An Update from Dr. Tina Jennings, Director

Greetings from Memorial Family Medicine Residency.  It is with much excitement and some trepidation as I report to you amidst our COVID-19 Pandemic. 

This year has been filled with many remarkable achievements.  Our faculty have grown in wonderful ways and are working at a high level to provide excellent education for our residents while also continuing to assess our curricula to ensure it has the maximum impact. We are maturing many of our new educational initiatives including: our suboxone program, point of care ultrasound, our quality improvement curriculum, and our osteopathic curriculum.  We continue to critically assess how to be on the cutting edge of family medicine education and innovate in ways that will arm our residents with the best tools possible for them to enter the practice of their choice upon graduation from Memorial.

Our residents continue to be our greatest asset.  Again, scoring above the national average on their in-training exam and operating at a high level in the clinic and hospital settings, they continue to impress us all with the care they provide for their patients and the dedication they demonstrate with regard to their own education.  We proudly celebrated the impressive achievement of our chief resident, Dr. Kate Callaghan, in her receipt of the AAFP Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education.   This award is bestowed to 12 family medicine residents nationally and awarded to only the best and brightest residents in our country.  Kate’s achievement is a reflection of the type of residents who chooses to train at Memorial and the continued high level of training and experience they receive while continuing their educational journeys at Memorial.

As I reflect on many of our accomplishments from the past year, it seems like they happened a lifetime ago.  We have all had to stretch to find ways to prepare for and respond to this challenging landscape that the COVID-19 pandemic has laid before us.  It is always remarkable to me to see how people can adapt for the better during difficult times, and this has been absolutely true at Memorial.  The pandemic has impacted every facet of how we provide education to our residents and the way we deliver patient care.  I have been utterly impressed with our faculty and residents as we have been forced to rewrite and re-do how we provide education and how we provide care to our most vulnerable patients in South Bend, IN.

Within a day, we:

  • Revamped our clinic to provide a respiratory and non-respiratory side to ensure we are able to see all patients that need our help and that our access is not compromised.
  • Educated our faculty and residents on aspects of medicine that we did not have to think about much before the beginning of this year: social distancing, the importance and finite resource of personal protective equipment, and how to treat a disease process none of us have seen before in history.
  • Repurposed rotations at the drop of a hat to accommodate the educational needs of our residents.

We remain poised and ready to continue to rise to the needs our community may have surrounding the pandemic and are actively planning a food and diaper drive for our patients to help those most vulnerable populations that are impacted disproportionately during times of stress.  Change can be unsettling for many, yet every day a new change needs to be made, and I remain impressed with the Memorial team’s adaptation during this historic time.

During unsettling times, it can be reassuring to look towards our future.  With our remarkable match of geographically diverse candidates, the retention of several of our current third-years for fellowships, and the continued engagement and commitment of our current residents and faculty, I have no doubt we will weather this storm and come out the other side stronger and better.

Now more than ever, we wish you and yours health and happiness and thank you for your continued support of our program.

Tina Jennings