Program Overview 

Our mission is to train full spectrum family practice physicians for rural practice, with focus on integrated team care. We are dedicated to the education of thriving and engaged health professionals and to promoting family wellness through high-value whole-person care.

Rural Training

In Western Colorado, we have an amazing depth & breadth of patients. This is due to our unique position as the only referral hospital in an area of over one quarter million square miles. From Malaria to HAPE-we see it all! Family Medicine is the sole residency at St. Mary's Hospital; our philosophy has always been to allow as much autonomy as possible. When training for rural practice, you will be encouraged to:

  • Exposure you to the widest possible range of pathology
  • Development & ability exercise your own judgment
  • Consistent encouragement to try your wings in all types of weather


Didactics are taught on a weekly basis through our Wednesday afternoon Education Day. Our core didactic curriculum is based on a 12-month cycle, where you will be exposed to each topic area at least twice during residency. Topics of discussion to expect on Education Days include:

  • American Family Physician Journal
  • Wilderness medicine
  • Point-of-care ultrasound
  • Casting and splinting
  • Pediatrics topics
  • Emergency drills

Outside of Education Day, there are a variety of other didactic opportunities regularly scheduled into the curriculum, including:

  • Primary Care Weeks
  • Wednesday Morning Outpatient Rounds
  • Family Medicine Teaching Service Didactics
  • Regular CME lectures taught by regional experts
  • The Behavioral Health Team

Quality Improvement

As a Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), we are required to continuously improve in the areas of quality of patient care, quality of patient communication, and team-based care practices. Our clinic is organized into Care Teams that work together to care for patients. These care teams consist of one first-year resident, one second-year resident, one third-year resident, one faculty member, and one Medical Assistant.

First Year Residents - Focus on learning QI tools and processes, and working with the rest of the care team to continually improve patient care

Second Year Residents - Take on leadership roles in helping to create QI projects, develop SMART goals, and implement PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) cycles

Third Year Residents - Lead team meetings, focusing on care metrics, and helping to coordinate multidisciplinary care of our most complex patients