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Primary Care Program

The MGH Primary Care Program trains residents to provide comprehensive care for patients – this includes excellent ongoing primary care of patients and inpatient care for acutely ill patients. Primary Care residents serve on inpatient general medical teams, in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) teams, the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) and Step Down Unit (SDU) teams, and in the Emergency Department in the same capacity as their categorical counterparts. However, Primary Care residents spend nearly 40 percent of their clinical training time in outpatient settings. Over the three year curriculum, 10 months are devoted to ambulatory education, either in Ambulatory Care Rotations (ACR) or Ambulatory Subspecialty Rotations (ASRs). For the first two years of residency, three months are dedicated to ambulatory training in each year. Four months of ambulatory time are allotted during the final year of the primary care residency.

To learn more about the Primary Care Program, please click on the movie icon to hear from our Primary Care Program graduates. If you do not have QuickTime installed, please click here to download the software.

Key Faculty Members

Kerri L. Palamara McGrath, MD, Director
Mark P. Eisenberg, MD
William A. Kormos, MD
Alaka Ray, MD
Leigh H. Simmons, MD

Ambulatory Medicine

As increasingly complex medical care is migrating to the ambulatory setting, the skills developed in the ambulatory rotations are valuable in all careers our residents pursue. Alaka Ray, MD, Associate Program Director for Ambulatory Training; Kerri Palamara McGrath, MD, Primary Care Program Director; and the ambulatory chief resident lead a formal outpatient curriculum and coordinate resident continuity clinics and outpatient specialty experiences. The ambulatory curriculum includes both interactive case-based sessions as well as formal didactic lectures from internists and subspecialists. The majority of the ambulatory curriculum is delivered in three settings: the Ambulatory Care Rotation, the Ambulatory Subspecialty Rotations, and the continuity practice.

Continuity Practices

Primary Care residents select a location for their primary outpatient experience at a continuity practice on the MGH main campus or at an MGH community health center. Applicants who match to the MGH Primary Care Program submit practice site preferences before they arrive and are encouraged to talk or visit with residents and staff at the practice sites before internship begins.

Ambulatory Care Rotations (ACR)

During ACR, Primary Care Program residents participate in a full schedule of educational conferences which cover ambulatory care and related topics such as clinical preventive medicine, public health, health policy and cross-cultural care. In addition, supervised training experiences in internal medicine and relevant specialties such as gynecology, dermatology and orthopedics are geared toward cultivating the skills necessary for primary care practice.

Ambulatory Subspecialty Rotations (ASR)

Ambulatory Subspecialty Rotations are focused outpatient experiences in either one specific subspecialty such as cardiology, pulmonary, HIV, or infectious disease; or in a variety of clinics with the same focus such as Sports Medicine, Healthcare for the Homeless, or Urgent Care.

Career Development in Primary Care

MGH Primary Care Program graduates have become leaders in academic general internal medicine as well as primary care practice. They pursue careers in clinical practice combined with medical education, research, health care administration and community leadership roles. The MGH Primary Care Program has no one "model" for a successful career in general internal medicine. While many graduates go on to obtain additional training in health services research, clinical epidemiology, geriatrics, public health, health policy, or health care management, others continue directly into primary care practice or general internal medicine faculty positions.

MGH Primary Care residents also have a wide variety of career development opportunities available to them during residency:
  • Program Events: The Primary Care program holds several dinners throughout the year, each with a panel of special guests. The topics for dinners are determined by polling our residents. Recent dinners have included: Q&A with general medicine fellowship directors, panel discussion of various primary care/general medicine career paths, Prison Health, how to pursue/publish medical writing, Patient Informed Decision Making, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless. All PC residents also attend Fall and Spring Primary Care retreats. The themes for these meetings are determined by our residents and speakers are invited accordingly. Recent themes have included the Patient-Centered Medical Home, Making the Most out of Primary Care Residency, and Primary Care Procedures Training.

  • Local/National Events: Every year, MGH Primary Care junior residents receive funding and clinical coverage to attend the annual national meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine ( This is an unparalleled opportunity to meet leaders and valuable mentors in general medicine, gain exposure to outstanding research and become involved in national/local committees in various areas of general medicine. In addition, the MGH General Internal Medicine Unit (GIMU) and the Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation organize periodic lectures and case conferences that residents attend. The Schwartz Center for compassionate health care also holds periodic case conferences at MGH to discuss psychosocial and ethical aspects of complex cases (

  • Research/Scholarly Activities: There are many prominent research mentors available in the primary care and general medicine community at MGH. The Stoeckle Center for Primary Care is a unique center focused on scholarly activity in the area of primary care (

  • Health Policy/Activism: The role of primary care is at the forefront of national discussions regarding health care, and many general medicine faculty members at MGH are deeply involved and committed to health care policy. The residency offers an annual Health Policy elective which is extremely popular.

Global Primary Care Curriculum

The Global Primary Care (GPC) Curriculum is offered to all primary care interns. In concert with existing ambulatory didactics and clinics, this curriculum explores how “health for all” may be achieved for people and communities around the world. The GPC Curriculum examines the full arc of care delivery from governmental policy and planning to local people and communities, highlighting comparative lessons across a diversity of country and resource settings, and considering the broader socioeconomic and political context of health.

Consult the following link for more information on the Global Primary Care Program:

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Contact Us

Primary Care Program
Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine
55 Fruit Street
Bulfinch 130
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-7708
Fax: 617-726-3838
Contact Us

Kerri Palamara McGrath, MD
Associate Director of Residency Training
Primary Care Program

Gina Nigro
Program Manager

Primary Care NRMP Number: 1261140M0