Deans of 21 U.S. allopathic medical schools received a nice surprise from the AAFP recently when AAFP President John Meigs, M.D., of Centreville, Ala., sent them congratulatory letters for their "exemplary performance" in graduating a higher percentage of students entering careers in family medicine when compared to other U.S. allopathic schools.
In his letters, Meigs noted the nation's struggle to overcome a widely recognized shortage of primary care physicians that is estimated to reach 33,000 by 2035.
He pointed out that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Health Professions Commission are among a chorus of expert voices pushing for a U.S. physician workforce that is 40 percent primary care.
"As we know, it can be difficult to predict a graduate's exact future, particularly in regard to whether they will provide primary care as physicians in a number of specialties that are able to do so," wrote Meigs.
"However, we can be confident that the graduation rate of family medicine residents from your medical school is a reliable marker of graduates who will go on to provide this vital care and help fill the greatest need of our country's physician workforce, as noted by multiple studies."
- The AAFP recently sent congratulatory letters to the deans of the 21 U.S. allopathic medical schools that graduated the highest percentage of students who are on course to enter careers in family medicine.
- The letters noted that the shortage of primary care physicians is estimated to reach 33,000 by 2035.
- The highest-achieving school, the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, saw 19 percent of its graduates enter a family medicine residency program for the 2015-2016 academic year.
The highest-achieving medical school on the list of 21 -- as referenced in a study in the October issue of Family Medicine(www.stfm.org) -- was the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. A full 19 percent of its graduates entered an ACGME-accredited family medicine residency program for the 2015-2016 academic year.
The other 20 schools that received accolades from the AAFP (and their respective percentages of graduates that headed to family medicine residencies) were
- University of Kansas School of Medicine in Lawrence (17.8 percent);
- University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Grand Forks (17.4 percent);
- Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. (16.7 percent);
- University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle (16.6 percent);
- Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Loma Linda, Calif. (16.5 percent);
- University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine in Little Rock (16.3 percent);
- University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine in Omaha (16.1 percent);
- University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Oklahoma City (16 percent);
- Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in Portland (15.8 percent);
- University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison (15.6 percent);
- Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine in Bethesda, Md. (15.5 percent);
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in Lubbock (15.5 percent);
- University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque (15.5 percent);
- University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine in Sioux Falls (15.2 percent);
- Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in East Lansing (13.2 percent);
- University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine (13.1 percent);
- University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine (12.9 percent);
- University of Iowa Roy J. And Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City (12.8 percent);
- University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine in Honolulu (12.5 percent); and
- East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine in Johnson City (12.5 percent).
In closing, Meigs asked each school to build on its success and commit to "growing the primary care workforce, admitting and training students most likely to enter the field, and creating the educational opportunities and culture" that is necessary to illuminate the path to a rewarding career in family medicine.
Stan Kozakowski, M.D., director of the AAFP Division of Medical Education, tempered the good news with a cautionary note about the long haul ahead.
"All U.S. medical schools have room for improvement if we are to meet the nation's workforce needs and to deliver on the triple aim of health care that is defined as improved health, improved experience of health care and lower per-capita costs," Kozakowski told AAFP News.
"The AAFP is committed to partnering with medical schools and helping institutions learn from each other about best practices to engage students and increase the number of those who choose family medicine," he added.
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