The mission of General Medicine is to provide the highest quality patient care, to educate and train physicians of peak caliber, and to conduct research, all in the context of academic primary care internal medicine.
Jennifer M. Schmidt, MD, FACP, a general internist in the division shares with us more about her job and why she knows it’s the right choice for her.
Tell Us About General Medicine?
As with many General Medicine divisions, we have a three-part mission… research, education, clinical care. Clinically we have two primary care practices—a faculty practice and a resident practice. Both practices work to support the academic mission of WashU by providing a space to train residents and students in clinical medicine. Medical students spend part of their clinical rotations with our faculty, seeing what it’s like to practice ambulatory General Medicine. They see how we manage long-term chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as more acute problems like strep throat or abdominal pain. While they are with us for a short time, they are able to experience what it’s like to build long standing relationships with patients, one of the hallmarks of primary care.
Our resident at the Center for Outpatient Health is a robust practice with a number of support services embedded in the clinic. Patients are able to meet with a social worker, talk with a pharmacist or engage with a community health worker at the same time they are seeing their physician. Resident trainees, together with faculty support, provide care for their patients during their three years here with us. They work on teams that include a faculty member and a nurse, to ensure patients are always able to get the care they need.
Outside of education, we are constantly working to improve the way we care for our patients. Our clinic has been a pilot site for multiple projects. We helped to develop and implement WashU’s online scheduling option and billing for asynchronous care just started practice-wide. This was another project that was spearheaded by one of our faculty and was piloted by several of our providers and nurses.
We have a BigIdeas Grant from the BJC Innovation Lab to create a remote blood pressure monitoring program. During Covid we were one of the first clinics at WashU to transition to remote care—our transition process was published and presented nationally. Although we are a relatively small clinic (compared to many others here at WashU) but our physicians, nurse practitioners and clinical team are actively engaged in improving the way we care for our patients.
Overall, primary care serves as the quarterback of a patient’s team. Many of our patients have a variety of specialists; as their primary care provider we care for their whole person, ensuring each member/specialty on their team is working together. Not everyone needs a cardiologist or an orthopedic surgeon, but everyone does need a primary care provider. We get to see so many different people and have an incredible opportunity to make a significant impact on the health of the community.
General Medicine does a bit of everything—from poison ivy and strep throat to high blood pressure and anxiety. We get to know our patients, many of whom we take care of for years. It’s common to see multiple family members and to discuss a graduation or a new pet before we start our visit. We have the honor of caring for patients over their lifetime.Jennifer Schmidt, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
We opened a second clinic location last July at the Center for Advanced Medicine—so we are just about to celebrate our first birthday there. We have brought on several new physicians this year and welcomed another this September. Dr. Kelly McDermott, a member of the Primary Care Tract of the Internal Medicine Residency program here at WashU will see patients at both of our locations. Emily Myers, a nurse practitioner who trained with our West County location, joined us in May. Both are fantastic and are accepting new patients.
We continue to see patients at the Center for Outpatient Health in our resident clinic and are excited to welcome a new group of residents.
Where Can Patients Go for Care?
Patient care is provided at the Center of Outpatient Health and Washington University Complete Care (locations at the Center for Advanced Medicine and the Barnes-Jewish West County Campus). We offer both in-person and telemedicine visits, depending on our patient’s needs.
Geriatrics and General Medicine now reside in the same Division, which has been reflected in an updated website.