The Role of a Women’s Group in a Family Medicine Residency Program

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

Family medicine emphasizes the importance of the whole person, not merely the disease entity. It also emphasizes the importance of the family context of illness, Paradoxically. during resident training, both the whole person and the family of the resident are often ignored. It became apparent to the Department of Family Medicine at the University of California Irvine Medical Center (UCI) that many women residents were burdened by common stresses: pregnancy during residency. feelings of technical incompetence. coping with small children at home. balancing marital relationships with demanding careers. etc. These residents felt their problems to be unique and were unaware that other women in the program had similar experiences, as they were often unacquainted with the other women residents. It appeared that a potential for a natural support group existed. and the department decided to explore this resource.

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