As an integral part of their practice of medicine, family physicians have incorporated knowledge of human behavior, mental and behavioral health, substance abuse and addictions, and psychiatric disorders into their patient care. The behavioral science curriculum is designed to support this important component of family medicine. The curriculum provides residents with the competencies in behavioral medicine necessary for successful practice as a family physician, with a special emphasis in working with underserved and rural populations. The curriculum is both integrated and longitudinal.
Two full-time behavioral science faculty members coordinate the curriculum and assure articulation with program physician faculty, as well as community physicians and community behavioral science professionals. The curriculum aligns with guidelines provided by the American Academy of Family Physicians regarding the necessary topics for inclusion in family practice residency curricula, including patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice. Throughout the behavioral science educational process, residents are encouraged to embrace an attitude of lifelong learning, enhancing further professional development in behavioral medicine skills through practice experience, consultation with mental health professionals, focused readings, and CME.