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Department of Family and Community Medicine

Our Specialty


Family Medicine is the foundation of a family’s health care and wellness. Also known as primary care doctors, family physicians provide comprehensive, continuous health care to all members of the family throughout the course of their lives -- from newborns to the elderly, men and women, and all medical problems. The specialty integrates biological, clinical and behavioral sciences.

More information about the Family Medicine specialty.

Make A Difference!


The Department of Family and Community Medicine is supported by funds from private philanthropy and government and institutional grants. While every source of funding is important, private philanthropic support is especially vital to the success of the department.

More about Making a Difference

FCM News Flash - Monthly Newsletter for the Department of Family and Community Medicine


Learn more about the activities and accomplishments of our faculty and staff! The FCM News Flash newsletter archives can be found here.

FCM Archives - Archived Stories from the Department Website 


To read more about recent events in the Department and Family and Community Medicine, click here to access our archived stories page.

Advancing Family Medicine at Northwestern


The Department of Family and Community Medicine was established in 1997 to serve the people of Chicago and the Midwest. The primary mission of the department is to train family physicians and physician assistants to provide outstanding patient-centered, culturally-appropriate care. We seek to become one of the top family medicine departments in the country, providing students, residents, fellows, and faculty with opportunities to develop innovative teaching programs; contribute to the science of health care delivery; and train future leaders of the specialty of Family Medicine.

The department has a number of teams working together to accomplish its primary mission, including Northwestern McGaw Family Medicine Residency at Humboldt Park, Northwestern McGaw Family Medicine Residency at Lake Forest, the Physician Assistant Program located at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago campus, a pre-doctoral education program focused on training medical students about the specialty of Family Medicine, the National Institute of Health-supported Research Program, the Chicago Community Engagement Program (CCEP), and a strategic opportunity leadership team. 

The Department has built strong relationships with a number of instituitions including Erie Family Health CenterHeartland International Health Center, Heartland Heath Outreach, Norwegian American Hospital, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, Northwestern Medical Group and PCC Community Wellness Center

Destination: Chicago Featured in the Latest Issue of Ward Rounds!


Destination: Chicago, a pre-orientation program designed to inform incoming Feinberg medical students about the diversity of the city’s neighborhoods and provide them with opportunities to help the underserved, took place in the Fall of 2011. The program was spearheaded by second-year medical students and Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG)  leaders Alex Friedman and Brandi Jackson, with support from the Augusta Webster Office of Medical Education, the Department of Preventive Medicine and the Department of Family and Community Medicine. During this one-of-a-kind pre-orientation program,  the incoming students "visited six Chicago neighborhoods and met with local leaders and representatives from outreach organizations to learn about the populations they serve, the health issues they face, and the programs they offer. The new students became more familiar with these communities by using public transportation and walking the streets, by eating in local restaurants and talking to residents, and by gaining hands-on experience through group service projects."

Terry Long, Coordinator for the Department of Family and Community Medicine's Chicago Community Engagement Program (CCEP), worked closely with Alex and Brandi to coordinate the site visits, speakers and service activities for the program, communicating also with colleagues from other departments in Feinberg and community partners throughout the city. "It was a great honor to help create a meaningful introduction to community health from the perspective of health organizations and Chicago residents located in these diverse neighborhoods," Terry stated.  

Click here to learn more about Destination: Chicago

Dr. Elizabeth Ryan Published in American College of Surgeons!


Elizabeth Ryan, EdD and Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, has published an article that is currently available at the American College of Surgeons Division of Education website. 

Entitled "Optimize Learning with Enhanced Video-Conferenced Presentations," the article "offers six helpful tips on how to deliver an effective video-conferenced presentation that engages your target audience and makes your presentation memorable. Specifically, the article defines characteristics of effective presenters and gives advice on how to plan and deliver a video-conferenced presentation that optimizes learning."

Dr. Ryan has had much experience maximizing the educational benefits of technology through learning experiences. In 2007 until 2011, she taught online and in person for the Northwestern School of Continuing Studies, designing a Master's in Medical Informatics Capstone course. Most recently, she has redesigned the course so that it may be delivered asynchronously. With her expertise in marrying technology and theory, she also worked to develop the Research Education and Service learning Initiative (RESLI) , which "delivers online professional development programs to residents, community clinicians and other health professionals and provides support and infrastructure needed to productively engage in scholarly activity."

When asked about the the importance of technology in teaching, Dr. Ryan stated, "There are a lot of faculty teaching today who didn't grow up with computers in the same way as their students. It's not that teachers must use technology to educate, but that teachers should have an idea of the way that their learners process information, so that they communicate on the same level.  

"In the RESLI model, students work on learning modules on their own, and then come together to learn as a community. In this case, we would assign technology to preteach, in the same way an instructor might assign a book chapter to read before class."

Dr. Ryan is positive about the future of using technology to educate. "We are moving towards blended distance learning as a framework. We just have to be mindful of how we use technology, so that we are making sure to always advance knowledge, and not get caught up in the bells and whistles."

Click here to view Dr. Ryan's article online!

Northwestern University's "Evidence-Based Interventions to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harm on College Campuses" 


 The Northwestern University conference "Evidence-Based Interventions to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harm on College Campuses" took place at the Norris Center on the university's Evanston campus on October 25 and 26, 2011. The coordination team for this important conference included Dr. Michael Fleming, Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, and Arona Erez-Gur, Research Project Coordinator.  

The primary goal of the meeting was to review “What We Know” and “What We Don’t Know” about 18 interventions designed to reduce alcohol use and harm on college campuses, and to determine the applicability of these interventions to Northwestern University, other campuses in the Chicagoland area, and universities involved in the Dartmouth Learning Collaborative on High Risk Drinking. Northwestern President Morton Schapiro (pictured) and Provost Daniel Linzer also addressed the conference.

Participants of the meeting included 16 national experts leading discussions on the 18 interventions, leaders of  Dartmouth’s National College Health Improvement Project (NCHIP), Northwestern faculty, staff, and students, and many participants from campuses in and outside of Chicago.

Click here to learn more about the conference and the experts and the interventions from "Evidence-Based Interventions to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harm on College Campuses."

To view the the conference program, click here.

Lauren Taylor Published in October Issue of CTS!


Lauren Taylor, MEd, is part of a writing collaborative whose work has been featured in the October, 2011 of  Clinical and Translational Science (CTS). The article is one in a series of eight white papers that were produced by the national CTSA mentor working group. In these white papers, all of which were published in the CTS journal, 12 CTSA universities explored the competencies, expectations, alignment and evaluation of research mentors and mentees at institutions of higher learning. Lauren's writing team included Emma Meagher, MD (first author), Jeff Probstfeld, MD, and Michael Fleming, MD, MPH. The title of their work is "Evaluating Research Mentors in the Area of Clinical Translational Science: A Review of the Literature." Lauren Taylor is an Instructor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. This is her first publication in a national academic journal.

When asked about the process of writing with a group of university faculty from across the country, Lauren stated, "This experience taught me that you could indeed write a paper with people across the country even if it was just through email and sporadic phone calls" (Dr. Meagher is located at the University of Pennsylvania, while Dr. Probstfeld is from the University of Washington). Most significantly, exploring the evaluation processes of research mentors and mentees while working on the article led to other ideas Lauren felt compelled to explore. "I learned that there were more papers that could be written on this complex topic. With another group of collaborators, we followed up by creating a new model of evaluating mentorship, something that could be used by a CTSA but also beyond." Lauren's second paper will be featured in the February issue of CTS.

Click here to view the October issue of CTS!

Dr. Mark Loafman Inducted into the Illinois State University 2011 College of Applied Science and Technology Hall of Fame


Chair of the Advisory Board for the College of Applied Science and Technology at Illinois State University, Mark Loafman, MD, MPH was recently inducted into the College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) Hall of Fame. Dr. Loafman's induction was concurrent with with seven other recipients of this honor, all of whom represent the diverse disciplines within the College.

According to Jeffrey A. Wood, Ph.D, Professor and Dean at CAST, "(Dr. Loafman's) success reflects positively on the College of Applied Science and Technology."

Dr. Loafman is an Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and is the Chief Clinical Integration Officer at Norwegian American Hospital and Director of Inpatient Services for the recently developed Northwestern McGaw Family Medicine Residency program.

Northwestern PA Students Provide Community Health Service


(Photos: Courtesy Kris Healy)

On August 27, more than 20 percent of the Northwestern Physican Assistant Program’s students, accompanied by faculty member, Kris Healy, MPH, PA-C, participated in the Dr. Jorge Prieto Family Health Center’s Back-to-School Health Fair. The health center is located in Little Village or “La Villita,” a medically underserved Latino neighborhood in Chicago’s South Lawndale community.  The center is one of the Cook County Health and Hospital Systems primary care centers.

Hundreds of this community’s children and adults received a variety of health services. Four second-year PA students performed school physicals and demonstrated examination techniques to first year students. Nine first-year students provided visual acuity screenings, assessed vital signs and BMIs, reviewed immunization records for children. All of these services were necessary for the children to begin the new school year. The PA students also participated in adult screenings for diabetes mellitus by assessing blood glucose levels and for hypertension through measuring blood pressure for neighborhood adults.

Dr. Mark Loafman Appointed Faculty Co-Chair of the Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative


The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA) has appointed Mark Loafman, MD, MPH faculty Co-Chair in the fourth cohort of a national collaborative: the Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative (PSPC 4.0). Dr. Loafman was selected because of his "outstanding commitment to PSPC has been undoubtedly evident by his relentless work with the teams and his faculty colleagues, and his ability to help us achieve successful learning experiences for all involved."

Dr. Loafman stated that "CMS has adopted this quality and safety initiative, mandating that each states Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) implement and spread the project to more than 3,000 communities, focusing on Medicare and dual eligible patients with uncontrolled chronic conditions. As a result, the CMS Illinois QIO has asked that our Regional Safety Net initiative lead this effort in Illinois. A collaborative team with NAH, Erie, PCC, NMH and the service organizations who have joined us would be ideal."

Dr. Bechara Choucair Interviewed on ABC's Rapid Round 


Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - Bechara Choucair, MD, was interviewed by anchorwoman Judy Hsu on ABC News 7's Rapid Round segment. During the interview, Dr. Choucair discussed the "flood water mosquitoes" that have affected the Chicago area as a result of the higher volume of rain during the summer. He followed up the conversation by offering health advice on how best to deal with mosquito bites (cold compresses, antihistamine lotions/oral medications) and concluded by stating there was little or no danger of this increased population of mosquitoes causing West Nile virus in Chicago.

In the second part of the news segment, Dr. Choucair briefly described the plan for the Healthy Chicago program, initiated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Public Health. When speaking about the focus and the unique quality of the Healthy Chicago plan, Dr. Choucair mentioned that a concentration of Healthy Chicago will incorporate "policy systems and environmental changes."

For video of the interview, as well as a list of the twelve priority areas for Healthy Chicago, click here.

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This page last updated 

June 13, 2014
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Email: fcm@northwestern.edu

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