The Department of Family Medicine is engaged in teaching, service and research. Its major responsibilities include a four-year residency program, which currently numbers approximately 50 residents, an undergraduate program of Family Medicine for six weeks in the 6th year of The Joyce and Irving Goldman School of Medicine at Ben-Gurion University, and an undergraduate program of Family Medicine for four weeks in the 3rdyear of the international medical school program.
The majority of primary care services in the Negev are provided by family physicians or general practitioners affiliated with the department of Family Medicine at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The existence of a single Department and a single University facilitates coordination. Family physicians throughout the Negev provide integrated care to adults and children, as well as preventive services. These services are provided to all of the Negev's inhabitants: city dwellers, kibbutz members and seminomadic Bedouins. Service is concentrated in more than 20 clinics, seven of which have been recognized by Scientific Council of the Israel Medical Association as teaching clinics for residents in Family Medicine. The number of patients served by the teaching clinics approximates 60,000 people. The
A palliative care consultation clinic functions within the oncology department. A musculo-skeletal / pain consultation was opened in the community and is run by department members. A national on call 24hrs pain consultation system for health professionals is part of the service.
The Department prides itself on the scope and quality of its teaching activities which ranges from the training of new immigrants and veteran Israelis for specialty careers in family medicine, to continuing medical education for family physicians, providing courses for students in Medicine and Nursing. The Department has taken the lead in raising the level of general practice with a special yearly course for general practitioners--the only one of its kind in the Negev. New educational techniques have been introduced by faculty members. Some of them are well known nationally:
- * The office orthopedic surgical procedures workshop in which skills are taught in an OSCE like format
- * Research course for residents
- * Erectile dysfunction workshop
- * Pain control for cancer patients
- * Communication and doctor-patient relationship
- * The family in family medicine