Residency Background and Our Mission


The University of North Carolina Family Practice Residency program has been training family physicians since 1973. A number of our graduates have gone into traditional private practice in North Carolina, but many have chosen other career tracks, including academic medicine, occupational medicine, and health maintenance organizations. Regardless of career track, our graduates have a remarkable record of leadership in and contribution to their communities, state and national medical organizations, and the discipline of Family Medicine. We are proud of this legacy and seek to carry it into the twenty-first century.

As a state-supported institution, our mission is to train family practitioners to meet the diverse needs of the people of North Carolina, including maternal and child health, geriatrics and care for rural and underserved populations. To meet this goal, we offer an excellent mix of patient care and teaching, a nationally-known faculty dedicated to residency training and a commitment to the flexibility necessary to prepare you for a career along whatever track you may choose. Our residents are warm, talented and energetic. They are committed to excellence in patient care and supportive of each other.

We are also committed to embracing change; whether externally or internally driven, change promotes a never-ending search for excellence. We encourage and indeed expect our residents to be active participants in all changes within our program. Our responses to the mandates from the ACGME regarding work hour restrictions and the incorporation of the “Core Competencies” into our curriculum are prime examples of how change can bring new ideas that improve our educational program. In addition, our commitment to innovation and continual quality improvement over the years has led to a list of curricular elements, clinical programs, and research projects that keep our program in the forefront of Family Medicine nationally.


The following basic precepts constitute our philosophy of residency training:

  • Patients teach. Lectures and seminars are essential, but the core of residency training is patient care, carefully done and closely supervised.
  • Residents should be exposed to diverse clinical settings and many different kinds of patients. The broader the exposure of the resident, the better he or she will be able to adapt to his or her future practice sites and to changes in the health care system.
  • Residents learn a great deal from their peers; the more diverse the group of residents, the better the training environment. We expect all residents to have a commitment to clinical excellence; beyond that, however, we believe that residents benefit greatly from exposure to people with different backgrounds and career goals.
  • Residents should learn a biopsychosocial approach to clinical practice. Inclusion of the individual's social context and psychological state with a thorough medical history is a mark of excellence in primary care clinical practice. Comprehensive care addresses both the medical and psychosocial aspects of clinical problems.
  • Residents should develop the habit of critical appraisal of current clinical practice. Health care is changing rapidly, and, increasingly, practice will become evidence-based. Residents should regularly review the quality of the care they provide, and learn the skills necessary to evaluate evidence from the published literature relating to the effectiveness of care.
  • Residency training should encourage development of independent learners who identify their own needs for content and skills and then locate the resources necessary to acquire them. We believe that successful practice requires a problem-focused approach in which the learner defines his/her "knowledge gaps" and takes responsibility for filling them. Our residency curriculum aims to develop residents into successful self-directed learners.
  • Faculty must be committed to the development of the individual resident. Being a residency faculty member is more than precepting a day a week or reviewing tapes with a resident-it also requires a broader concern for the individual resident and his or her dreams and aspirations.