in the private practice of their choice to better understand the rewards and challenges of medical practice.