History of the Tufts FMR
During the 1950's and 60's the community of Malden, MA had nearly
40 general practitioners, but by 1988 Dr. Sidney Zeitler was one
of only two family doctors in Malden as many others had either retired
or passed away. It was Dr. Zeitler who first sounded the alarm over
the dwindling supply of family physicians in the Malden community
and worked with the old Malden Hospital to initiate a program to
recruit, train, and place a continued supply of family physicians
in the community. As president of the MA Academy of Family Physicians
and Chief of the Department of Family Medicine at Malden Hospital,
Dr. Zeitler was a motivating force in the development of a Family
Practice Residency Program.
In 1989, a report by the MA Executive Office of Human Services
concluded that there was a need for more primary care physicians
and suggested state funding for new family practice residency programs
in Massachusetts. In 1990, the Board of Trustees of the old Malden
Hospital voted to establish a family practice residency program.
When Dr. Zeitler passed away in December 1990, there were no family
physicians left in Malden. Six months later, on May 20, 1991, the
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) notified
the old Malden Hospital that the residency program had passed the
highest level of accreditation, a designation which was repeated
in 1995 and 1998.
In November 1992 the residency interviewed its first applicants
and later welcomed its first class of residents in July 1993. At
this time, the residency was affiliated with Boston University School
In July 1993 The Malden Hospital Family Practice Residents were
the first group of family practice residents to ever train in a
Boston tertiary medical center (Boston City Hospital, now Boston
Medical Center). Malden residents continued to receive five months
of rotations in pediatrics and Ob-Gyn at Boston Medical Center for
the next six years. In November 1994 Joseph Gravel, MD, joined the
program faculty, having been a faculty member at the Fairfax Family
Practice Center/Medical College of Virginia FP Residency in Fairfax,
VA. In October 1995 Dr. Gravel became Program Director. In July
1996 the family practice residency grew to six residents per year.
An outside consultant from the AAFP was invited by the residency's
program director to visit in December 1998. After careful analysis
a recommendation was made to expand the program to eight residents.
This occurred in July 1999. Tufts' and NEMC's desire to further
develop family medicine as an area of academic and clinical excellence
led to discussions with the residency program. These discussions
culminated in the creation of the Tufts University Family Practice
Residency on July 1, 1999.
After an intensive national search, new family practice faculty
started work at Tufts' Department of Family Medicine and Community
Health in the summer of 1999. The residency welcomed its first eight-member
class and two additional second year residents that same summer,
coming from medical schools all across the US. Eight months of selected
rotations at New England Medical Center and NEMC's Boston Floating
Hospital for Children were developed to complement training received
in the community setting.
In 2001, Hallmark Health sold the nearby Whidden Memorial Hospital
to Cambridge Health Alliance, a regional community health system
with a national reputation for its community and academic mission.
Based on this national reputation in August 2006, Tufts University
Family Medicine Residency requested, and Hallmark Health agreed,
to transfer the Family Medicine residency program to Cambridge Health
Alliance. In September 2006, the program was re-accredited by the
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) after
a successful site visit during the previous summer. The nationally-known
Tufts University Family Medicine Residency thus joined forces with
this regional community health system to offer the best in family
medicine training and innovative patient care.