• Doctors of Community Act Could Address Physician Shortage and Improve Health Outcomes

    Wednesday, June 2, 2021 

    Statement attributable to:
    Ada D. Stewart, MD
    American Academy of Family Physicians

    “The American Academy of Family Physicians applauds the introduction of the Doctors of Community (DOC) Act which, if passed, will permanently authorize and expand funding for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program. This program currently plays a vital role in training the next generation of primary care physicians and addressing the physician shortage.

    “Evidence shows that patients who have access to primary care, which includes family physicians, have better health outcomes. Despite the benefits, the U.S. faces a critical shortage in the family physician workforce, in part because of underinvestment as well as a lack of opportunities and resources in medical education.

    “The THCGME program trains primary care physicians and provides care in medically-underserved and rural communities. By ensuring this program receives permanent funding and future growth, we can build a stronger pipeline of future family physicians which can ultimately improve health care access and health outcomes.

    “The AAFP has long advocated for permanent authorization of the THCGME program, and we would like to thank Rep. Frank Pallone and Sen. Patty Murray for introducing this important bill. We urge Congress to act swiftly to pass the DOC Act.”

    Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Stewart, contact Janelle Davis, (913) 912-0377, or jdavis@aafp.org.


    About American Academy of Family Physicians
    Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 133,500 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.