LancasterGeneralHealth Family Medicine Residency Program

Our Program / Community Service

Community Medicine


Community medicine has always been a fundamental educational experience for residents at Lancaster General Health. Ever since Nikitas J. Zervanos, MD, named our department Family and Community Medicine more than 40 years ago, the concept that healthcare extends far beyond the office visit has been a core tenet of our educational mission. Now population health is taking community medicine principles and expanding them to a broader systems level to promote more effective healthcare delivery. Both will play a key role in your training as a family physician.

Residents are given the opportunity to develop, expand and implement their own ideas about community medicine and service, as well as population health, throughout the three years of residency. The introduction to community medicine begins at program orientation when soon-to-be new interns engage in a cultural "scavenger hunt" designed to highlight the vital, ever-changing diversity of Lancaster County.

PGY-1 residents spend an entire block rotation exploring the concept and practice of community medicine and solidifying their interests in a particular area of the discipline. During this block, you will be involved in care of new immigrants to our county, interact with disability providers, visit with the city health department and engage in a comprehensive home visit assessment among others.

By the second and third year, residents will move beyond traditional community medicine principles and be actively engaged in an innovative population health curriculum. This curriculum will consist of various modules about population health principles and involve a scholarly activity. At the same time, our residents will be involved in various health system committees to understand a "systems approach" to healthcare delivery.

Community medicine and population health principles overlap at many points. Both are fundamental to training in family medicine. Our program is well positioned to capture the "real world" experiences of community service and combine that with higher level system and critical thinking skills necessary to promote change in our current healthcare environment. We expect our residents to be leaders of healthcare delivery in the future and see our curriculum in community medicine and population health as vital to achieve that goal.

At Lancaster General Health, you will understand how and in what ways you can interact with the community at large, but also how to change the systems of care involved to enhance the overall health of a population. We expect residents to engage in activities befitting the name Family and Community Medicine. Community medicine and population health are necessary extensions of what goes on in the office and serves as a critical skill set providing holistic, culturally- sensitive and public health oriented care to the population we serve.

William A. Fife, Jr., MD Director of Community Medicine Rotation; Associate Director, Family and Community Medicine


The rotation/curriculum is broken down into one month of an intensive Community Medicine experience and various other curricular activities throughout the year.
Recent activities in the community over the past year have included:
  • Working with the extensive migrant farm worker population in Lancaster County.
  • Inspecting local restaurants and tattoo parlors with the City Health Officers.
  • Providing health care to vulnerable populations at a free clinic.
  • Participating in the annual Homeless census.
  • Working with the agencies that provide educational opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities.
  • Inspecting houses for Lead, with the State Lead Nurse.
  • Visiting with United Way of Lancaster County officials.
  • Providing health-related talks to women in a long-term drug rehab program.
  • Visiting and working at the school-based health clinics.
  • Surveying the health needs of the County Prison.
These community activities are enhanced by meetings with others in our department including Social Work, Research and Epidemiology.
The Lancaster General Health Family Medicine Residency is a place where you can experience almost any aspect of Community Medicine and service.  We consider ourselves lucky to live in a county that works hard to care for all its residents.  Our past residents have been an indispensible part of the "community-care" of Lancaster County.

Care Connections

Care Connections is our health care delivery model for persons with complex health and social needs. It is an innovative, intensive, holistic and multidisciplinary primary care medical home for patients with complex illness. It is one way Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health is transforming healthcare. Care Connections is designed to serve patients with a mixture of chronic disease and behavioral health issues, who have been admitted to the hospital multiple times in the past year. The clinic focuses on treating people holistically, including addressing issues around the social determinants of health. The program provides quality care with a customized experience, while lowering overall healthcare costs and utilization. The medical team is supported by patient care navigators, a social worker, a chaplain, care management nurses, a behavioral health psychologist and a clinical pharmacist. The clinic also utilizes a Medical Legal Attorney and a Financial Case Manager as part of the care team. All residents have a chance to rotate through Care Connections during their Community Medicine Rotation and can do a month elective at Care Connections. Care Connections began as a pilot within the Lancaster General Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program. From 40 patients to over 700, Care Connections has grown exponentially. At its core, Care Connections strives to empower patients and teach accountability. The team has scaled efforts to meet patient demand by using technological support such as the MyLGHealth patient portal. LG Health has received support from the County of Lancaster, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and multiple community stakeholders. Most importantly, Care Connections has been designed and continues to be redesigned with assistance by our patients.