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Shenandoah Valley Family Practice Residency Program

Welcome From the Program Director

Francis X. Dennehy, MD

Frank Dennehy, MDWelcome to the Shenandoah Valley Family Practice Residency Program! Our residency is a rural-oriented program in the Shenandoah Valley of northwestern Virginia, about 70 miles west of Washington, D.C. We are affiliated with the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine ( We are fully accredited for our 3-year residency by the ACGME with Osteopathic recognition, allowing full board certification eligibility for MD and DO physicians. We have 5 residents in each class.SVFP logo

Our mission is to train new quality family physicians for practice in Virginia’s rural areas and small towns who will be competent to practice in any environment. Also, to provide high quality, cost effective, readily accessible care for our patients, their families, and our community.

Learn More & Apply

Visit this page to learn more about our application process.

About the Program


Training occurs in two complementary sites. We have a small town practice in Front Royal, along with cutting edge subspecialists and technology and cultural amenities of the larger city of Winchester. Specialty rotations are in the award-winning Winchester Medical Center, a 411 bed, four-state referral medical center, Trauma Center, Heart Institute, Cancer Center, Neonatal ICU, and much more. The specialty faculty physicians are from the best residencies and fellowships in the country. And yet, on-call for our admissions and Family Practice Inpatient Service, we practice at the smaller, 76 bed, Warren Memorial Hospital in Front Royal. This is a Family Practice-dominated hospital, with an attached 120 bed nursing home, where you apply that high-tech med center training in managing the breadth of the patients in Family Medicine: office care, nursing home, ER, hospital floor, ICU, and Operating Room, without subspecialists’ immediate backup. Our residents learn to manage patients, not just to triage and refer to others. Winchester Medical Center and Warren Memorial Hospital are connected by 23 miles of interstate highway, allowing quick access for rotations, yet enough distance that our patients come to us for the bulk of their care.


The vast majority of our graduates practice the breadth of Family Medicine – office, hospital and ICU. Because of our training, some of our graduates have been aggressively recruited to full-time work in Emergency Medicine or even full-time hospitalist work.

While some practice in suburban and major city locales, about half of our graduates practice in small town and rural areas, and this is a large percentage for rural training programs. Many of the respected Family Physicians on staff at the Winchester Medical Center are graduates of our program. Once you get to know Virginia, it can be hard to leave.

Private Practice

The core Family Practice Faculty members are partners in a real private practice, with residents working as junior associates. You witness up close the details of real practice: the hiring of staff, purchasing equipment, training needs, billing and working with insurances, finding needed resources, and so on. This day-to-day work in a real-life private practice, along with our 3-year Practice Management Curriculum, is one reason that so many of our graduates have felt comfortable setting up their own solo practices. Our Electronic Medical Record is fully integrated with the large regional health system’s hospitals, labs, and x-ray, for smooth patient care and coordination.

Behavioral Health

Our Behavioral Health and Psychiatry Curriculum is one of the few in the country to meet the Recommendations for Psychiatric Training in Family Medicine from the American Psychiatric Association. Our residents learn to handle whatever mental health problems are thrown their way in real practice.

Global Medicine

Rural Family Medicine training is ideally suited for work in the third world. Many residents are excited about our Global Medicine Elective in Honduras, under the direction of our own Dr. Thomas Ball. Each year, Dr. Ball takes residents and VCU medical students to an ongoing clinic site in the mountains of Honduras. Our VCU connection has expanded this opportunity to include the Dominican Republic and Ghana in West Africa. Click here for brigade video:

Our Patients

Our patients represent our area and a broad range of people; rich or poor, working or unemployed, locals and immigrants, educated or needy disabled. Our demographic closely resembles that of the U.S. as a whole. There is social and ethnic diversity, and Spanish language skills are helpful. We care for patients not just in the office, hospital, and nursing home, but also in patient homes, an adolescent medicine school clinic, university sports medicine clinic, and three public health clinics.


Board review begins in the first year and continues all three years. Our program’s unique level of management of complex patients without immediate specialist backup allows our residents to have a deeper than usual knowledge of complicated medical problems. For several years, each class of residents has scored above the national average for their training year on the In-Training Exam of the American Board of Family Medicine. Our D.O. residents also score in the top percentiles on the yearly In-Service Exam of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. Our program and faculty and residents have won numerous awards and honors (see Awards and Research page). Our residents and faculty regularly present at national and international conferences, and most residents get published. Most of our core Family Practice Faculty have completed teaching fellowships, gaining advanced teaching skills for this clinically-based, practical group. Our close academic affiliation with the MCV/VCU School of Medicine affords our residents many learning opportunities with our fellow VCU programs, and additional resources, support and academic training for our faculty.

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