Caribou doctor earns Tufts teaching award

CARIBOU, Maine — Maine Medical Center, in conjunction with Tufts University School of Medicine, recently awarded Carl Flynn, MD, a family practice physician with Pines Health Services and a member of the active medical staff at Cary Medical Center, with the prestigious Roger A. Renfrew, MD, Rural Teaching Award as voted by the Maine Track Program, Class of 2018.

In selecting Dr. Flynn, the members of the Class said:  “Dr. Flynn is an incredibly kind and dedicate preceptor and director.  He is also the ultimate example of how a hardworking, affable and versatile physician becomes a pillar of the community.”

Flynn, who has practiced at Cary Medical Center and Pines over the past 25 years, is the medical director for the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) in collaboration with Tufts and MMC, which began in 2011.  Most students in the program take a nine-month clerkship during third year. Based in many rural sites and in Portland, the LIC provides strong education and allows for career exploration and close faculty mentoring.

A lottery assigns students third-year options, where their choices are taken into consideration regarding participation in the rural LIC, the Portland-based urban LIC or the traditional block clerkship.  

Lisa Caron, chief operating officer at Pines, said the organization was very pleased that Flynn has been recognized for his work with the program.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Flynn has received this recognition from his students. He continually shows his dedication of providing education, compassion and talents as a high quality care provider not only to his students but most importantly to his patients.”  

Flynn has directed the LIC program at Cary and Pines since Cary was invited to participate in the program beginning in 2016.  He explained the uniqueness and clinical approach of the program.

“I have had medical students doing short-term clinical rotations with me over many years,” said Flynn, whose practice is based in Caribou. “The value of the LIC program is that the students have the opportunity to spend up to nine months with us and they get the chance to rotate through multiple specialties spending half days with various physicians.  

“By doing so they experience how the specialties are integrated with each other from a family physician like myself referring a patient for a colonoscopy, they get to follow the patient with the surgeon performing the procedure, and then come back and see the patient for follow up with the primary care provider.  It is a great training model,” he said.

Flynn said because the students are here for nine months, they are able to work with obstetrics providers and often will follow women through early pregnancy to delivery and on to pediatric care.

“Our physicians who are involved with the training program really enjoy the experience as much as the students, and they take the training very seriously. These third-year medical students are closely monitored and mentored by the physician,” said Flynn.  

“The program has really been a factor in recruitment and retention of physicians.  It is an element that we did not have in the past and each physician who participates receives a faculty appointment at Tufts,” he added.

While accepting the Renfrew Award, Flynn said that the program has worked very well at Cary because of the reception it has received from the entire medical staff as well as the community.

“During their time here we engage the students in community life to let them get that special rural experience,” said Flynn, who coaches the Presque Isle High School hockey team. “From snow shoeing to hiking and touring the area, we give them a feel for the environment.  

“They also understand the critical role that healthcare plays in a small community and the leadership and citizenship that physicians are able to practice. This an important part of their experience and may influence them in considering a practice location in a rural area here in Maine.”

Submitted by the Community Relations and Development Office of Cary Medical Center.

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