Community Medicine Fellowship

Program Overview

The Community Medicine Fellowship Program was established in August 2008 to continue serving the needs of low-income patients in Dallas. The idea was born out of the belief that primary care physicians must effectively use principles of public health, epidemiology, and preventive medicine in new and innovative ways. The Fellowship Program, in response, offers graduates of primary care residencies the necessary training to develop and implement these innovations. 

Fellowship Goals and Objectives

The Fellowship prepares primary care physicians for leadership roles in the community and in academic medicine.

Design and Implementation

This is a one-year Fellowship Program designed to enable participants (fellows) to gain the experience needed to teach and mentor medical students and residents in multiple aspects of community medicine, and participate in faculty development training. The fellowship is comprised of teaching and community-based research activities (50 percent) and direct patient care (50 percent). Fellows serve in a Parkland Memorial Hospital clinic that mainly concentrates on the underserved population in Dallas County, and participate in innovative community-based research experiences.

All fellows complete a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) project. Using CBPR principles, fellows develop replicable models for understanding the causes of health and disease, and implement tools for promoting healthier lives for individuals, families, neighborhoods, and communities. Fellows will be required to enroll in a Certificate of Public Health and/or Faculty Development Academic Fellowship (one required; may enroll in both).

Projects and Outcomes

Since its inception, the Community Medicine Fellowship Program has graduated one fellow, Natalia Gutierrez, M.D., who is currently practicing in an underserved population in Dallas. During her fellowship, Dr. Gutierrez completed work on two community-based research projects:

  • Shared medical appointments among Hispanic patients with diabetes 
  • Assessing health literacy in family medicine clinics. 

Results from both studies have been presented at several professional meetings, and her innovative research on shared medical appointments was published in the American Journal of Managed Care in June 2011.