Department of Family and Community Medicine
Welcome to the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Please browse our webpages and get to know our distinguished faculty, residents, and staff. The department is situated 10 miles from the main Alberta campus in north east El Paso, and its educational offerings consist of a long standing family medicine residency program, a primary care sports medicine fellowship, the third year family medicine clerkship, as well as family medicine Selectives and electives for medical students. The department also houses an outstanding clinical research program and a family medicine clinic that provides accessible and comprehensive care to the community.
These are exciting times for the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM), the only four-year medical school on the U.S.-Mexico border. In February 2013, the PLFSOM received full accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). In May of the same year, the Texas Tech University School of Medicine in El Paso (now TTUHSC El Paso) incorporated the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing and became a full-fledged independent health sciences center. Later, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences was added, and soon, TTUHSC El Paso will welcome its fourth school, the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine. The institution continues to recruit the highest caliber of medical educators, researchers, and clinicians to achieve its educational, research, and clinical missions, and to address the needs of the historically underserved border population.
In the Department of Family and Community Medicine, we are increasing the size of our faculty to meet the needs of our medical student teaching programs, our two graduate medical education programs and our expanding research programs. We have an established, fully accredited family medicine residency program (with a total of 24 residents). The program has been in place for more than 40 years, with our residents achieving very impressive pass rates on the American Board of Family Medicine’s certification exam. In 2011, the department also began offering a sports medicine fellowship, which is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), and accepts two fellows per year.
Our clinical research program has a major focus on cancer prevention and control. Our faculty research has been funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), among others. Since 2011, the department has brought in almost $21 million in external funding for its clinical and educational research programs. We will continue to focus on developing programs for cancer prevention and control, with the ultimate goal of improving the health of our border community.
The city of El Paso is a great place to live; it is nestled between the beautiful Franklin Mountains and the Rio Grande and rests at the confluence of Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. Its residents enjoy a near perfect climate with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, numerous outdoor pursuits, as well as a vibrant city life at an affordable cost of living. El Paso has been ranked by CQ Press as the safest city in the nation with a population above 500,000 for a number of years, and as of June 2016, El Paso is ranked among the 10 best cities in the nation for quality of life by the U.S. News and World Report.
Gurjeet S. Shokar, M.D., joined the PLFSOM as a professor and chairman of the Department of Family and Community Medicine in March of 2010. Prior to his current appointment, he served as a professor of family medicine, University of Texas Distinguished Teaching Professor, and director of the medical student education programs for the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB). He is a nationally recognized medical educator and an expert in web-based medical education, and has led the development of a multi-award-winning web-based case development software package.
He has also been the recipient of both regional and national curriculum development awards, as well as multiple teaching awards, culminating in his induction into the UTMB Academy of Master Teachers in 2007. In the past, he chaired the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine national conference on medical student education, and served on national task forces that led to the development of the first-ever national family medicine clerkship curriculum, and more recently, the Leading Change curriculum developed for family medicine faculty nationwide. Throughout his career, Dr. Shokar has remained active as a clinician and has been recognized consistently among the Best Doctors in America list since 2005.
Dr. Shokar’s academic interests include innovation in medical education, and both leadership and faculty development. His clinical interests include cancer prevention, wellness, and health promotion. During his tenure as department chair, the department started a fully accredited ACGME sports medicine fellowship, developed a very successful clinical research program and transitioned TTP El Paso at Kenworthy to a patient-centered medical home (PCMH); this has improved patient access, patient satisfaction, and the overall quality and delivery of care in the clinic. The department has increased faculty scholarly and research productivity, and a number of faculty have been recipients of institutional and regional teaching and research awards. Further, faculty are intricately involved in all four years of the medical school curriculum.
Dr. Shokar grew up in England and completed medical school at Dayanand Medical College in India in 1988. He returned to England for his residency training in family medicine, and completed his training at Banbury, Oxfordshire in 1994, and then practiced in Banbury for two years. He moved to the U.S. in 1996 and underwent further residency training at St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, Texas. He is married with three children. Dr. Shokar is passionate about soccer; He has actively supported Chelsea Football Club for more than four decades, and currently helps coach youth teams in the El Paso community.