The article “Diagnostic Approach to the Confused Elderly Patient” on page 1358
of this issue is the first in a series from the Department of Family Practice at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. David A. Katerndahl, M.D., and Clinton Colmenares, guest editors of this “Problem-Oriented Diagnosis” series, have lined up articles exploring diagnostic problems in such areas as behavioral medicine, sports medicine and geriatrics.
The department, chaired by Barry Weiss, M.D., editor of Family Medicine, is involved in many activities that reflect a strong dedication to the teaching of family medicine. Two major efforts are currently under way to ensure that family practice residents are receiving superior training. First, residents are being moved away from the hospital setting and instead spend at least half of their time seeing patients in ambulatory family practice clinics. Second, provisions are being made so that residents get most of their medicine instruction from family practice faculty, even for inpatient instruction.
With a total of 25 full-time teaching appointments, the department is actively involved in the training of 36 residents. In addition, since there is a mandatory third-year clerkship for medical students at the University of Texas, faculty come in contact with approximately 200 students each year. The department also has two fellowships, one in sports medicine and one in palliative care.
In a recent study, this family practice department was ranked as one of the top 10 most highly published departments in family medicine journals. Members of the department publish approximately 25 research or review articles per year. In addition, five years ago the department started an ambulatory research network that links 14 urban and rural practices. They also began the Residency Research Network of South Texas (RRNEST), which links all of their affiliated residencies. For the past 12 years, the department has hosted the Primary Care Research Methods Conference in San Antonio, sponsored by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.
Members of this family practice department are indeed poised to contribute quality articles to the “Problem-Oriented Diagnosis” series. Upcoming topics will include alcohol abuse, the difficult patient, knee pain, urinary incontinence, the older female patient, abnormal growth curves in children, first-trimester bleeding, cough, epigastric pain and lymphadenopathy.