Family Medicine Global Health Program
Portland, Maine is home to immigrants, refugees, and migrants from all over the globe. As a Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement site, over the past three decades Portland has seen extensive immigration from Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Eastern Africa. In the city of Portland alone there are people from more than 80 different countries. Maine Medical Center provides care to many of these patients and in the past year, the interpreter services department has had more than 60 different languages requested. As physicians practicing in and around the Portland community, residents will have ample exposure to international medicine.
Working with patients from all over the world can present unique challenges. Residents are fortunate to have Community Health Outreach Workers, or CHOWs, to assist in cultural brokerage within the realm of the medical encounter. The community health outreach workers are from the Portland Office of Public Health, but also assist at many of the MMC sites. Currently Maine Med employs one community health outreach worker who helps provide care to our Spanish speaking populations and one who helps provide care to our Somali patients. There is hope that this program will be expanded in the future to include additional communities.
Community Medicine and Integrative Medicine Month
The MMC Family Practice Centers are a part of a vibrant community. Residents receive a wonderful introduction to the Portland and Falmouth communities through the Community Medicine and Integrative Medicine month. After completing the internship year, the resident class is reunited during this much anticipated month. Time during this month is divided between community medicine and integrative medicine with the goal of helping residents learn more about the community in which they live and work. The residents will learn more about and directly from local refugees, immigrants, and migrant workers. More can be read about the integrative medicine curriculum in the related area of the Family Medicine website.
Throughout their training each resident chooses an education pathway to cater their electives toward their eventual career goals. The global health pathway helps residents solidify their international health background through a series of didactics and clinical experiences. Residents are also encouraged to complete an international elective abroad in the second or third year. See attached International Healthcare Pathway.
Residents are able to utilize their resident salary, health insurance, and CME funds for travel abroad. There are numerous contacts and connections for international experiences within the department. Previous residents have gone to the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Vietnam to name a few. Our former residents and faculty have lived, worked, and/or volunteered in Kenya, Uganda, Laos, Thailand, Haiti, and Central America. Currently, there are efforts to determine a potential site for ongoing collaboration with a community organization abroad. Additional opportunities are available and encouraged for independent electives in community medicine as well as international health (i.e.) migrant health).
Global Health Interest Group
There is a very robust interest in international health among residents and faculty at MMC Family Practice. A group meets monthly to discuss international health topics, readings, and documentaries over dinner. We also work on various projects and collaborations both abroad and within the local community.
For any questions about the family medicine global health program please contact Dr. Deb Rothenberg, firstname.lastname@example.org.