In short, intern blocktime is dedicated to the education of our resident interns and provides an opportunity to nurture their own sense of community among themselves and the department, as a whole. Interns take part in a variety of learning modules designed to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to practice in the Patient Centered Medical Home and to foster their identities as family physicians. A significant portion of this time was also spent learning about “community” and about their impact as physicians outside of the exam room. It is here that the Family Medicine resident’s CHPT journey begins.
Intern teams spent 3 days in an assigned community in the Sacramento region (Oak Park, Rancho Cordova, or Woodland/Delta) where they learned about that community from a Community Faculty member. This first year of CHPT focuses on making connections and learning about the assets in the communities visited. Interns took part in activities including playcare, food distribution, and group facilitation and visited a variety of organizations including the Sacramento Children’s Museum, Harm Reduction Services, Food Literacy Center, Rancho Cordova City Hall, and local schools to name a few. Teams also experienced a “day in the life” of a community member in need where they received a fictitious (but likely) scenario requiring them to visit a number of resources/programs for assistance while traveling by bus. These 3 days are important ones as they build the foundation for their CHPT projects in years 2 and 3.
The blocktime experience culminated with a scavenger hunt in Oak Park that focused on the arts and culture of the community. Too often, we focus on what’s “wrong” in a neighborhood so this activity focused on introducing the interns to some of the fun, creative, and exciting things that Oak Park has to offer. Interns had the opportunity to interact with the public during this activity including one particular gentleman who remarked “You all look crazy!” on seeing one of the groups running around Oak Park. When the team members shared that they were Family Medicine physicians who were taking part in a scavenger hunt to learn more about the neighborhood he shared: “Oh! That’s really cool! I’m glad you’re doing it. Have fun!”.
During blocktime, interns were encouraged to “soak it all in” and ask questions while keeping an open mind about the many potential projects they may want to support. Resident interns shared that they learned about resources/programs to share with their patients and the importance of using an asset-based community development perspective. Most importantly, perhaps, they reported having a new perspective on the patient experience that will influence their work both professionally and personally.