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Community-based teaching: good for medicine and community

From the July/August 1998 ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright © 1998 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

Talk to Patrick Alguire, FACP, about community-based teaching, and he'll tell you that it is an idea that is very popular among internists. What he doesn't know, however, is just how many internists are involved.

While ACP-ASIM's Community-Based Teaching (CBT) program has been expanding since its inception in 1993, no one knows exactly how much the program—and participation by internists—has grown. It's something that Dr. Alguire, the College's new Director for Education and Career Development, plans to change as he takes charge of the program.

Dr. Alguire, who comes to ACP-ASIM from the University of Florida, where he was professor of medicine and chair of the faculty development committee, also plans to reach out to more physicians and residents to continue the program's growth. He talked about his goals for the program in an interview with ACP-ASIM Observer.

Q: Why do you think so many busy doctors are getting involved in community-based teaching?

A: Many internists are already involved in teaching. Educating others gives one a feeling of professional responsibility. Teaching others is also a sign of prestige in the community.

Q: What are your immediate goals for the project?

A: In addition to getting some much needed data, I would like to extend the program to include more physicians and, eventually, extend precepting programs to nonmedical school students. I also plan to better use electronic media-we're going to put the program's resource clearinghouse on ACP-ASIM Online-and to promote faculty development by reaching out directly to physicians.

Q: Are you concerned that community-based training will produce doctors more like family physicians than internists?

A: No. The program better prepares internists for life outside hospital wards. Certain skills are particular to the office setting, and the program makes internists more well-rounded and marketable.

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