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Program Director Message

Mission: Our mission is to promote health equity for all by training family physicians to provide excellent patient-centered, whole-person care for all individuals and communities we serve, through the biopsychosocial-spiritual model our specialty was founded upon. We share the mission of CommonSpirit Health to make the healing presence of God known in our world by improving the health of people we serve, especially those who are vulnerable, while we advance social justice for all.

Welcome to our new Morehouse School of Medicine Family Medicine Residency Program at Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz, where we will start our first class of 8 residents in July 2024. As one of our first residents, you will help shape the culture of our program while learning from our skilled, dedicated faculty. You will be trailblazers in your training, while benefiting from a rigorous curriculum designed to fully prepare you to practice excellence during your medical career.

Dominican Hospital in collaboration with Santa Cruz Community Health Center, Salud Para La Gente, Dignity Health Foundation/Santa Cruz Medical Group, Palo Alto Medical Foundation/Sutter and many others, provides an extremely strong medical training environment as the only residency in the county. The combination of our mission, the vibrant medical community of clinical teachers, beautiful place to live and the profound need for newly trained family physicians to meet the needs of our underserved community, all inspired my move from nearby Salinas (Natividad Family Medicine Residency), where I was DIO/Director of Medical Education. It is an irresistible calling to ‘my quest for equity’ that I want to bring to our program and all those who join our quest. (I recommend reading the inspiring book “My Quest for Equity”, written by Dr. David Satcher, who is a leader at Morehouse School of Medicine).

We are a community-based program, sponsored by the Morehouse School of Medicine and CommonSpirit Health, who have partnered to respond to the challenge that “there can be no justice or equity unless every person has access to healthcare. Health for every person can only happen with a culturally competent workforce that engages with, reflects and includes our communities.”  Lloyd H. Dean, Founding CEO of CommonSpirit Health and More in Common Alliance.

Our quest is to dismantle racism and all other forms of structural oppression by promoting medical education transformation and ‘health equity for all’. We will accomplish this by providing comprehensive training so graduates have strong skills to practice full-scope, culturally competent family medicine; supporting each resident’s development in specific areas aligned with their professional goals, ensuring residents are equipped with leadership skills and inspiration needed to improve health among all underserved, underrepresented, marginalized or disparate communities with a focus on African-American, Latinx, LGBTQ and other historically oppressed communities.

The CommonSpirit values of compassion, inclusion, integrity, excellence and collaboration are foundational inspiration to our curriculum, faculty and community partnerships that support the resident experience.

Our program is built upon what CommonSpirit calls ‘Humankindness’. I see it as our ‘way’ that provides healing for our patients and ultimately purpose, resilience and well-being for our residents and faculty.  

It is in this spirit of humble leadership and appreciation that I welcome you to our program.

Walt Mills, MD, MMM, CPE
Program Director