Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences

Office: 3939 Woodward Avenue, 313-577-1421
Chairperson: Tsveti Markova, M.D., F.A.A.F.P.

The Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Science has a strong community and public health focus with an emphasis on research and applications of socio-behavioral and medical sciences to health problems in the community. Public health is the academic discipline that deals with the identification and solution of health problems of communities and human populations. Public health is a population-based approach that addresses health promotion, disease prevention, restoration and maintenance of health. The range and scope of the sciences and skills required in public health include epidemiology, biostatistics, research methodology, health services research, and behavioral sciences. Central to the approach of public health is a focus on community-level influences on health including social, economic, cultural, ethnic, and environmental factors. Public health research methods involve defining selected community problems, proposing studies and solutions, surveillance, evaluating progress, and monitoring the use of resources.

The MPH Program at WSU is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The CEPH is an independent agency recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit public health educational programs. The interdisciplinary nature of public health is reinforced in required and elective courses.

M.D. Medical Education

The Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences is well integrated into the didactic and clinical education of students throughout all levels of medical school. Family Medicine faculty actively participate in the curriculum development of the “Population, Patient, Physician, Professionalism (P4)” Course; which emphasizes clinical skill development and runs concurrently with first and second year basic science training. Family Medicine faculty, including adjunct faculty, serve as instructors, and small group leaders for case-based activities and clinical skills assessments. In addition, faculty also supervise some of the service learning projects throughout the first 2 years. 

The newly developed Clinical Experiential Clerkship course introduces pre-clerkship students to primary ambulatory care. It is administered by the Family Medicine department and runs concurrently with P4 during the second year of medical school. This innovative course is designed to equip students for clinical success by introducing best practices from a primary care patient centered focus and extending to all areas of healthcare.

Third year medical students matriculate through the required Family Medicine Clerkship, in which they are actively engaged in ambulatory patient care with community physicians. The curriculum is designed to emphasize evidence-based medicine, primary care excellence, and continuity of care. Faculty members and community physicians throughout the region host students for this course. 

In addition to the required third year clerkship, the department also administers a six-month longitudinal ambulatory experience for all medical students. The Continuity Clinic Clerkship is designed to facilitate best practices in continuity of care and navigation of the hospital system. Students spend one half day per week working directly with a community preceptor in patient care and clinical learning exercises.

A number of electives are offered in the fourth year, including additional preceptorship experiences with practicing family physicians, specially-designed experiences with family practice residency programs, geriatrics, occupational health, community medicine, and research.

Students can fulfill a required four-week sub-internship in Family Medicine. During the sub-internship, students function as first year residents, taking night calls and assisting in the care of hospitalized patients while under the supervision of attending physicians.

Graduate Medical Education

Graduate medical education within our department consists of 4 residency programs, each distinctly different in scope and educational mission.

For over 45 years our WSU Categorical Family Medicine Residency Program has trained residents to provide high quality, comprehensive patient care, built on a foundation of evidence-based medicine with a compassionate approach during the 3 years of training. For the past 12 years we have been located in Rochester Hills on the Ascension Providence Rochester campus (formerly Crittenton Hospital) where we enjoy tremendous institutional support assuring our continued success. Our program integrates academic resources, competency-based curricula, a web-based evaluation system, and state of the art technology including wall-mounted educational touch screens for patient education in every exam room. We train residents to provide patient-centered care during both inpatient and outpatient educational experiences encompassing all ages, genders, and disease processes. Resident wellness is a priority in all of our programs and is closely monitored and evaluated throughout their training. We are actively involved in our local community through volunteer activities where our medical expertise is shared at multiple public forums and patient care venues.

The WSU Urban Track Family Medicine Residency Program accepted its inaugural class of 2 residents in July 2019. The Urban Track builds on the WSU School of Medicine’s commitment to Urban Clinical Excellence. Our current residents are based at Community Health and Social Services (CHASS), a Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Detroit, which provides high quality comprehensive continuity care to an underserved urban population during their 3 years of training. This program is supported by the MIDOCS program, an initiative designed to address healthcare disparities throughout Michigan in both rural and urban settings. We have partnered with Henry Ford Health Systems to provide a variety of high quality inpatient educational experiences in Detroit. The Urban Track was developed based on four themes:

  • Educational Innovation
  • Community Engagement and Leadership
  • Interprofessional Education
  • Health Care Equity and Cultural Competence

Due to the success of the Urban Track, and abundant educational resources, we have applied for a complement increase for this ACGME accredited program, expanding to 4 residents per year for the July 2020 entering class. Graduates of this program will be eligible for financial assistance up to $75,000 for student loan repayment with a commitment to practice for 2 years in a designated underserved community in Michigan. 

In December 2018 we received ACGME accreditation for a new 3-year WSU Preventive Medicine Residency Program, with the inaugural class entering in July 2020. The mission of this MIDOCS supported program is to provide high quality comprehensive care to residents of Detroit and the surrounding area. Resident training will focus on clinical preventive medicine and public health sciences for urban populations, underserved populations, and in local correctional facilities. Residents will complete their first year of training in our Transitional Year Residency program on the Rochester Hills campus, and will additionally attend didactic lectures designed to provide the educational foundation upon which their second and third years of training are built. Training during these 2 latter years of residency will consist of educational experiences in the State of Michigan Department of Corrections hospitals, a Federally-Qualified Health Center for continuity care, and various other community health centers in Detroit. Residents who do not hold a Master of Public Health (MPH) are required to earn an MPH from Wayne State University with all tuition fees waived during completion of the program. All graduates of this program will be eligible for up to $75,000 in financial assistance for student loan repayment following a 2-year commitment to practice in a designated underserved community in Michigan.   

Our WSU Transitional Year Residency Program has enjoyed 12 years at our Rochester Hills campus at Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital. The program is designed to provide the educational structure and foundation for first year residents to gain experience in a variety of inpatient and outpatient clinical settings in preparation for their terminal categorical programs. These categorical programs include Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Anesthesiology, Radiation Oncology, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Since its inception, our Transitional Year residents have been selected from the most competitive resident applicant pool in the nation. These residents are very accomplished, many are widely published, and highly driven to enter very selective categorical residency programs. Four residents per year are selected to matriculate into our 1-year Transitional Year Program. 

All Categorical Family Medicine residents and Urban Track Family Medicine residents are eligible to complete the 15 credit WSU Certificate in Public Health beginning in their second year of residency training. This program is offered to these residents tuition free.   

COMMUNITY SERVICE: In order to carry out clinical and public health education, faculty and residents of the Department offer services to the community through the Family Medicine Centers and related institutions. Patient care functions are performed in collaboration with other health professionals such as clinical nurse specialists, clinical pharmacists, and social workers and their students. Public health students are required to complete a public health practicum, which is often service oriented and involves working with underserved populations through organizations such as the public health department or other public service agencies.

RESEARCH: Departmental research interests include population health sciences, behavioral health, and health equity.  Work in these areas encompass a number of disciplines, including psychology, epidemiology, primary care clinical science, and health policy. Primary care clinical research in the department includes studies designed to improve delivery of primary care health services at the individual, family, and community levels and to provide health promotion services which recognize the important role of the family and community in maintaining health and coping with illness. Examples of specific research projects include prostate cancer decision making processes of patients and providers and identifying predictors of postdischarge adverse events in adults and children.  National funding sources include the American Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, and the Patient Center Outcomes Research Institute. Our faculty also have substantial research interests in public health, including studies of the health equity and disparities across the life course and behavioral interventions to address chronic conditions in children and adults. Examples of specific research projects include message framing in colorectal screening, improving asthma management in adolescents and emerging adults, prevention of HIV in adolescents, risk factors for preterm birth in Black women, and prevention of obesity in preschool children. The Department also has strong research ties with the WSU Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors, the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, the Karmanos Cancer Institute, the Institute of Gerontology, and the Merrill-Palmer Skillman Institute.