Greater Lawrence Family Health Center Says ‘We Respect the Outcome’ of Residents’ Union Vote

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Physicians associated with the Lawrence Family Medicine Residency have decided to be represented by a union.

The National Labor Relations Board recently reported a majority of the eligible votes were cast in support of Committee of Interns and Residents, a local of Service Employees International Union. The residents are associated with Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, which became the first federally-qualified community health center in the U.S. in 1994 to host a teaching residency program. As WHAV reported last December, the Lawrence Family Medicine Residency program also plans to grow to 48 physicians thanks to a federal grant.

“Though our residents at times spend a majority of their time on site at Lawrence General Hospital, we are their employer,” reads a statement from Greater Lawrence Family Health Center. “Throughout this process, we have been consistent in maintaining our respect for the residents right to decide for themselves whether or not they supported the CIR/SEIU. We respect the outcome of this vote,” it said.

The Health Center said it will do “everything we can to assure that this change does not impact the learning environment for our residents and the spirit of commitment to uplifting the community that exists across our organization.”

While most family medicine residency programs are three years in length, the Lawrence program is a four-year training program that is part of a national pilot looking at training innovation. Residents spend an extra year of training to further expand their scope of practice, particularly in an area of concentration, and to develop further expertise in population health, health systems management and leadership and integrating that care into communities. Resident physicians also participate in a nationally recognized curriculum where they learn to speak and provide medical care in Spanish. The goal of the training program is to train family physicians who provide comprehensive primary care to vulnerable populations and can improve the health and health equity of these communities.

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