Behavioral Medicine Curriculum

One of the strengths of a Family Medicine residency is its behavioral medicine education. Behavioral medicine integrates knowledge in the biological, behavioral, psychological and social sciences into the approach to health and illness. In addition to learning about mental illness, the UIC Family Medicine Residency behavioral medicine curriculum includes a wide range of experiences designed to enhance each physician’s ability to incorporate the biopsychosocial model into every patient visit, as well as engage in self-care and self-reflection to prevent burnout and stimulate professional growth. Components of our behavioral medicine curriculum include:

  • One-on-one behavioral medicine precepting in each of the three years of residency. Residents learn a range of skills, including structuring their medical interview, sensitive questions, brief counseling techniques, motivational interviewing, SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment), and diagnosis and treatment of common mental health conditions.
  • Adult Behavioral Medicine core – a four-week rotation with experiences through UIC’s Psychiatry Department and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. Clinics in this rotation include: mood and anxiety disorders, women’s mental health, addiction medicine and substance abuse, pain management and sleep medicine.
  • Child Behavioral Medicine elective – a four-week R3 rotation in which residents gain experience with child populations, with conditions ranging from early childhood development, ADHD, mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and adolescent medicine.
  • Behavioral Medicine Elective – Residents have the option of designing a behavioral medicine elective during their R3 year. Residents may arrange experiences from a number of sites that address behavioral medicine concerns: from sexual dysfunctions, to developmental disorders, to child abuse evaluations.
  • Monthly Didactics – residents receive monthly behavioral medicine didactics, which cover a range of topics, such as common mental illnesses, health literacy, dealing with “difficult” patients, communication strategies, working with chronic pain patients, patient-centered physical exams, and physician impairment
  • Cultural Identification and Values Clarification – Residents engage in exercises to increase awareness of their own cultures and values, and increase sensitivity to the cultures and values of others. Exercises also focus on increasing active listening skills.
  • Inpatient Support – Each week, residents who are on the inpatient unit meet to discuss stressors and successes over the past week.
  • Intern Support – Interns meet monthly to discuss the challenges of transitioning and navigating a new career, and to receive support and guidance from faculty and each other. Intern support group also allows interns an opportunity to practice a variety of self-care techniques.


Community Medicine Rotation

The second year family medicine residents participate in a four-week rotation in Community Medicine. The focus of this rotation is to improve care to all patients including vulnerable and/or underserved populations. Access and quality of care differences often result in poorer health outcomes. Addressing the health needs of individuals in urban communities involves working with patients from a wide range of settings. Our patients are uniquely vulnerable to the multiple stressors that amplify deficiencies in their social and economic environment, which have a direct impact on their health. In 2016, the Residency partnered with the Pacific Garden Mission to expand experiences to include caring for Chicago’s homeless.

Primary Goals

  1. Demonstrates humanism and cultural proficiency
  2. Advocates for individual and community health
  3. Promotes disease prevention and health promotion – partners with the patient family and community to improve health through disease prevention and health promotion

Learning Activities and Key Features

Vulnerable Populations Series

From 2011-2016, UIC FMR held a $1.92M HRSA grant for residency expansion. The Residency developed a Health Disparities Track that focused on vulnerable population care and social justice. The ultimate goal of the track was to contextualize the residency training with concepts of health disparities, access, racism and unmet need. In the hospital and clinics, the residents encounter challenging situations related to access, need and inequity. The residents work with the faculty and health team members to manage and improve their patients’ conditions. Additionally, a learning seminar is held for the residency at least monthly that focuses on the care of an underserved population (eg, care of the elderly, LGBTQ health, trans-inclusive healthcare, advocacy). In addition, multiple additional learning sessions are offered monthly and all residents are invited to COM-wide global medicine education.

Women’s Health Education

If you are interested in Women’s Health in Family Medicine, then we are the residency for you!

There are abundant opportunities for our residents to learn about a wide variety of common conditions and procedures that affect our female patients. In fact, women’s health procedures are the ones most documented by our residents. Many of these appointments are integrated into the residents’ continuity clinics. In addition, UIC-DFM organizes an Advanced Life Support for Obstetrics (ALSO) course every year for UIC and outside residents and faculty. Lastly, UIC FMR possesses a Reproductive Health Education in Family Medicine (RHEDI) grant.

We are seeking medical students and resident physicians with an interest in women’s health, maternity care, and family planning. Residents who complete their residency training at UIC-DFM have the opportunity to gain enough experience with the following conditions and procedures to seek privileging for them after graduation:

  1. Colposcopy with biopsy, management of the abnormal pap smear
  2. Cryoablation of the cervix for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)
  3. Cryoablation of genital lesions
  4. Word catheter placement for Bartholin’s abscess
  5. Diagnosis and management of abnormal uterine bleeding, including endometrial biopsy and uterine aspiration.
  6. Comprehensive family planning:
    • Contraceptive and options counseling
    • Intrauterine device placement & removal
    • Nexplanon insertion & removal
    • Uterine aspiration · Medication abortion
  7. Basic obstetrical and gynecologic ultrasound:
    • Early pregnancy ultrasound – identification of the gestational sac, yolk sac, fetal pole, adnexal, and pregnancy dating
    • Late pregnancy ultrasound – identification of fetal presentation, placental location, andamniotic fluid measurement
    • Gynecologic ultrasound – IUD localization, measurement of the uterus, adnexa, and free fluid
  8. Labor and delivery procedures (AROM, FSE, IUPC, EASI)
  9. Normal spontaneous vaginal delivery and obstetric laceration repair

For more information about the UIC FM Women’s Health Curriculum, please contact Evelyn Figueroa, MD at or Ariel Leifer, MD

Elective Rotations

Residents have five blocks of elective rotation time during their time with the Residency. Popular elective rotations include:

  • Child & Adolescent Behavioral Medicine
  • Correctional Medicine at Cermak Jail
  • Global Medicine
  • HIV
  • Medical Subspecialties at UIH
  • Urgent Care at Mile Square Health Center
  • Women’s Health, including second trimester procedures
  • Wound Care