Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
The Family Medicine Accelerated Track (FMAT)

The Family Medicine Accelerated Track (FMAT)

the-family-medicine-accelerated-track-fmat- image0This past Sunday afternoon, my wife and I stopped by the Ranching Heritage Center (RHC) for a reception honoring the first graduating class of the Family Medicine Accelerated Track (FMAT) program.  Even though it was a warm day, it was pleasant under the shade of the RHC Pavilion enjoying a cup of lemonade and seeing the proud graduates with their families. A baby was crying a bit, but nobody minded in the least—it only made the occasion nicer and created a “one big family” atmosphere. I’ve become fairly well acquainted with one of the graduates, Chase Willnauer, through assisting him on his MBA internship. His wife and I chatted while their kids played around the Pavilion. The event had a friendly West Texas Sunday afternoon social feel about it.

The FMAT program has garnered a lot of positive national media attention.  It will be featured on an upcoming edition of NBC Nightly News.  We are not sure when—but, we will get the word out when we know for sure.  People across the nation are sitting up and taking notice of what is happening with the program.

In case you are not familiar with it, F-MAT is a three-year accelerated medical school curriculum that results in the awarding of an M.D.  Graduates go on to complete the standard three-year family medicine residency, and of this class of eight, all of them are staying at TTUHSC to do their residency.  I believe five in Lubbock and three in Amarillo. Dean Steven Berk, Dr. Ron Cook, Dr. Betsy Jones and Dr. Simon Williams deserve a great deal of credit for starting the FMAT program. It was approved by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education for a 2010-11 start and by all accounts is most successful.

Almost all of the health care literature, both scholarly and what I call the throw away magazines, speak of the need to increase the number of U.S. medical students choosing a career in family medicine. It is nice to see that TTUHSC is doing something about it.