New Fitchburg community health center is ‘jaw dropping’

Family Medicine Residency Faculty and alumni talk to Sentinel & Enterprise about new facility

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

November 27, 2013

The Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise talked to UMass Medical School faculty and alumni about the medical training program that will be housed at the new Fitchburg Community Health Connections (CHC) clinic. It is anticipated that the $20 million, state-of-the-art facility will be as attractive to talented family doctors-in-training as it will be to patients.

The Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise talked to UMass Medical School faculty and alumni about the medical training program that will be housed at the new Fitchburg Community Health Connections (CHC) clinic. It is anticipated that the $20 million, state-of-the-art facility will be as attractive to talented family doctors-in-training as it will be to patients.

Robert A. Babineau Jr., MD, recalled helping his father, Robert Babineau Sr., MD, launch what is now the Fitchburg Family Medicine Residency as Massachusetts’ first community-based training program for family medicine residents nearly 40 years ago. Beginning with just two trainees in 1978, the program’s capacity has grown to 18 family medicine residents each year.

“It's just jaw-dropping when you walk through the entrance,” said Dr. Babineau, assistant professor of family medicine & community health, about the new facility, which will be named after his father. “We're lucky to have it.”

James J. Ledwith, MD, assistant professor of family medicine & community health and director of the Fitchburg residency program since 2008, agrees.

“A facility designed to provide excellent care and space for education is going to be a tremendous asset to the community with which we'll attract more young physicians with an interest in practice in the north county,” Despite dwindling interest in family medicine, said Dr. Ledwith, “We are turning the tide with the quality program we’re offering here. Our resident trainees are engaged in providing primary care for the Fitchburg community from day one of their training.”

Also quoted in the story are residency program alums Audrey Tracey, MD, instructor in family medicine & community health, and Karla Christo, MD, who have both remained in Fitchburg to practice. All agree that the residency program has helped keep doctors practicing locally, and that CHC’s new Fitchburg Family Health Center is likely to attract even better candidates once it is completed.

Read the complete storyAll in the family: CHC residency program 'turning the tide'