Message from the Chair

Richard Robbins, MD, FACP
Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine

Welcome to the Department of Medicine! Houston Methodist Hospital is a major academic medical center which has trained Internal Medicine residents for over 50 years. After changing medical school affiliations in 2004, the entire educational infrastructure was rebuilt from the ground up. We've recruited over 90 full-time faculty members, who were selected largely on their records of teaching excellence. An entirely new categorical Internal Medicine Residency was established in 2007 and many Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) medicine subspecialty fellowships are also now active. In the summer of 2020, Houston Methodist Hospital was ranked as the #1 Hospital in Texas and in the top 20 nationally by US News and World Report. Most full-time and voluntary teaching attendings hold faculty appointments at our Houston Methodist Academic Institute and with our primary academic affiliate, Weill Cornell Medicine. We have a large number of rotating medical students who come from the Texas A&M College of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College and the University of Texas Medical Branch.


In this climate of rapidly changing themes and priorities emanating from the ACGME, the faculty and residents work in close collaboration to make the educational experience meaningful, rigorous and education-oriented. In designing this IM residency, we have introduced innovative and modern approaches to residency education.  These include frequent town hall meetings with the chief residents to discuss what is working and what needs change.  There is required simulation training in MITIE, robust research opportunities and a core curriculum which includes topics such as physician burnout, harassment, diversity and equity, palliative care, nutrition, and communicative skills.


We focus on a comprehensive core residency with flexibility that enables each resident to custom tailor their educational program to future needs. Since 2007, we have graduated more than 100 residents who have gone on to subspecialty fellowships, general internal medicine practice, or hospitalist medicine. Our residents have matched into fellowships at some of the most prestigious medical centers in the US, including our own hospital. We now have a robust menu of major fellowships at Houston Methodist, including cardiology, endocrinology/diabetes, gastroenterology, hematology and oncology, nephrology and pulmonary/critical care medicine. Houston Methodist has rapidly developed into one of the country’s safest hospitals due in large part to a large and well-supported network of patient safety and quality committees. Residents have been directly involved with designing and carrying out clinical studies within the quality committees. For example, they have helped dramatically reduce death rates from sepsis, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli. They have also helped reduce central line infections in the ICUs and improved glycemic control for diabetic patients.  All residents participate in patient safety and quality education, whether by completing the IHI Basic Certification in Quality and Patient Safety during their PGY-1 year or participating in quality committees during their PGY-2 and PGY-3 years.

The Department of Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital currently has over 600 attending staff physicians encompassing every subspecialty of internal medicine, including emergency medicine and dermatology. Houston Methodist Hospital has been consistently ranked as one of America’s safest hospitals. In fact, Houston Methodist was recently awarded the coveted Birnbaum Quality Award by Vizient. Our hospital has also been praised for patient care and safety by the Leapfrog Group and Thompson Reuters.


I encourage you to take a close look at our program which focuses on producing leaders who will shape the future of internal medicine.