Frequently Asked Questions

Combined Training: FAQ

What is combined training?

Combined training allows residents to train in two to three specialties simultaneously and leads to board eligibility in these specialties. Some combined training options include family medicine-psychiatry, internal medicine-psychiatry, neurology-psychiatry, and pediatrics-psychiatry-child and adolescent psychiatry. University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics offers combined training in family medicine-psychiatry and internal medicine-psychiatry. Combined training allows residents to develop a blended practice and typically takes five years to complete, making it more efficient than completing six to seven years of categorical residency programs.

How much time will I spend in each specialty?

At the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, our residents alternate between family medicine rotations and psychiatry rotations (six months in each specialty per year) for a total of 30 months in each specialty.

Is there sufficient patient volume so that I can have multiple exposures to a variety of diseases?

Yes! As the state's only academic medical center, the University of Iowa provides community-based specialty care to Iowans and a large Midwest region. Patients span the entire spectrum of care for both specialties, and residents are exposed to good mix of basic and complicated cases. Well-child and well-woman visits, ambulatory procedures, x-rays, and chronic disease management are just some of the things residents in the Family Medicine Clinic will encounter on a daily basis. Anxiety disorders, dementia, eating disorders, mood disorder, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and substance use disorders are also common presentations in our psychiatry clinics and units.

residents with bergus in work room
How diverse is your patient population?

Last year, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics provided more than 237,000 individuals with health care. About 30 percent of these patients reside in Johnson County, which has a population of 130,000 and is 82.8 percent Caucasian, 5.4 percent Asian, 5 percent African American, and 4.9 percent Hispanic. There are 50,985 households and the median household income is $51,380 in Johnson County. About 18 percent of people in Johnson County live below the national poverty level. The people of Johnson County are highly educated with 95 percent holding a high school diploma and 50.8 percent holding a bachelor's degree. Learn more about the demographics of Iowa City, Johnson County, and Iowa.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is one of two hospitals in the state the serves individuals on state's insurance program. In addition, residents have opportunities to work at the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic, a mobile clinic, and a halfway house.

What's the call schedule like?

Both Family Medicine and Psychiatry have a night float system when rotating on their services. Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, and Surgery have their own call schedules. When completing the obstetrics rotation at Trinity, the call schedule is determined by the resident. Regardless, residents stay within Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) duty hour requirements.

What are the elective opportunities?

Residents have done a number of electives including geriatrics, international medicine, research, and specialty electives like EKG, nephrology, endocrinology. Residents also have the opportunity to do away electives to further develop their specific interests.

Do you have a research project requirement for graduation?

Our program does not have a research requirement for graduation, but residents are expected to participate in scholarly activities, including a quality improvement project in their second year.

What are the fellowship opportunities available?

Graduates of our program may choose to pursue fellowship training in a number of areas of interest, including addiction medicine, geriatrics, child and adolescent psychiatry, palliative medicine, sports medicine, and research.

Where do residents who combined training work?

The opportunities are limitless for residents who complete combined training in family medicine and psychiatry. While some residents may choose to work strictly in one specialty, others may choose to mix the two specialties together. Either way combined training allows a clinician to feel comfortable providing a medical consultation in a psychiatric setting or providing a psychiatric consultation in a medical setting. Our graduates have gone on to work in:

  • Academia
  • Palliative care units
  • Student health centers
  • Private practices in family medicine, psychiatry, or both
  • Consultation-liaison psychiatry
  • Emergency psychiatry
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Addiction medicine
  • Military medicine
  • Geriatrics
Is this a family friendly program?

Yes, the residency is supportive of residents in their efforts to balance work with family life. We have several physician residents with young families and understand the stresses associated with attempting to find a balance. In fact, 70 percent of our graduates had a child during residency.

Women residents receive up to six weeks of paid maternity leave after delivery. Men get five working days off for paternity leave. The house staff health insurance policy provides full coverage for spouses and children. There are also several childcare facilities near the hospital and one on-site.

Is there an elective for medical students interested in combined training?

We offer an elective rotation in combined care to fourth year medical students at the University of Iowa or qualified visiting medical students.

Iowa City: FAQ

Where is Iowa City?

Iowa City is 220 miles directly west of Chicago on Interstate 80. It's also within a 4-5 hour drive to Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, Omaha, Kansas City and St. Louis. It has the cultural, educational, social and political opportunities of a bigger city with the values and ambiance of a midwestern town. Its clean, safe, nothing is farther than a 15 minute car ride, it has a great city bus system (with bike racks!), wonderful parks, sports, schools and even sailing. Those who have lived here and left, frequently return because what they were looking for was in their own back yard. But we're not the only ones who think Iowa City is great:

aerial view of iowa city 2011
Photo by University Relations Photography University of Iowa
  • The 2011-2012 Best Doctors® database recognized 315 University of Iowa Health Care physicians, including 13 from the Department of Family Medicine and 13 from the Department of Psychiatry.
  • UI Hospitals and Clinics ranked in 9 specialties: cancer, gynecology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, opthalmology and visual sciences, orthopedics and rehabilitation, otolaryngology, pulmonology, and urology (U.S. News & World Report 2012-2013 Best Hospitals)
  • UI Children's Hospital ranked in all 10 specialties: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology (U.S. News & World Report 2012-2013 Best Children's Hospitals)
  • No. 3 out of 75 mid-size cities for volunteer rate ("Volunteering in America," Corporation for National & Community Service, June 2011)
  • No. 13 "Best Small Places for business and Careers" (Forbes, April 2011)
  • No. 9 out of 179 on best performing small cities list ("Milken Institute," October 2010)
  • "Healthiest Town in the United States" (Men's Journal, February 2010)
  • "Top Towns for Jobs" (MSN CareerBuilder, January 2010)
  • Ranked as one of America's Top 100 Adventure Cities (National Geographic Adventure, October 2009)
  • No. 5 "Best Places to Begin a Career," Metros Under 500,000 (Forbes Magazine, July 2009)
  • No. 13 "Top College Towns for Jobs" (Forbes Magazine, May 2009)
  • No. 5 best-educated city under 250,000 (USA Today, August 2009)
What’s the weather like in Iowa City?

It depends on what you like. For about two weeks every winter it's very cold and windy and for two weeks every summer it's really hot and humid. The rest of the time it's pretty nice. We have a lot of sunny days even in winter-166 per year. Our average snowfall is 28", average rainfall is 35", average temperature in the summer is 72.6 and in the winter, 23.7. We consider our weather character building.

What is there to do in Iowa City when you're not working?

There are 15 different festivals and art fairs, plus concerts and race events. There are many music venues, sports events and neighborhood street fairs and garden walks. We also have a really big mall and several smaller ones, 41 parks, 9 golf courses, 6 public tennis courts, 6 public pools, some lakes and a reservoir with trails, camping & boating. There are bike trails, some famous bookstores, a ton of galleries and excellent museums. There are half a dozen or more performing arts venues including Hancher Auditorium. There's always something going on. Find more information from the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Are there any job opportunities for my spouse/significant other?

Yes, in May 2012, Iowa City had an average of 3.6% unemployment, one of the lowest in the country. Fore more information, check out the University of Iowa's Dual Career Network.

young girl swimming in pool
What's Iowa City like for kids and families?

There's ice skating, bowling, organized sports, 50 public parks, miniature golf, a great public library, a toy library, fun centers, swimming pools and 3 beaches, 9 museums including a children's museum, dance companies and public recreation centers that feature many activities for kids and families at little or no cost. We also have 20 movie screens and 50-licensed daycare providers. The Iowa City schools are perennially ranked among the top schools in the nation. Iowa City is unique in the facilities and services available for individuals with disabilities. Many families who have a family member with a disability are reluctant to leave Iowa City because they cannot duplicate those services in another location.