Why Choose Family Medicine?

University of Rochester Family Medicine Residency - Chief Resident - Roessler
Robbyn Upham
Class of 2013

Why did you choose Family Medicine?

I chose family medicine after doing a year of OBGYN at another program, and finding out it wasn’t a great fit for me. Although I loved delivering babies, I missed medicine and interacting with other members of the family unit besides the mom and new baby. I felt like I was limiting myself too much – I don’t have the ability to focus on a single aspect of medical care and only address that issue, and neither do patients! I’m all about the whole person, and about building long-term relationships that significantly enhance my ability to diagnose and treat within the clinical encounter.

Why did you choose UR Department of Family Medicine?

On my interview day, I could clearly see that the UR dept was dynamic, engaging and clearly loved their work. It was easy to see that the dept had a vision to take care of entire families, educate residents and have a great time doing this. I found this infectious, and was attracted to others’ attitude and passion for their work. On top of that, my interview with our program director, Steve Schultz, was not to be forgotten! What a breath of fresh air in the midst of my life at that time. I invite you to stop on by to get further details on that one! It is a great story.

Although I did not appreciate it at the time, the psychosocial medicine curriculum at the UR has also been a huge part of my development as a physician. When I started, I didn’t even know what I didn’t know about this topic. Over the course of that 4mo block, I built my skills in interviewing, counseling, understanding individuals within their family structures, recognizing physical manifestation of psychological disease, and the havoc that addiction plays for individuals, families and our society. What a gem! Rochester itself was also a draw, as my family was looking to “settle down,” in a nice community where the pace of life wasn’t quite as fast as it was in the NYC area.

What have you enjoyed the most?

Tough question. Residency is hard, no matter what you do – especially intern year. What I have found particularly valuable about this program, however, has been the commitment of the faculty and staff to resident education, from technical to personal. Not only to we take care of the whole person – body, mind and spirit – we also take care of each other – body, mind and spirit. This is not a place where you show up to work, do your job, and go home. We are so much more than that! We work hard, play hard, and are invested in each other’s well being in significant ways. Part of the work my co-chief Rebecca Lavender and I are undertaking this year is to intentionally deepen the community aspect of our program. We hope to not only improve the relationships and well-being of our residents, but also our department, as teams that are invested to help each other function better and get more done, probably in ways that can not be directly measured.