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

Monday, April 27, 2015

Leslie Champlin
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224

ORLANDO, Fla. — Eleven of the nation’s 141 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 presents its 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. The 2015 awards include two schools that tied, and 11 awards were presented.

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 Robert Wergin, MD.

“Although we’ve seen incremental growth in student interest in family medicine, those increases will not meet the skyrocketing demand for family physicians,” Wergin said. “These top schools are outstanding examples of the commitment to building the nation’s family physician workforce, and I commend them for their leadership, their faculty for their commitment and their entire staff 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.

Recent research has shown that 86 percent of visits for asthma occur in primary care physician offices, compared to 14 percent in subspecialist offices, and 84 percent of visits for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are 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. 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 fifth consecutive year that four AAFP’s Top-10 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 been cited as a Top 10 school.

Top 10 Awards schools employ several initiatives that support students who are interested in and most likely to become family physicians. Those initiatives comprise a school mission that includes producing community doctors to provide primary care, admissions policies that target students from rural and medically underserved areas, clinical rotations, including electives, that emphasize positive experiences in family medicine early in the curricular structure and that exposure students to community physicians, faculty involvement in medical school committees and leadership, strong family medicine interest groups and leadership opportunities for students, and financial support that minimizes the impact of student debt.

The 2015 award recipients and their percentage of graduates entering family medicine are:

  • The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences — 20.8%
  • University of Kansas School of Medicine — 19.7%
  • University of Minnesota Medical School — 18.8%
  • Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University — 18.5%
  • University of Washington School of Medicine — 17.6%
  • Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine — 16.9%
  • Florida State University College of Medicine — 16.2%
  • University of Missouri, Columbia, School of Medicine — 16%
  • University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health — 15.9%
  • University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine — 15.8%
  • University of New Mexico School of Medicine — 15.8%

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter,(twitter.com) and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).