Change in primary care clerkship

Frederick D. Haeseler, M.D., FW ’76, has stepped down as head of the fourth-year primary care clerkship that he has directed since 1993. Peter J. Ellis, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine, took over effective January 1.

Haeseler founded the clerkship in 1993 with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for curriculum reform. The goals of the reform included increasing medical student exposure to primary care and developing outpatient educational sites for clinical clerkships. The present month-long clerkship includes a combination of faculty-led discussion groups on key primary care topics and supervised patient care in community-based practices and clinics.

The transition comes as the medical school begins a strategic planning process covering the entire four-year curriculum. Ellis is interested in exploring several contemporary themes in primary care, including the patient-centered medical home, outpatient clinical reasoning, and cost containment. One of the principal goals of the clerkship, said Ellis, is to “enable students to perform an accurate problem-focused patient assessment in an ambulatory setting.”

Haeseler will continue to direct the standardized patient program that he also founded in 1993. He writes scripts for the program and trains actors to portray patients with a variety of medical disorders. Medical students then interview and examine the standardized patients to learn and practice clinical skills. Haeseler will also continue to mentor students as an attending physician at HAVEN, the student-run free clinic in New Haven’s Fair Haven neighborhood.