Internal Medicine Residency Program
Program Overview


Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, part of the non-profit Cottage Health System, is the largest private hospital on the California coast between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area. Since there is no County Hospital in Santa Barbara, the residents at Cottage Hospital care for both private and non-private patients within our facility. Any "County" patient requiring hospitalization is admitted to Cottage Hospital and cared for by our residents. An affiliated County-operated ambulatory care facility is located at the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, including primary care, Internal Medicine continuity, and referral clinics to accommodate the needs of the indigent patients of Santa Barbara County. These clinics are staffed in large part by Cottage Hospital internal medicine and surgery residents. This approach has been in place since the closure in 1978 of the Santa Barbara General (County) Hospital and has worked well for patients, residents, the hospital, and the Public Health Department.


The Internal Medicine Residency Program is approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and is authorized by the Council to provide training as preparation for certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine. All inpatient rotations take place at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.


The Internal Medicine residents associate closely with residents in the Surgery and Radiology programs for the care of all patients.



Our belief is that residents learn most efficiently in a supportive and collegial environment. Our goal is to optimize the potential development of each resident in the program, regardless of one's ultimate niche in medicine. We seek self-motivated individuals who share our enthusiasm about medicine. We strive to have residents who will, at the completion of their training, be superbly trained clinicians, excel in crystallizing and synthesizing medical problems, understand how to think about medicine, and appreciate the subtleties of patient-physician interactions and the biopsychosocial process.


Residents are busy enough to be challenged and stimulated, yet have enough time for medical reading, for relaxation with family, or for the various outdoor and cultural amenities which abound in this area (hiking, bicycling, windsurfing, fishing, music, dance, theater, etc.) Our attitude is that physically stressed or drained residents do not learn well and do not enjoy their educational experience.


Goal / Approach

The goal of the program is to provide excellent clinical training in internal medicine in preparation for a career as a primary care internist or hospitalist, or as the foundation for subsequent fellowship training. The program embodies the flexibility necessary to meet the particular interests and needs of each resident. Our graduates are skilled not only in clinical internal medicine, but also in how to utilize their skills in a community practice environment. The respect and humane treatment provided to our residents, along with our emphasis on a balanced life, combine for a pleasant and gratifying learning environment.


Medical Care

The program offers an excellent balance between common community medical problems and more esoteric problems which outlying communities refer to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.  The excellent locale coupled with outstanding medical facilities has provided for a competitive medical environment where well-trained subspecialists, hospitalists, and primary care interests have collaborated and flourished. 


Most of these physicians happily volunteer their time and energy to the teaching faculty; a comfortable rapport exists between the private voluntary faculty and the residency program.  The bulk of the clinical teaching is done on a one-to-one base between attending physicians and residents.  The level of care in the community is comprehensive and “state-of-the-art”.  Available services include a busy invasive cardiology and cardiac surgery program, state of the art radiology technology, a 20-bed MICU and 21-bed SICU (as well as separate telemetry units), a dedicated neurosurgical ICU, a busy Emergency Department with more than 45,000 visits per year, a Trauma team with level II Trauma Center designation, and active surgery and radiology residency programs.  A strong feeling of collegiality and cooperation exists among all the residency programs.


New Hospital

The first phase of a brand new Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, built in response to the State of California’s seismic requirements, opened in February, 2012. Construction on the final phases, which include a new Emergency Department and Pediatric Department, is expected to be complete in 2017. This state of the art facility, built without any governmental funding, is a tribute to the support of the hospital by the medical and lay communities.


Ancillary Services

The hospital has comprehensive 24-hour support services; the residents unequivocally do not perform “scut” work.