"This unique award distinguishes an entire department, and the Department of Family Medicine is a well-deserving recipient," Milliken said. "This department demonstrates commitment to the finest in teaching, as well as commitment to serving the entire state of Nebraska."
The University-wide Departmental Teaching Award (UDTA) recognizes a department within the university that has made a unique and significant contribution to teaching.
The Department of Family Medicine is characterized by the excellence demonstrated in a wide range of accomplishments and initiatives. Founded in 1970 shortly after Family Medicine was accepted as a medical specialty, the UNMC Department has its roots in a strong tradition of general practice service and education in Nebraska, and was established as one of the first Family Medicine residences in the United States. The Department graduated its first class of residents in 1973, and since its inception has graduated 522 Family Medicine residents and provided instruction to more than 3,000 medical students.
The award nomination states: "The Department of Family Medicine embodies the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s commitment to the 500-mile campus by providing instruction to over 600 pre-medical students, medical students, family medicine residents and participating physicians annually, in multiple venues across the state of Nebraska, the Midwest and beyond. The Department maintains clinical instruction sites in more than 40 Nebraska communities."
The department has an experienced cadre of faculty members with diverse clinical, service and research interests – 46 faculty members as well as 283 volunteer, community physician faculty across Nebraska – ensuring that the department supports the mission of UNMC through excellent educational programs, commitment to education in all areas of Nebraska, and nationally recognized service learning programs to reach patients in greatest need of medical care. Department of Family Medicine faculty have taken a lead role in distance learning. They collaborate inside and outside of the university. And they use new technologies and teaching methods, and are constantly evaluating the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of their curriculum.
The nomination continues: "The Department of Family Medicine strives to fulfill its mission to help meet the health care needs of the citizens of Nebraska. The Department has been a campus and national leader in the development of innovative educational programs across the spectrum of medical education and has established instructional sites across the state. Department faculty has shown exceptional dedication to the education of family physicians and has made a tangible positive impact on the health of our citizens."
In fact, programs at the UNMC Department of Family Medicine have been recognized as leaders in programs for primary care education and rural education, most notably the Rural Residency Training Program, one of the first in the country to allow university-based residents to train in rural communities.
More than 70 percent of the practicing family physicians in Nebraska – and more than 85 percent of family physicians practicing where there is a shortage of health care – have received part or all of their medical education from this department.
The Department of Family Medicine will receive the UDTA at a ceremony on April 28 in Omaha. The honor originated in 1993, and the recipient is selected by a committee of outstanding peers.