Chairman's Message

Department of ‌Family and Community Medicine, Professor and Chairman

Christine C. Matson, MD

The EVMS Department of Family and Community Medicine embraces the dual missions of transforming clinical practice to improve health outcomes, and patients’ experience of care, at lower cost; while simultaneously transforming health professions education, actively engaging learners in becoming change agents. 

We have two distinctive residency programs, including the family medicine programs at Portsmouth and Ghent. The programs share faculty resources, including overlap in their core curriculum didactic series with a focus an active learning methods; guidance in development of clinically-based research or QI projects during residency; and faculty expertise in areas such as the EHR, quality improvement, care for the elderly, women's health, procedural skills, behavioral medicine, clinical pharmacy, community service-learning, population health and global medicine opportunities. The family medicine maternity care program includes patient care at the Portsmouth Health Department, Maryview Medical Center, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, and continuity with OB patients that occurs at both residency sites.

The Department aligns with the national focus on transforming our practices through the Patient-Centered Medical Home model. The opportunities for improving outcomes for our patients, realizing enhanced reimbursement through pay-for-performance programs and NCQA accreditation as a Patient-Centered Medical Home; as well as preparing our graduates to be leaders in the altered landscape of health care reform all motivate our commitment.

We are focusing on:

  • Providing leadership within the school in the development of EHR-based patient registries, and linkage of the electronic record with continuous quality measurement and improvement.
  • Residents developing skills in using quality indicators for patients with key conditions to actively improve care, and engaging resident and students in design and implementation of dynamic quality improvement initiatives resulting in measureable improvement in patient health outcomes
  • Leadership in statewide (Sentara Quality Care Network and mid-Atlantic regional  (I3 Collaborative) Clinical Improvement Networks dedicated to collaboration to improve health and health care while reducing costs, as well as departmental and school-wide quality improvement projects addressing multiple aspects of medical and business practice.
  • Integrating prevention through Medicare Wellness visits, training in partnering with patients around advance directives and palliative care, and interprofessional care-management to reduce hospital and ED overutilization.
  • Serving as key faculty for medical school curriculum re-invention in areas of clinical skills, interprofessional education and practice, incorporation of social determinants of health through virtual patients and families, and preparing learners to provide cost-conscious, high value care.

These are challenging times for health care, with dramatic disparities in access to and outcomes of care, still too many individuals without health insurance, anticipated changes and new challenges related to health care reform legislation, and a national reimbursement system with significant inequity in rewarding contributions to population health. Residents who are trained in our residency programs have the opportunity to make a difference, whether by collaboration in our safety-net practices sites to improve access and care quality; by service-learning activities for the underserved in our community; participation in quality improvement and advocacy efforts through the department, mentoring medical and other health professions students, or linkages with regional or global health-related organizations.

These shared strengths together with the programs' unique approaches combine to produce exceptional educational options for candidates who want to prepare for leadership as competent and compassionate family physicians in the future of medicine.

Christine C. Matson, M.D.
Glenn R. Mitchell Chair of Generalist Medicine,
EVMS Department of Family and Community Medicine
September 2016