As part of the partnership, Family Medicine residents spend a month in the Children’s Center in the second year of their residency. They attend therapy sessions and are part of the preschool program, interacting and playing with children one-on-one as they practice the skills they have learned in engaging children and families from traumatic backgrounds. Additionally, Family Medicine faculty are also encouraged to participate in skill building sessions, gaining knowledge and building skills alongside the residents they oversee.
In addition to this practical training, Fortenberry cites the Children’s Center focus on holistic care and family-centered wellness as an overlap with the Residency Program’s philosophy. At the Center, parents as well as children receive support, giving the entire family help they need to build resilience and create healthy environments for children. Training family medicine residents how to navigate these sensitive interactions provides an extra layer of support, as those trained in the program will then have the skills for accommodating children with trauma in their own practices.
“It’s a beautiful alignment of missions,” she says. “The hope is that as our residents learn to interact with these families, they can learn how to begin to break the cycles of trauma. The Center can’t treat every traumatized kid in the state of Utah, but if they can train those who treat the children it really makes an impact.”