Here at Abington Family Medicine, we provide heath care to a diverse patient population, seeing patients of all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnicities. In addition to providing care to members of our community who are underserved, including the homebound, the family medicine residency program has a strong tradition of community outreach and involvement. Each resident is asked to do 2 days of community outreach each year.
Local Community Outreach
School Health Services
Dr. Fidler is the medical director of the school districts of Jenkintown, Wissahickon, and Upper Moreland. She and several residents provide annual and pre-participation physical exams as well as school physicals for those districts. The residents provide sideline coverage for Jenkintown High School Football as well as medical coverage for charity runs organized by the town. Dr. Fidler is also the medical Director for Bryn Athyn College Student Health Services and a consulting physician for their Sport Medicine Services. The Abington Family Medicine Residents provide one session per week of student health services at Bryn Athyn College and provide sideline coverage for the home hockey games.
Resident Outreach Experiences
Through longitudinal and block electives, residents have volunteered at the Hope Clinic, Esperanza, the Milestones Deaf Services Group Home, the Chinatown Clinic, the Phoenixville Clinic, the Indian Health Service, and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, as well as international sites in Botswana, Montrose, Dominican Republic, the Andes Mountain, Ecuador, Mumbai, India, St. Petersburg, Guinea, Northern Ontario, Alaska, Dahod, India, Louisiana, and Zuni, New Mexico (serving the Zuni and Navajo Indian Tribes).
Botswana (Dr. Olsen)
I was fortunate enough to spend an away rotation taking care of children with HIV in Botswana, participating with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative. Botswana is a sparsely populated country in southern Africa with a very high HIV rate. I spent most of my time in the capital city of Gaborone but also traveled out to two remote hospitals.
Montrose (Dr. Meade)
Montrose, PA, is a lovely rural borough overlooking a beautiful lake. The community (population ~2,000) is a mix of farmers, humble country-folk, other laborers, and a few wealthier people who appreciate the benefits of living in the country. Due to controversial fracking of the underground Marcellus shale for natural gas in that area, Endless Mountain Health Systems was able to secure funding from the gas company to build a desperately-needed new hospital nearby the original site which was under construction during my rotation.
This community of patients is stoic and tended to avoid the doctor unless something is significantly wrong... and as a result, I had the opportunity to see some good pathology during my month there. I had the opportunity to do several elliptical biopsies, an I&D of an infected sebaceous cyst the size of my fist, suturing of multiple lacerations, and multiple colonoscopies with a degree of independence not typically afforded larger hospitals. My primary attending was very energetic, loved to teach and enjoy a good joke. Other doctors and nurses/medical assistants/staff at the hospital were very gracious to me and truly embraced my presence. Overall, working with Endless Mountain Health Systems was a fun and memorable experience and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in rural health.
Every winter, the residency program sends a group of 6 doctors to Santiago, Dominican Republic for a week long medical mission. Working with a multidisciplinary team also consisting of Abington Hospital Surgery and OB/GYN attendings and residents, the primary care team travels to different locations each day and will see about 1200 patients. The team will has seen everything from ordinary infectious diseases, to parasites, to the problems associated with a lack of long-term medical care. It’s always a great experience that touches everyone involved.
Honduras (Dr. Ando)
My Away Elective in Honduras was one of my most valuable experiences of residency training. I went into my month there with an openness to learn more about a new country and community, and received more than I could have imagined because of that openness and willingness. It was an amazing opportunity to use my skills as a physician and see to my own growth from four years prior as a medical student volunteer in Mexico.
I spent three weeks at a public health clinic in La Ceiba, Honduras, along the north central coast across from the Bay Islands. During this time, I also took intensive Medical Spanish for three hours a day. My Spanish-speaking abilities have improved tremendously. This has proven to be an important asset to my care for my current Spanish-speaking patients in the States. The last week of my month, I worked with the Abington Hospital team where we set up mobile clinics everyday in cities around El Progreso, Honduras.
I am forever grateful for the opportunity and support that the Abington Family Medicine Away Elective gifted to me.
Take advantage of it!
Honduras (Dr. Kong)
Philadelphia (Dr. Schroeder)
Family Medicine is the perfect avenue to preach preventative practices, and in my opinion, no population is more impressionable (and volatile) than the adolescent population. For this reason, I chose to do an Away Elective in Adolescent Medicine at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. During my month-long rotation, I encountered teens and young adults seeking counsel on sexual health, weighing pregnancy options, and struggling with chronic illnesses all in the backdrop of one of the country’s most impoverished communities. Working with this challenging population enabled me to gain a new skill set that I will be able to extend to not only my future adolescent patients, but also to any clinical scenario where the patient or circumstance is particularly difficult.
Andes Mountains, Ecuador (Dr. Bonica)
For my away elective, I was able to spend a month in the Andes Mountains in Ecuador. I lived and worked within a community of 23 indigenous villages, traveling every day to a different village to provide primary care. Having worked for a year in the Bolivian Andes prior to medical school, it was a wonderful experience to get to go back and work in a similar indigenous community. I was able to appreciate how much I've learned in my training, and also to put my experience to work in a medically underserved community.
Mumbai, India (Dr. Garg)
I travelled to Mumbai, India for my away elective. I worked at Shakuntala Maternity & Gynecological Hospital where I was actively involved in vaginal deliveries, C-sections, & hysterectomies. I also had the pleasure of participating in some in vitro procedures as well. Overall my experience was amazing and taught me how my education could help so many people around the world. As a family practitioner, I am thankful for my training at Abington Family medicine. I truly valued having the opportunity to give back and hope to continue doing international medical work in the future.
Anaheim, CA (Dr. Mai)
In deciding how to spend my 3rd year away elective, I considered many possibilities. Ultimately I chose to work with a potential future employer: Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser Permanente is a major health care organization that covers much of the patient care in California along with several other states throughout the country. Its focus is providing easy access to preventive and specialty care for its members. I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Andrew Giap, an experienced gastroenterologist and expert in the sub-specialty of endoscopic ultrasound. During the month I worked with Dr. Giap in his clinic as well as with consults in the hospital. I also spent a lot of time observing and learning about endoscopic ultrasound and its use in diagnosing and staging various cancers. In addition to my primary duties with the GI department, I had the opportunity to round with the Family Medicine residency program, allowing me to learn more about the Kaiser Permanente system and to meet several key people that have helped me in my job search. The entire experience was educationally rich and has provided me with an initial stepping stone to obtaining a dream job in my hometown.
Zuni, New Mexico (Dr. Timko)
The opportunity to spend a month practicing medicine with the Indian Health Service on the Zuni Indian Reservation in a remote area of northwestern New Mexico was a wonderful experience and a highlight of my residency. The Zuni Comprehensive Health Center operates on a family medicine model providing both inpatient and outpatient care to Zuni natives on the reservation with a population of approximately 11,500, as well as Navajo natives from the region and non-natives.
I saw patients in the outpatient urgent care clinic and took call for the inpatient service admitting patients through the emergency room and continuing to follow them through their hospital course. I also did home visits with the Zuni Home Health Care Agency, which was a great experience allowing me to better observe and understand the native culture and way of life as it impacts health and vice versa.
I will forever have memories of the people I worked with, the patients I cared for, and the medicine I practiced in Zuni. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity thanks to the AFM residency program.
Dahod, India (Dr. Shah)
I had a wonderful opportunity of going back to my native country of India to experience the practice of Primary Care Medicine in a rural setting. I was fortunate enough to complete a month long rotation in a village called Dahod, which happens to be the village where I grew up and spent most of my childhood, and where my grandfather worked as a local pharmacist. The experience was nothing short of rewarding, and certainly an eye opening one. I worked in a primary care clinic that lacked most of the technological advances of western nations, and in that setting, the “all around” skills that I developed during my Family Medicine training at Abington Hospital were truly tested. Where echocardiography is not readily available, I had to attempt to diagnose cardiac murmurs at the bedside. Where CT scans are not readily available, I had to trust in my abdominal examinations skills. Where gram stain, cultures, and biopsies are not always at hand, I had an opportunity to clinically diagnose diverse infectious diseases. And, where electronic medical records are unheard of, and where English is the minority language, I had to practice careful history obtaining and communication skills. I realized that the preventative medicine practices in our country exist only as a luxury in Dahod. For example, one weekend, I volunteered for helping in a breast cancer screening mammography session where they screened women above the age of 40. This is the only single mammogram that most of these women would get during their entire life. I am truly grateful for my Family Medicine training at Abington Hospital which prepared me to meet the challenges of practicing rudimentary medicine in a vast array of clinical circumstances, and gave me an opportunity to experience a rotation in a rural setting in India.
New Orleans, LA (Dr. McGann)
Five years after the storm, Hurricane Katrina’s devastation is still clearly evident in the stories New Orleanians have to share. I had the opportunity to help serve one of the areas hardest hit when I spent a month volunteering in a Daughters of Charity clinic staffed by physicians from Tulane University’s School of Medicine this past year. Immersing myself in the culture of New Orleans and listening to the message of survival its people have to offer was an inspirational journey. The medicine offered unique challenges I may never have encountered in my own backyard. Experiencing a patient population so different from my own taught me lessons in tolerance, patience and perseverance that I hope to carry throughout my practice in years to come.
Nome, Alaska (Dr. Mady)
"With a current population of roughly 3500, Nome is a community in the Northwestern part of Alaska that encompasses Alaska's frontier. Remote — with only two roads leading in/out of Nome — the Norton Health Sound is crucial to community health.
I was fortunate enough to spend a month there working with the people of the town, which encompassed both native Eskimo and non-natives. I saw patients in the clinic daily, both worked-up and admitted patients coming through the 2-bed ER, and was even able to travel on a small plane to a remote village of 200 people to provide medical care.
The experience was a great one. The people were friendly, and the pathology was fascinating. It was family medicine at its best."
Russia (Dr. Rozen and Dr. Shtern)
Guinea (Dr. Wiedemann)