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Med School Receives $1.8M Grant to Establish Primary Care Fellowship

Dr. Victoria Kaprielian, associate dean for faculty development and medical education at Campbell University’s Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine, has been awarded a $1.8M five-year grant through the Health Resources and Services Administration to fund a Primary Care Champions Fellowship.

The purpose of the program is to strengthen primary care and the workforce by establishing fellowship programs to train community-based practicing primary care physician and/or physician assistant champions to lead health care transformation and enhance teaching in community-based settings.

“We know that we need more clinical teachers,” said Dr. Kaprielian. “We are particularly focused on rural and medically underserved populations and [training] fellows from those settings.”

The School of Medicine is surrounded by rural and medically underserved areas. Many of the preceptors currently working with Campbell medical students are practicing in those communities, and in medically underserved areas throughout North Carolina.

“This part-time fellowship allows clinicians who are already in practice to get more training in how to modernize their practices, how to adapt to the changing healthcare system, and how to do that effectively so they can teach in the practice setting,” said Kaprielian. “Many current practitioners are feeling overwhelmed and overworked, so the idea of adding a learner to the mix can be [even more] overwhelming.”

The one-year program requires fellows to attend a four-hour class on-campus each week and complete a practice transformation project. Weekly topics include leadership and managing change, teaching skills, and administrative skills for running the business and/or educational aspects for any type of practice.

The practice transformation project allows for the direct application of these skills. The fellows identify an area, clinical or educational, within their respective practices that needs improvement. They analyze it and implement a change that they can then manage moving forward.

“This is all about empowering [providers] to be able to make changes in their practices,” said Kaprielian. “[It creates a positive environment] that can incorporate learners, improve quality of care, and keep the clinicians thriving and happy – and their patients well-served – while training more clinicians to come to those communities.”

— SHELLEY HOBBS