In the years following the Gold Rush and the Civil War, Sonoma County needed a center for the care of the indigent. In its early years, the "county hospital" provided care for the recent immigrants and the poor, and served as a tuberculosis asylum.
The early 1900's brought interns to the hospital to provide inexpensive care for this patient population. By 1938, a nationally renowned two-year general internship as formally established at County Hospital of Santa Rosa.
In 1969, with the formal acknowledgement of FM as a specialty, the program became a Family Medicine Residency. Shortly thereafter, the program became affiliated with what has since become the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of San Francisco.
The University provides additional teaching resources, including visiting faculty for grand rounds presentations, resources for research projects, and university recognition for faculty and residents.
Since that time, the program has achieved national recognition for its outstanding work in preparing family physicians to provide the full spectrum of care.
In 1996, Sutter Health leased Santa Rosa Community Hospital from the county and assumed its management as well as sponsorship of the residency.
There are 36 family medicine residents at the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency. Residents are top graduates of medical schools throughout the United States and overseas. The teaching staff is composed of over 200 full-time, part-time, and volunteer instructors. This includes geriatricians, pediatricians, obstetricians/gynecologists, many community-based family physicians, and several psychologists. Specialists also staff many outpatient specialty clinics in areas of neurology, dermatology, endocrinology, rheumatology, and surgery.