Description of Family Medicine Rotations


This four-week rotation provides and inpatient and an outpatient experience. For half of the rotation, residents work with attending cardiologists on the inpatient consult service in which our residents are the first contact for patients with a variety of cardiovascular diseases, including arrhythmias, acute coronary syndromes, and acutely decompensated heart failure. For the other half of the rotation, residents will see a wide range of problems in outpatient cardiology clinics, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, cardiomyopathies and arrhythmias. Residents participate in cardiac procedures, such as stress testing and echocardiogram interpretation.

Chronic Disease Management

Chronic disease has become the dominant health problem in the United State, accounting for over 75 percent of health care spending. This rotation helps to prepare our residents to manage patients with chronic diseases. Residents will spend time in specialty clinics and learn different approaches to systematic care for chronic illnesses. For example, some clinics utilize a case manager, while others provide a multidisciplinary team approach to providing care. Residents become familiar with these clinical tools in order to incorporate them into their practice. Residents will also have the opportunity to develop skills in providing care to patients with severe and persistent mental illness through a million dollar grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration that our residency program received. This rotation occurs in a resident's first year and includes group didactics on chronic disease, wellness, and motivational interviewing.

Community Medicine

Family physicians are called to care for the communities in which they live and to apply the biopsychosocial model to the patients for whom they care. Our community medicine rotation complements our chronic disease management rotation. Residents learn about how communities affect patients, patients engage with their communities and physicians incorporate knowledge of communities in the care of patients. Residents complete a community-oriented primary care project, visit community agencies and learn about social determinants of health.


Residents will spend two weeks in dermatology clinics where they learn to identify common skin conditions and distinguish atypical and serious presentations of dermatologic disorders. Residents gain knowledge of commonly seen skin diseases and treatments in the Family Medicine Clinic and attend dermatology didactic presentations.


This two-week rotation provides residents the opportunity to learn the nuances of reading ECG tracings under the instruction of attending level cardiologists. Residents also complete a radiology self-study program during this time.


We offer residents unparalleled opportunities for elective rotations. Four four-week blocks are available for second- and third-year residents to tailor their educational experience to their future practice needs. Residents may choose from many community- and academic-oriented electives, covering every specialty. International electives are available, as are regional and national off-site rotations. Many residents choose to create their own electives.

Emergency Medicine

Residents rotate through the Emergency Treatment Center (ETC), a Level I trauma center, supervised by faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine, for a total of six weeks during residency. Additionally, residents complete a four week rotation in the pediatric ETC, focusing exclusively on the care of children with emergent conditions. This rotation includes formal didactic presentations provided by faculty in Emergency Medicine as well as critical care lecture series given by faculty with joint appointments in Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine. Residents participate in focus learning courses in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), pediatric advanced life support (PALS), and neonatal resuscitation (NRP). If they choose, residents may complete advanced trauma life support (ATLS) as well.

Family Medicine - Introduction

In this four-week orientation, first year residents will have the opportunity to get to know the Family Medicine faculty and residents as well as obtain or renew skills. Residents will practice casting and suturing in workshops and pediatric intubation and IV placement in the pediatric procedures lab. Residents also learn to use speech recognition software and the electronic medical record system. A high challenge ropes course is held at the end of the month with the goal of developing team-building skills, which are utilized throughout the training program. Past residents have found the experience enjoyable and a great time to connect with new colleagues.

Family Medicine - Inpatient

Our Family Medicine Inpatient Service admits patients of our medical home from all different ages and with a wide variety of medical and surgical problems. Two junior residents, a senior resident, a senior medical student, a physician assistant and an attending faculty physician work as a team to care for patients on this unit. Two night float residents (one junior and one senior) provide overnight coverage during the week. Two on-call residents provide coverage over the weekend. The team also provides medical consultation to other medical, surgical, and psychiatric units at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Family Medicine - Outpatient

Residents will spend time in the Family Medicine Clinic (FMC) throughout their entire residency by participating in a weekly continuity of care clinic and several block rotations. The FMC experience provides as an opportunity for residents to function as busy family physicians in an outpatient setting, developing continuity with their patients. It is in this setting that residents hone their office medicine skills and provide care within a medical home. Residents maintain responsibility for their patients' care throughout the three years of training, thereby acquiring the skills needed to deliver continuing and comprehensive care. Emphasis is placed on patient education and maintaining health as well as treating disease. They also spend time in the procedure clinic (where they do treadmill stress tests, dermatologic procedures, vasectomies and more) and the same-day access clinic (where residents care for our patients with urgent problems). Residents receive support to care for their patients and improve their care, including social workers, pharmacists, nursing staff, and regular feedback from faculty physicians.

Family Medicine - Float

Residents on this rotation will assume care of all inpatients (including newborns, children, and post-partum women) on the Family Medicine Inpatient Service for the evening and overnight hours Sunday through Friday. Residents work in pairs with a junior and senior resident for this two-week rotation.


During this four-week rotation, residents enhance their gynecological care while practicing in the Family Medicine Clinic as well as the Women’s Health Clinic, which is staffed by faculty members in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Residents participate in general gynecologic care and specialty gynecologic care such as premenstrual syndrome, vulvar-vaginal diseases, menopause, and ultrasound. Instruction in colposcopy, loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP), intrauterine device (IUD) placement, Nexplanon implantation, and endometrial biopsy is also provided by faculty in the Department of Family Medicine in the Family Medicine Clinic.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Residents care for critically ill infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with pediatric residents, neonatal nurse practitioners, and neonatologists. During the four weeks on this service, residents are also called to the delivery room and operative room for newborn resuscitations.

Newborn and Maternal Care

During this four-week rotation residents work with obstetrics faculty in the Department of Family Medicine providing care to newborns, infants, and obstetric patients in the hospital setting. Working one-on-one with their attending physician, residents gain experience triaging obstetrics patients, resuscitating and evaluating newborns, first-assisting for cesarean sections, and performing procedures for newborn infants.


Residents participate in this four-week obstetrics rotation at Trinity Regional Health System's campus in Moline, Illinois, which is 50 miles east of Iowa City. Supervised by board-certified obstetricians and midwives, residents learn the principles and techniques of prenatal care, management of labor and delivery, and postpartum care. The residents are provided an apartment and a car for transportation while on this rotation.


Residents will spend two weeks in ophthalmology where they learn to identify common eye conditions and distinguish abnormal and serious presentations of eye disorders. Residents attend ophthalmology didactic presentations.


Residents spend two weeks in the orthopaedic clinic at the Veterans Affairs Hospital where they care for patients with acute and chronic disease of the bones and joints, including various kinds of arthritis, gout, musculoskeletal injuries, etc. Residents have the opportunity to perform office-based orthopaedic procedures, such as arthrocentesis and joint injections.


Residents spend two weeks in the rheumatology clinic where they care for patients with acute and chronic rheumatologic diseases, including various kinds of arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, etc. Residents have the opportunity to perform office-based rheumatologic procedures, such as arthrocentesis and joint injections.

Pediatrics - Inpatient

Residents work with the Pediatric Blue Team for this four week rotation. Patients on the Blue Team have a variety of diseases, and residents are supervised by staff from different divisions in the Department of Pediatrics (General Pediatrics, Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Pulmonology) to provide care to hospitalized pediatric patients.

Pediatrics - Outpatient

In a four-week rotation in the first year of residency, residents participate in the general pediatric diagnostic clinic, pediatric growth clinic, and pediatric encopresis clinic. They also manage acute, walk-in pediatric patients of all ages. During this rotation, residents have the opportunity to work with faculty and residents in the Department of Pediatrics. Additionally, in the third year of residency, residents spend four weeks working in pediatric subspecialty clinics (gastroenterology, developmental diseases, general pediatrics).

Practice Management

This two-week rotation encompasses leadership, career development, patient safety and preparation for practice. Residents spend time shadowing all members of the healthcare team to learn their roles. The rotation also includes the use of modules focused on improving healthcare systems.


During this four-week rotation, residents work with faculty members in the Department of Psychiatry to provide consultation services for hospitalized patients with acute and chronic mental health needs. Residents gain skills diagnosing and treating delirium, dementia, depression, psychosis, and other mental health disorders.

Sports Medicine

During this four-week rotation, focused training in sports medicine is taught under the supervision of primary care physicians with a certification of added qualification in sports medicine, faculty in the Department of Orthopedics, and certified athletic trainers in the areas of pre-participation assessment, injury prevention, evaluation, management, and rehabilitation. Residents also provide care to patients in the Family Medicine Clinic with athletic and recreational injuries.

Subspecialties: Ophthalmology/Otolaryngology/Urology

Residents will spend four weeks rotating through the subspecialty clinics of ophthalmology, otolaryngology and urology at UIHC and the VA. Residents will gain experience identifying common conditions and distinguishing abnormal and serious presentations of disorders of the eye, ear/nose/throat and urological system.


Training is provided in general surgery and subspecialty surgery with special emphasis on the diagnosis and management of surgical disorders, emergencies, and the appropriate and timely referral for specialized care. Residents rotate through the Emergency General Surgery Service under the supervision of faculty in the Department of Surgery to achieve competency in the diagnosis and management of a wide variety of surgical problems typically encountered by family physicians. This four week experience includes both ambulatory and operating room experience.

Surgical Intensive Care Unit

The Surgical Intensive Care Unit is the major academic referral center for support of critically ill patients in Iowa. It is a closed unit and is medically directed and staffed by faculty members in the Departments of Anesthesia and Surgery. Residents provide care to patients with respiratory failure, sepsis, multi-system trauma, peri-operative complications, and acute neurological injuries as well as post-organ transplantation care.