AAFP Top Ten Awards Recognize Medical Schools For Outstanding Contributions to Building the Family Medicine Workforce

Monday, May 5, 2014


SAN ANTONIO — Ten 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 Annual Spring Conference, the AAFP presents its Family Medicine Top Ten Awards to honor medical schools that — during a consecutive three-year period — graduated the greatest percentage of students who chose first-year family medicine residency positions.

At a time when the United States is facing a shortage of primary care physicians, filling the family physician workforce pipeline is vital to the health of America, according to AAFP President Reid Blackwelder, MD.

“For the past five years, we have seen growth in student interest in family medicine,” Blackwelder said. “Much of the credit for that increase goes to the medical schools that have actively supported family medicine as the comprehensive, challenging and professionally fulfilling specialty that it is. These 10 schools have demonstrated their consistent commitment to meeting the nation’s need for family physicians, and I commend them, their leadership and their faculty for helping ensure that Americans have access to the care they need.”

The importance of family physicians also has escalated as the complexity of primary care has intensified. In addition to providing preventive and first-encounter care, family physicians diagnose and treat patients with conditions ranging from a sore throat to multiple, complex conditions such as diabetes combined 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. Most recently, authors of “Patients with High Cost Chronic Conditions Rely Heavily on Primary Care Physicians(www.jabfm.org)” in the January-February issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine reported 86 percent of visits for asthma occurred in primary care physician offices, compared to 14 percent in subspecialist offices, and 84 percent of visits for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were in primary care physician offices, compared to 15 percent in subspecialist offices.

Stan Kozakowski, MD, AAFP director of medical education agreed. “Medical school admissions policies, the academic and clinical experiences with family physicians, and rural medicine tracks have significant influence on students’ choices,” he said. “The schools honored today have made important investments in these and other invaluable programs that help students understand the importance of family medicine and the professional satisfaction the specialty brings.”

He noted that 2014 is the fourth consecutive year that four of the AAFP’s Top Ten schools—the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences, the University of Kansas School of Medicine, the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, and the University of Washington School of Medicine—have earned the award.

Family Medicine Top Ten 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 student-run family medicine interest groups and financial aid packages that minimize student debt.

The 2014 award recipients and the percentage of graduates entering family medicine are:

  • The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences — 23.3%
  • University of Kansas School of Medicine — 19.2%
  • Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine — 19.0%
  • University of Missouri School of Medicine — 18.8%
  • Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University — 18.6%
  • University of Minnesota Medical School — 18.0%
  • University of Washington School of Medicine — 17.6%
  • University of Nebraska College of Medicine — 16.7%
  • University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health — 16.5%
  • Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine — 15.9%

These schools earned the award among 129 U.S. allopathic medical schools that are accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. The percentages reflect students graduating during 2011, 2012, and 2013 who matriculated into U.S. family medicine residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education.

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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).