Health is Primary 5K

Undergraduate students at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill used the Health is Primary campaign( to get their community moving and give back to a local charity. The Undergraduate Family Medicine Interest Group (uFMIG) at UNC hosted a Health is Primary Community 5K Run/Walk to benefit Carolina Cupboard, a local food pantry, and attracted 30 race participants and collected 50 items of food.

Ten volunteers from the UNC uFMIG — a group of undergraduate students on a premedical track who already know they’re interested in family medicine and primary care — organized, promoted, and executed the event. The group was established in 2011 to provide exposure to family medicine among students interested in medicine, and to increase awareness of family medicine and its importance in the health care system. The group has grown from 35 students and eight events in its inaugural year to a larger, more robust group with programming that includes skills workshops, panels, lectures, TED talks, shadowing opportunities, service projects, and community events like the Health is Primary Run/Walk.

Following its March launch in Seattle, the Health is Primary city tour came through Raleigh, North Carolina on April 16. It is also heading to Chicago on May 19, Denver on October 2, and Detroit on October 21. Students and residents in and around those communities will have the opportunity to engage with the tour events to leverage family medicine and primary care at their institutions. Students all over the country can create their own Health is Primary events from scratch like the UNC students or use the toolkit (available soon).

The uFMIG is supported by the UNC School of Medicine and Family Medicine Residency. Faculty, residents, and medical students participate and contribute to its success.

“We recently held another vital signs workshop and had five FMIG med students help teach the undergraduates how to check vitals,” said Catherine Coe, MD, a resident family physician at UNC and resident advisor to the uFMIG. “The undergraduates appreciated the one-on-one mentoring, and the medical students enjoyed being able to be the teachers!”

About Health is Primary

Health is Primary is a new communications campaign from the family medicine community that engages the public to advocate for the values of family medicine, demonstrate the benefits of primary care, and engage patients in the health care system. The aim of the campaign is to build a primary care system that reflects the values of family medicine, puts patients at the center of their care, and improves the health of all Americans.

The campaign will travel to cities across the country to highlight the individuals, organizations, and communities that are making health primary to build on their success and ensure that everyone has access to the benefits of primary care. The campaign will also provide specific tools and resources to increase collaboration between patients and doctors on important health issues, including smoking prevention and cessation, nutrition and fitness, immunization, and chronic disease management.

To follow Health is Primary, or become part of the movement as a contributor, sign up at