Description

In 2009 Family Health Center of Worcester (FHCW) pioneered a Family Nurse Practitioner Residency, building upon the training resources of the Worcester Family Medicine Residency in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  

Taking this successful nurse practitioner residency a step farther, in 2019 FHCW partnered with the University of Massachusetts Worcester Graduate School of Nursing, Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center and other sites to successfully apply to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration for four years of funding.  

This multi-site, 12-month full-time residency provides new FNP graduates (within 18 months of graduation) with the foundation to build their career as a primary care provider in community health centers.  

The residency sites are:

Residents will be employed by their sponsoring residency site and receive salary support and benefits through this employer. 

The Post-Graduate Nurse Practitioner Residency in Family Practice and Community Health will:

  • Prepare family nurse practitioners to take on responsibility of comprehensive primary care for complex underserved populations across the life span.
  • Build upon the clinical knowledge acquired during formal education by providing clinical and professional support for nurse practitioners in an active learning environment.
  • Expand the number of nurse practitioners interested in building a life-long career in community health.
  • Prepare nurse practitioners for careers in organizations that provide care to underserved patient populations.

Residents work alongside preceptors and team members with a wide variety of expertise and clinical interests. Residents interested in women’s health, international medicine, addiction medicine, chronic disease management, office procedures and new models of health care delivery will have opportunities to learn from experts. Residents will participate in online learning based at FHCW with precepted continuity sessions and mentor support at their residency site as they develop and manage a panel of patients.

About the Partners 

Family Health Center of Worcester is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which serves over 35,000 patients  from the greater Worcester area in over 55 different languages. Services include comprehensive Primary Care and Family Medicine, Maternal Child Health, Dentistry, Mental and Behavioral health, Vision Care, a Walk In Center for Urgent and Primary care, a low-cost pharmacy, lab, radiology and digital mammography, a Refugee Health Clinic, a Teen Health Clinic, the Health Care for Homeless Families Program, HIV counseling and testing, health education and promotion programming, and public health programs for the early detection and prevention of disease. FHCW also operates 7 school health centers within the Worcester Public Schools and five WIC (Women Infant & Children) offices throughout the greater Worcester area.

Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, also an FQHC, provides comprehensive care to a multi-cultural patient population, the majority of whom are at disparate risk for chronic disease and poor health outcomes. Founded in a Worcester housing project in 1972, today Kennedy CHC has three health care sites, two dental sites, two optometry practices and six school-based centers throughout Central Mass and MetroWest. Serving as the medical home for many refugees and immigrants, the Health Center’s patient population speaks over 90 different languages. Currently 28,000+ patients of all ages receive care through the center’s family practice model, a comprehensive approach to the delivery of quality primary and urgent care, medical specialties, nutrition counseling, dental care, optometry, pharmacy, laboratory, behavioral health, social services, and health education.  Kennedy CHC is also a leader in LGBTQ+ health care, provides Medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders, and offers a comprehensive HIV program.

Codman Square Health Center is a community-based, outpatient health care and multi-service center in the heart of Dorchester. They offer comprehensive care for the whole family, including primary, eye, dental, urgent, and behavioral health care, as well as many medical specialties. In addition, they are a community organization that provides financial and wellness programming. Codman Square Health Center is home to a staff of more than 300 multi-lingual and multi-cultural expert clinicians, medical staff and employees, most of whom reside in the neighborhoods surrounding Codman Square. They boast more than 115,000 client contacts each year, and have developed an astounding depth and breadth of community programs, as well as strong partnerships with other organizations in order to meet our mission most efficiently. We serve more than 23,000 patients each year, 87% of whom live below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Codman Square Health Center's achievements include developing an innovative Diabetes care model, collaborating with their in-house charter public high school, providing “prescriptions” to our Healthworks fitness center for women and children, and serving as an economic engine by bringing 15,000 people to the Codman Square merchant district each month.

The Harbor Health Services story spans over five decades. Geiger Gibson Health Center, the first community health center in the nation, opened in 1965 as the Columbia Point Health Center.  Twenty years later, Geiger Gibson united with the Neponset Health Center in Dorchester, Massachusetts to form Harbor Health Services.  Harbor Health now includes 4 community health centers with locations in Dorchester, Plymouth and Hyannis, 2 PACE programs for the frail elderly, and dental services in 4 different locations. Their residency is sited primarily in their Boston Health Centers. Services at these sites include medical and dental services, with specialty services including pediatrics, women’s health, behavioral health, office-based addiction treatment, infectious disease, and cardiology.

Baystate Health (BH) is the largest health care organization in Western Massachusetts. In addition to Baystate Medical Center, a 713-bed level 1 trauma center, BH operates three community health centers, all located in Springfield. Baystate High Street Health Center (HSHC), located downtown, is the largest of the three health centers and is nationally recognized for its team-based care model. The FNP residency, launched in January 2020, joins a environment highly supportive of medical education. The physician residency program located at HSHC was established in 1948 and was featured in an Association of American Medical Colleges report from 2016 titled “High Functioning Primary Care Residency Clinics: Building blocks for providing excellent care and training.” HSHC is a supportive environment for learners of all kinds and hosts students pursuing careers in various allied health roles.

Additional clinical partners will be engaged over the course of the grant.  These partners, located across Massachusetts, also bring a commitment to train health professionals to care for diverse populations and offer a wide range of learning opportunities and clinical practice. 

The UMass Worcester Graduate School of Nursing offers academic programs in masters, post-masters and doctoral education, preparing students, professionals and advanced practice nurses for faculty, research and other nursing leadership positions.  As a partner in this grant, GSN faculty bring expertise in curriculum design and competency development, evaluation, and distance learning.