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Our History

The Fitchburg Family Medicine Residency was founded in 1978 by Robert Babineau, Sr., MD (below right in 1984) who returned to Fitchburg after the Korean War and opened his practice in 1952. 

Dr. Babineau, who was one of the first Board-certified family physicians in northern Massachusetts, eventually formed a group of four physicians who were at the core of a clinically and politically active Department of Family Medicine at Burbank Hospital in Fitchburg, MA.  By the late 70’s, the Department committed itself to forming a Family Medicine residency in order to share its vision of full-service Family Medicine, including obstetrics and intensive care, based on values of continuity of care and the importance of community.  


The Fitchburg Family Medicine model assures a quality learning experience. The first year provides the intensive environment and supervision of an academic medical center. The second and third years provide the freedom and the responsibility of community hospital training mixed with elective time for training opportunities in Worcester, Boston, or beyond. The majority of graduates have remained in New England, with many of the family physicians on the HealthAlliance staff being former residents, faculty, or both.

Our mission of service is consistent with our mission of educating residents. The support of the Department of Family Medicine at HealthAlliance Hospital and the close working relationship with internists, obstetricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, and pediatricians at Health Alliance are the bedrock of the teaching program. As the only resident staff in the hospital, Fitchburg residents develop close consulting relationships with a majority of the hospital’s physicians and support staff. 

The Fitchburg Family Medicine Residency of today remains rooted in these original values. Since the founding of the residency, its partnership with the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the UMass Chan Medical School has been an ongoing source of academic and intellectual support. Service to the community has always been central to our mission, as shown by the fact that the residency is the mainstay of care for the underserved.  We are the sole provider of primary care for the Health Alliance Fitchburg Family Practice, now occupying a brand-new building (opened in 2014) and named for Dr. Babineau.