ABFM sponsors a Visiting Scholars Program for both physicians and other professionals interested in primary care research, training, or practice.  The Visiting Scholars Program is intended to offer you the opportunity to learn about the ABFM and conduct research over a two to four week period with ABFM’s Research Department. Scholars work directly with ABFM staff on original research projects that align with their own interests and support the mission and goals of the ABFM.

Two experiences are available to Scholars.  Most scholars conduct research and have an immersion experience at ABFM offices in Lexington, KY.  Individuals with significant policy interest may complete the program in Washington, DC at the Center for Professionalism & Value in Health Care. 

In addition to Scholars, the ABFM Research Department has supported undergraduate, graduate, and medical students in mentored experiences.  Publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and/or presentations at conferences, often result from these experiences.

Individuals at more advanced stages of their careers with significant research experience or expertise may qualify as Lewis Sigmon, MD Senior Visiting Scholars. Sigmon Scholars are expected to produce a substantial product for publication as a result of their experience.

Funding for the ABFM Visiting Scholars Program is supported by the ABFM Foundation.

To apply, submit a letter of interest with your research interests, along with your CV, to [email protected], Lars Peterson, Senior Physician Scientist at ABFM.

Previous Visiting scholars


Project / Topic 

Elizabeth Davlantes, MD

Family physician supply and preventable hospitalizations

Ciaran DellaFera, MD

Medication reconciliation

John Bernot, MD

Qualified Clinical Data Registry playbook

Jennifer Broders Jarrett, PharmD

Pharmacists in residency education and inteprofessional practice

Tomoko Sairenji, MD

House Calls by family physicians

Anastasia Coutinho, MD, MS

Scope of practice intentions of graduating residents compared to practice physicians

Monee Rassolian, MD

Burnout of family physicians

Julie Phillips, MD

Educational Debt and career choice and examination performance

Alyssa Shell, MD, PhD

Systematic review of teaching residents about population health & evaluation of new safety net clinic site funding

Amanda Weidner, MPH

Burnout of new graduates

Anna Hansen, BS

State level variation in burnout

Neha Sachdev, MD

Estimating primary care spend

Elizabeth Beckman, MD

Practice Patterns of dually boarded family medicine psychiatrists

Samuel Johnson, PharmD

Pharmacists' roles in family medicine practices

Pavela Bambakova, BS

Advancing measures of social deprivation

Jonathan Lichkus, MD, MPH

Quality improvement training in residency

Joshua St. Louis, MD, MPH

Family physicians treating substance use disorder and providing maternity care

Zachary Ward

Rural / urban variation in rates of family medicine burnout

Brandis Belt, MD

State medical license board application questions on mental health and substance abuse

Saed Qunbar, PhD

Using machine learning to enhance recommended certification activities

Sumathi Narayana, MD

Termination in family medicine

Joseph Benitez, PhD

Effect of Medicaid expansion on scope of practice and panel size

Tanya Longabach, PhD

Does self-reported preparation of residents correspond to medical knowledge?

Mitch Dandignac, PhD Exploring CKSA metacognitive accuracy
Payal Patel, MD Abortion care in family medicine
Alison Paul, MD, MPH Abortion care in family medicine
Andrea Dotson, MD Changes in family physicians provision of maternity care over time
Sebastian Tong, MD, MPH C-sections and practice patterns of FP addiction medicine Diplomates
Julie Phillips, MD Examining trends and predictors of family medicine student debt
Andrea Wendling, MD Family medicine student debt; practice location
Kento Sonoda, MD Family medicine role in HIV Care
Tuhin Roy, MD Outcomes of Teaching Health Center GME training
Garrett S. Kneese, MPH Primary care and population health; New family physician grads' preparation for practice
Jessica Sand, MPH Primary care practice ability to address patient's social needs
Peter Meyers, MD National Health Service Corps and Public Loan Service Forgiveness participation by family physicians
Mary Theobald Health system ownership and scope of practice
Samantha Larson, PhD Changes in burnout, scope of practice, and practice location
Kento Sonoda, MD Family physicians' practice intentions of graduating residents during COVID
Sebastian Tong, MD, MPH Behavioral health collaboration in family medicine
Kyle Lau, MD Racial diversity in family medicine fellowships
Adrian Sandoval, PharmD Pharmacotherapeutic curricula and in-training examination scores
Kaplan Sanders, PhD Gender variation in debt and income in early career family physicians
Seetha Venkateswaran, MD Health systems leadership training in residency
Grace Huynh Practice variation by Asian ethnicities
Emma Klug Procedural contraception and state level reproductive healthcare regulation
Alyssa Lambert Geographic variation in family physician scope of practice
Xinuo Gao, MD InTraining Examination performance and National Journal Club article selection
Caroline Jenkins Part Time Work Among Family Physicians
Omer Atac, MD, PhD Vaccinations in Primary Care During COVID Pandemic
Mark Carrozza, MA Physician Gender Pay Equity and Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice


J. lewis sigmon, md senior visiting scholars

Dr. Lewis Sigmon has been a long-time contributor to the critical work of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). First elected to the ABFM Board of Directors in 1995, Dr. Sigmon was elected and served on the Executive Committee from 1998–2000 and was elected and served as Vice-President of the Board of Directors from 1999–2000. After his term on the ABFM Board of Directors ended in 2000, he was elected to the newly created ABFM Foundation Board of Directors in 2000 and served as its President from 2000–2006, then as its Chair 2006–2013.

A highly respected clinician-educator, Dr. Sigmon was the Program Director of the Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) Family Medicine Residency, Charlotte, NC, from 1984–1992 and held a similar position at the CMC Union Rural Residency Program, Monroe, NC, from 1997–2001. He was Chair of CMC's academic Department of Family Medicine from 1984–1995 and a member of the faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine's Department of Family Medicine, Chapel Hill from 1977–2017, achieving the rank of professor.  He served on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Family Medicine Review Committee from 1997–2003 and as a special site visitor for the ACGME from 2003–2014. He served as an item writer for the ABFM In-training Examination for Family Medicine Residents from 1988–1996 and again from 2001 to 2005.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the specialty of Family Medicine and to the American Board of Family Medicine, the ABFM Foundation honored him upon the completion of his term as Chair on the Foundation Board of Directors in 2013 by creating and establishing the J. Lewis Sigmon, MD Visiting Scholar Program for senior scholars visiting the ABFM to pursue research interests consistent with the ABFM’s mission and purpose.

Lewis Sigmon, M.D. Senior Visiting Scholars and Projects


Project / Topic 

David Loxterkamp, MD

Changes in physician's scope of practice

Arch G. Chip Mainous, III, PhD

Burnout of family physicians, milestones, and fellowships

Roger Garvin, MD

Development of professionalism in family medicine training

William R. Phillips, MD, MPH

Who are General Practitioners in 2018?

Peter Carek, MD, MS Practice patterns of early career family physicians and interest in fellowship training
David Schmitz, MD Assessing competency for rural practice

ABFM Research students and learners

Student Project/Topic

Jessica (Ottmar) Dobbins, DrPH

Population health management by family physicians

Erica Schuster, BS

Preparation to provide population health management in residency

Jessica Creager, BS

Burnout and practice organization

Urooj Nasim

Variation in scope of practice among rural family physicians

Rachel Cox, BS

Practice Patterns of Family Physicians with Sports Medicine Certification

Caitlin Davis Metaanlysis of burnout in residency; THCGME 10-year trends
Meenu Krishnasamy Burnout in Residency
Reagan Bosse Integration of public health and primary care

Scholar and student publications

Bambekova PG, Liaw W, Phillips RL, Bazemore A. Integrating Community and Clinical Data to Assess Patient Risks with A Population Health Assessment Engine (PHATE) J American Board of Fam Medicine 2020;33(3):463-467.

Coutinho AJ, Cochrane A, Stelter K, Phillips RL, Jr., Peterson LE Comparison of Intended Scope of Practice for Family Medicine Residents With Reported Scope of Practice Among Practicing Family Physicians JAMA. Dec 8 2015;314(22):2364-2372.

Cox R, Morgan ZJ, Nithyanandam S, Puffer JC, Peterson LE.  Practice Patterns of Family Physicians With and Without Sports Medicine Certification Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 2020;30(3):210-215.

Davis C, Krishnasamy M, Morgan ZJ, Bazemore AW, Peterson LE. Academic Achievement, Professionalism, and Burnout in Family Medicine Residents Family Medicine 2021;3(6):423-432.

Dobbins JM, Peiper N, Jones E, Clayton R, Peterson LE, Phillips RL, Jr. Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition and Diabetes Control Among Health Centers: Exploring the Role of Enabling Services. Popul Health Manag. 2018 Feb;21(1):6-12.

Hansen A, Peterson LE, Fang B, Phillips RL, Jr. Burnout in Young Family Physicians: Variation Across States. J Am Board Fam Med. 2018 Jan-Feb;31(1):7-8.

Lichkus J, Fang B, Peterson LE. Family Medicine Residency Graduates' Preparation for Quality Improvement Leadership Journal of Graduate Medical Education 2019;11(5):558-564.

Lichkus J, Liaw WR, Phillips RL. Utilizing PHATE: A Population Health-Mapping Tool to Identify Areas of Food Insecurity Annals of Family Medicine 2019;17(4):372.

Mainous AG, 3rd, Fang B, Peterson LE. Competency Assessment in Family Medicine Residency: Observations, Knowledge-Based Examinations, and Advancement. J Grad Med Educ. 2017 Dec;9(6):730-734.

Nasim U, Morgan ZJ, Peterson LE. The Declining Scope of Practice of Family Physicians Is Limited to Urban Areas Journal of Rural Health 2020 E pub ahead of print

Ottmar J, Blackburn B, Phillips RL, Jr., Peterson LE, Jaen CR. Family physicians' ability to perform population management is associated with adoption of other aspects of the patient-centered medical home Population health management. Apr 2015;18(2):72-78.

Patel P, Narayana S, Summit A, Gold M, Morgan ZJ, Peterson LE, Paul A. Abortion Provision Among Recently Graduated Family Physicians Family Medicine 2020;52(10):724-729.

Patel P, Narayana S, Thill Z, Gold M, Paul A. Family Physicians’ Role in Simplifying Medication Abortion During the COVID-19 Pandemic  J American Board of Fam Medicine 2021;34:S33-S36.

Peterson LE, Puffer JC, Nasim U, Petterson S, Newton WP. Family Physicians' Contributions to Rural Emergency Care and Urban Urgent Care  J American Board of Fam Medicine 2019;32(3):295-296.

Phillips J, Peterson LE, Fang B, Kovar-Gough I, Phillips RL. How Many Graduating Family Medicine Residents Have Chosen Financial Support for Service Commitments? Fam Med. 2017 Sep;49(8):626-629.

Phillips JP, Peterson LE, Fang B, Kovar-Gough I, Phillips RL. Family Medicine Residents with High Debt Are Half as Likely to Choose Public Service, Academic, or Geriatric Careers Academic Medicine: February 2019 - Volume 94 - Issue 2 - p 267-273; doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002468

Phillips JP, Peterson LE, Kovar-Gough, O'Neill TR, Peabody MR, Phillips RL. Family Medicine Residents' Debt and Certification Examination Performance Primer 2019;3(7).

Phillips WR, Dai M, Frey J, Peterson LE. General practitioners in US medical practice compared with family physicians. Annals of Family Medicine 2020;18(2):127-130

Puffer JC, Knight HC, O'Neill TR, Rassolian M, Bazemore AW, Peterson LE, Baxley EG. Prevalence of Burnout in Board Certified Family Physicians. J Am Board Fam Med. 2017 Mar-Apr;30(2):125-126.

Rassolian M, Peterson LE, Fang B, Knight HC, Jr., Peabody MR, Baxley EG, Mainous AG, 3rd. Workplace Factors Associated With Burnout of Family Physicians. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 Jul 01;177(7):1036-1038.

Sairenji T, Jetty A, Peterson LE Shifting Patterns of Physician Home Visits Journal of primary care & community health. Apr 2016;7(2):71-75.

Sairenji T, Dai M, Eden AR, Peterson LE, Mainous AG, 3rd. Fellowship or Further Training for Family Medicine Residents? Fam Med. 2017 Sep;49(8):618-621.

Schuster EK, Peterson LE. Resident and Residency Characteristics Associated With Self-reported Preparedness for Population Health Management. Fam Med. 2017 Nov;49(10):772-777.

St Louis J, Eden AR, Morgan ZJ, Barreto TW, Peterson LE, Phillips RL. Maternity Care and Buprenorphine Prescribing in New Family Physicians Annals of Family Medicine 2020;18(2):156-158.

Tong ST, Eden AR, Morgan ZJ, Bazemore AW, Peterson LE. The Essential Role of Family Physicians in Providing Cesarean Sections in Rural Communities J American Board of Fam Med 2021;34(1):10-11.

Tong ST, Morgan ZJ, Bazemore AW, Eden AR, Fitzgerald RM, Peterson LE. Practice Patterns of Family Physicians With and Without Addiction Medicine Board Certification J American Board Fam Med 2021;34(4):814-819.

Ward ZD, Morgan ZJ, Peterson LE. Family Physician Burnout Does Not Differ With Rurality Journal of Rural Health 2020;1-7.

Weidner AKH, Phillips RL, Jr., Fang B, Peterson LE. Burnout and Scope of Practice in New Family Physicians. Ann Fam Med. 2018 May;16(3):200-205.