The physicians associated with the Lawrence Family Medicine Residency have decided to be represented by a union.
The National Labor Relations Board recently reported that the majority of eligible votes were cast in favor of the Intern and Resident Committee, a local chapter of the Service Employees International Union. Residents are associated with the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, which became the first federally licensed community health center in the United States in 1994 to host a teaching residency program. As WHAV reported last December, the Lawrence Family Medicine Residency Program also plans to expand to 48 physicians through a federal grant.
“Although our residents sometimes spend the majority of their time onsite at Lawrence General Hospital, we are their employer,” read a statement from the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center. “Throughout this process, we have been consistent in maintaining our respect for the right of residents to decide for themselves whether or not to support CIR/SEIU. We respect the outcome of this vote,” he said.
The health center said it would do “everything we can to ensure that this change does not affect the learning environment for our residents and the spirit of commitment to uplifting the community that exists in our organization”.
While most family medicine residency programs last three years, the Lawrence program is a four-year training program that is part of a national training innovation pilot project. Residents spend an additional year of training to further expand their scope of practice, particularly in an area of concentration, and to develop additional expertise in population health, health systems management and leadership, and the integration of such care in the communities. Resident physicians also participate in a nationally recognized program where they learn to speak and provide medical care in Spanish. The goal of the training program is to train family physicians who provide comprehensive primary care to vulnerable populations and can improve the health and health equity of these communities.