Richard H. Hoffman MD
VCU Chesterfield Family Medicine Residency.
In his recent book, The Greater Journey, author David McCullough tells the stories of Americans that traveled to Paris in the mid 1800’s to study art, sculpture and medicine. For physicians, Paris offered anatomical experience and “modern” training not available in the United States. Young physicians traveled to study with physicians such as Pierre Louis who believed that attention to a detailed history of illness and a thorough examination would lead physicians to a better understanding of illness and cures that could help their patients. These physicians in training kept detailed notes of their patient evaluations, working long hours to learn from their mentors. Eventually, they brought their knowledge back to the United States where these training methods were incorporated into the training of physicians “back home”. Our heritage of residency training has, as part of its roots, the training of those young physicians in Paris.
At the VCU Chesterfield Family Medicine Residency, we hope to preserve the valuable legacy of residency training which recognizes that the key to becoming a successful physician of any kind is seeing a large number of patients under knowledgeable and thoughtful supervision. This is the cornerstone of residency training. In addition, we strive to apply the benefits of modern technology and information management to our practice. And, while we pursue milestones such as the patient centered medical home, we hope not to lose our focus on the need to provide young doctors with a large volume of patient care experiences which are continuously reexamined for effectiveness. Pierre Louis proved that phlebotomy was of no benefit in the treatment of pneumonia by keeping track with his “numerical method”. Similarly, we examine the evidence base for what we do every day.
We are fortunate to practice at CJW Medical Center which provides multiple areas in which to see patients with the oversight of an engaged, professional staff. CJW has two busy Emergency Rooms, a Pediatric ER, a busy Pediatric Ward, PICU and NICU and multiple other ICU’s. There is also a Heart Hospital and Psychiatric Hospital on the campus. A busy obstetric practice provides our residents with a robust women’s health experience. Our Family Medicine Center is a short distance away and serves a large population of patients drawn from diverse economic, cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds. As a consequence, our graduates take a substantial amount of experience to their first jobs after residency.
We are also fortunate to maintain our affiliation with Virginia Commonwealth University, a terrific school with a long history of excellence in the arts and sciences and one of the oldest medical schools on the east coast. Our relationship provides us access to lecturers from the Medical College of Virginia and faculty development with the VCU Department of Family Practice.
Richmond is an interesting city with an interesting sports, art and music scene. It has its own unique boulevards and neighborhoods, good food and, it is a historian’s delight. It’s not Paris and our program is not the Ecole Medicin but, then again, Pierre Louis didn’t get to watch the VCU Rams play in the Final Four.
Most importantly, we are grateful that our patients give us the opportunity to serve as their physicians. We strive to provide the best care available to them while preparing younger physicians that will eventually take our places serving their own patients. We invite students to look at the Richmond community as an opportune place to live and learn primary care.
Richard H. Hoffman MD
Program Director, VCU Chesterfield Family Medicine Residency