Areas of Concentration Curriculum

What is an area of concentration (AOC)?

Recognizing the diverse aspirations of our residents, substantial time is allotted to the AOC curriculum - a self-directed, customizable curriculum that residents can use to help reach their career goals. The curriculum provides career guidance from distinguished faculty, a menu of robust educational opportunities and an opportunity to learn collaboratively with a group of peers at different stages of residency training.

Residents generally use AOC weeks to develop a specific set of skills through longitudinal experiences. Examples include subspecialty clinic engagement, additional time on existing rotations (space permitting), work on capstones and non-clinical work that is directly related to an AOC goal.

What are the different areas of concentration?

The academic physician has an attitude of inquiry, an aptitude for critical thinking and a desire to improve the status quo. The goal of the Academics and Research Area of Concentration is to help you launch a career that will improve health through education, research and scholarship. The AOC provides opportunities to explore the multiple facets of academic medicine, to hone teaching skills and to complete a scholarly project in education or research with the guidance of our distinguished academic family physicians.

The comprehensive family physician prioritizes the values of continuity, coordination, comprehensiveness and being the first point of contact. These traits are foundational to the primary care physician’s ability to demonstrably improve health quality and reduce costs. They seek to provide a full spectrum of ambulatory and inpatient care including office-based procedures and home visits. They minimize unnecessary specialty referrals and engender deep doctor-patient relationships. The goal of the Comprehensive Area of Concentration is to help you develop a robust primary care career motivated first and foremost by the needs of your patients. The AOC provides access to a wide array of opportunities to deepen your skills and hone your practice style.

The globally minded physician sees opportunities for collaboration and service beyond our country’s borders and understands the complexity of being a responsible global citizen. The goal of the Global Health Area of Concentration is to train leaders in global health that are able to translate the unique skillset of family physicians to resource-poor areas abroad. The AOC provides the opportunity to develop expertise in global health and to participate in a number of international partnerships supported by the university’s global initiatives.

The rural family doctor understands that they are uniquely qualified to serve the medical needs of rural communities and are ready to become pillars of their community. The goal of the Rural Health Area of Concentration is to prepare you for rural practice. Through diverse rural training experiences, procedural training and leadership development, the AOC provides the opportunity to fully realize your potential as a family physician in some of America’s most beautiful and underserved communities.

The family physician with a special interest in women and children’s health possesses expertise that allows them to promote continuity of care in some of life’s most poignant moments by serving their own patients and by supporting their colleagues as content experts. The goal of the Women’s and Children’s Health Area of Concentration is to help you become an expert in the care of women and children. The AOC provides additional exposure to gynecologic, obstetrical, and neonatal care and the opportunity to gain additional exposure to procedures such as operative deliveries and pregnancy terminations.

AOC frequently asked questions

AOC time can be used for professional development within a wide range of educational formats, including:

  • Certifications: The residency requires certification in ACLS, PALS, NRP and ATLS. Residents can use AOC time to pursue additional certifications such as STABLE, ALSO Instructor or AWLS.
  • CME: With approval and after allocated CME time is exhausted, residents may use AOC time for CME activities such as STFM, AAFP, or ASCCP conferences.
  • Specialty Clinics: Within our department, there are opportunities to learn in specialty clinics (substance use disorders, geriatrics, integrative medicine, transgender health). There are also many opportunities outside of our department. AOC champions, ARDs, residents, faculty mentors, administrative supports, and the list of AOC experiences are all resources.
  • AOC Tracks: There is a suggested curriculum for each AOC area that can serve as a starting point for a resident to build a substantial AOC curriculum.  
  • AOC experiences: Several AOC experiences are available that can be utilized in 1-2 week increments. When used in a recurrent fashion, residents can develop an area of expertise.

The core curriculum of our residency is substantial which means that few residents are able to obtain advanced degrees or advanced skills during their residency, AOC time notwithstanding. Residents who wish to pursue advanced training or degrees so should plan early and anticipate investing substantial effort to achieve these goals.

We welcome innovation and passion at our residency program! We also want to ensure that new programs are valuable educational experiences and sustainable, so require that new AOC content be developed in partnership with the residency section. Please contact Anthony Cheng if you are interested in creating new AOC programming.