AAFP Honors Medical Schools for Their Outstanding Contributions to Building the Family Medicine Workforce

Friday, May 3, 2013


BALTIMORE — Twelve of the nation’s 126 allopathic medical schools were honored today by the American Academy of Family Physicians for contributing the most to the pipeline of family physicians.

Each year during the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine spring conference, the AAFP recognizes schools that — during a consecutive three-year period — graduated the greatest percentage of students who chose first-year family medicine residency positions.
Known as the Top Ten Awards, this year’s recognition was expanded to 12 schools to accommodate the growth in the number of geographically separated medical school campuses.

At a time when the United States is facing a shortage of primary care physicians, filling the pipeline is vital to the health of America, according to AAFP President Jeff Cain, MD.

“Family physicians are the foundation of primary care,” said Cain. “Theirs is the only specialty in which all physicians are trained to provide primary care. Research has consistently shown that more than six in 10 people who have a usual source of health care say a family physician provides that care. The expertise of family physicians becomes even more important to people who have serious and chronic health conditions.”

Americans make more office visits to family physicians than any other medical specialty, and family physicians provide care for patients who have a sore throat, patients who need stitches, and patients who have multiple, complex conditions such diabetes with congestive heart failure.

Research has shown family physicians are the usual source of care for more than six in 10 patients with anxiety, depression or diabetes; six in 10 patients with cancer, and nearly six in 10 patients with heart disease.

“These 10 medical schools have demonstrated their consistent commitment to meeting the nation’s need for family physicians,” said Cain. “I commend them, their leadership and their faculty to helping ensure that Americans have access to the care they need.”

Stan Kozakowski, MD, AAFP director of medical education agreed. “Initiatives at the medical school level are invaluable to increasing the number of students who choose family medicine for their specialty,” he said. “Admissions policies, academic and clinical experience with family physicians, and rural medicine tracks have significant influence on students’ choices.”

He noted that 2013 is the third consecutive year that six of the AAFP’s top 10 schools — the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University; the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences; the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University; the University of New Mexico School of Medicine; the University of Kansas School of Medicine; and the University of Washington School of Medicine— have been cited as a Top 10 school.

“This says much about their focus on educating students to meet the needs of the nation,” Kozakowski said.

Top 10 Award schools employ several initiatives that support students who are interested in and most likely to become family physicians. Those initiatives include student outreach, admissions policies that target students from rural and medically underserved areas, clinical rotations that emphasize positive experiences in family medicine, faculty involvement in medical school committees, strong family medicine interest groups and financial aid packages that minimize student debt.

The 2013 award recipients and the percentage of graduates entering family medicine are:

• The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University - 20.9%
• University of Kansas School of Medicine - 20.8%
• University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences - 20.5%
• Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine - 20.1%
• Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University - 18.5%
• University of New Mexico School of Medicine - 18.3%
• University of Minnesota Medical School - 17.3%
• University of Arizona College of Medicine - 17.2%
• University of Washington School of Medicine - 17.2%
• Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine - 16.1%
• University of California-Davis School of Medicine - 15.8%
• University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine - 15.4%

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.  To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).