Skip to Content Skip to Search
SEARCH
Three Family and Community Medicine students in the Family Medicine Accelerated Program at Penn State, which offers three years of medical school and three years of residency in an accelerated program, are seen having a conversation during the program entrance signing in 2016.

Department of Family and Community Medicine

Family and Community Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine

The mission of the Department of Family and Community Medicine is to create strong relationships with our patients - focusing on both acute issues as well as long-term general health - and train the next generation of excellent primary-care physicians.

Welcome to the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. We are located in beautiful Hershey, Pennsylvania. You might be aware of the other fine offering from our community, the Hershey chocolate bar. In fact, the Milton S. Hershey Trust made the initial donation to Penn State University to allow our College of Medicine and Medical Center to exist.

Our department has a long and proud history in family medicine. We were the first department of Family and Community Medicine in an academic health center in the United States!

Mack Thomas Ruffin IV, MD, is Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine. He is pictured wearing a white dress shirt and dark tie, as well as a white medical coat, in front of a blue photo background.
Mack Thomas Ruffin IV, MD, Chair, Family and Community Medicine

Our faculty members are very active clinically, seeing patients at Penn State Health sites in Hershey, Harrisburg, Elizabethtown, Camp Hill, Palmyra, Middletown, Mount Joy and State College, Pennsylvania, with just fewer than 300,000 primary-care visits per year. We take care of inpatients at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Children's Hospital, both in Hershey, and at Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College.

We are also responsible for the education of our college's medical students in family medicine, including a required third-year clerkship, a required underserved-medicine clerkship, and many other courses in all four years of the curriculum. Our student body has an award-winning Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG).

Our two residency programs (in Hershey and State College) teach leadership and social justice in the setting of a curriculum that develops individual physicians into highly competent family physicians.

We are home and the flagship institution for the Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program, which allows health professions students to do rotations in underserved areas around the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Our faculty members' interests include research, obstetrics, geriatrics, primary care sports medicine, integrative holistic medicine and global health.

I encourage you to explore our programs and to contact us if you have any questions.

Mack Thomas Ruffin IV, MD
Family and Community Medicine Department Chair
Penn State College of Medicine

Contact us to find out more

Latest News from Family and Community Medicine

Explore Programs in Family and Community Medicine

Education

Recognizing the importance of Family Medicine, in 1967, Penn State College of Medicine established the nation's first Department of Family and Community Medicine in an academic health center.

We are distinguished not only by our long history, but also by the number and talent of our faculty - no family medicine department in the nation has a larger collaborating group of faculty members, and our residents work directly alongside these esteemed physicians. Our residents are integrated into pediatric and obstetric teams and will learn in one of our two patient care sites, both of which have been recognized by the NCQA as Patient-Centered Medical Homes at the highest level of certification.

We also offer two fellowship programs (Hershey and State College, PA) that are part of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) and a four-week clerkship for medical students that is largely an ambulatory care educational experience in family medicine.

Finally, Penn State College of Medicine is pleased to host an exciting accelerated option, the Family Medicine Accelerated Program at Penn State (FM-APPS). This is a 3+3 program where students complete medical school in three years, followed by a three-year family medicine residency at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Research

Research within the Department of Family and Community Medicine reflects both the diversity of the patient population and the spectrum of primary care clinical researcher interests. Research areas include health disparities and underserved populations, medical education, patient self-support, primary care quality improvement, cancer survivorship, integrative medicine, caregiver support and global health research in partnership with the Global Health Center.

Research project managers within the department's Office of Outreach and Research support more than 24 faculty clinician-researchers in identifying and pursuing funding opportunities and assisting with project coordination and dissemination of findings. The department is also home to the Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program Office, whose mission is to help communities meet their primary health care needs by creating a statewide infrastructure bridging community and academic resources.

The Department of Family and Community Medicine has a strong history of collaboration with other departments including General Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Sports Medicine and Public Health Sciences. The Penn State Ambulatory Research Network was established to conduct primary care clinical research in connection with patient care, medical education and community service. New collaborations with new partners are welcomed.

Clinical Care

The family and community medicine team provides primary care to people of all ages, from newborns to geriatric patients. We provide comprehensive care, dealing with both acute and chronic illnesses, often in the same office visit. We provide preventive medical care, for example screening laboratory tests and immunization updates.

Our providers use a team approach to care for people of all ages. Whether you are healthy, sick or living with a chronic condition, we provide whole-person care to support your individual needs. We offer care at several locations. Our providers include board-certified family physicians.

Family medicine is first and foremost a primary care discipline. The practice of family medicine has several distinguishing characteristics:

  • The family physician provides continuity of care across time and across family generations.
  • The family physician provides comprehensive care, dealing with both acute and chronic illnesses, often in the same office visit.
  • The family physician provides preventative medical care, for example screening laboratory tests and immunization updates.
  • The family physician is a patient advocate, serving to provide the patient with appropriate care and medical services. An important part of this role is helping to interpret the almost overwhelming amount of information available to patients and helping them make intelligent choices for their own care and their family's health.
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Penn State Children's Hospital
Penn State Cancer Institute
Penn State