A Message from Dr. Richard Friend, Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences

July 11, 2022

About this time every year, a new group of doctors joins The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency Program – and our team of physicians at University Medical Center.

These interns, as they are called in the first year of the three-year residency, are medical school graduates seeking additional education and training so that they can specialize in the practice of family medicine.

UMC is a teaching facility, and we are glad to have resident physicians learning alongside our doctors. All of our residents, including our second- and third-year residents, are bright and compassionate young doctors who keep us on our toes. And they help keep our patients well and healthy.

The UA Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency graduated its first resident in 1975. The residency is one of the oldest in the United States and has grown to become one of the largest as well. We have a total of 48 residents in the program each year (16 for each of the three years), and at some point, you might have been cared for by a resident, along with a UMC physician.

Both UMC and the UA Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency are operated by the UA College of Community Health Sciences. With a mission similar to that of CCHS, the residency prepares medical school graduates to practice family medicine, particularly in small, rural communities where doctors are needed most.

In Alabama, most rural counties have a critical shortage of doctors and other health-care providers. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, seven rural Alabama counties don’t have a hospital; 35 of the state’s rural counties don’t provide labor and delivery services; and the mortality rate for rural Alabama residents is more than 10% higher than for urban residents.

We are hard at work to change those statistics.

To date, our residency has graduated 556 family medicine physicians. More than half are practicing in Alabama, and nearly half of those in rural communities. In fact, 1 in 7 Alabama family medicine physicians are graduates of our residency.

We are proud of the work we are doing to prepare and place needed family medicine physicians in small, rural communities. Please know that when you receive care at UMC by one of our residents, you, too, are making a difference and helping us to fulfill our mission.

Together, we can improve the health of Alabama’s communities.

The College of Community Health Sciences operates University Medical Center, the UA Student Health Center and Pharmacy, Brewer-Porch Children’s Center and Capstone Hospitalist Group.