Bolstering the pipeline for primary care: a proposal from stakeholders in medical education

Shi, Hanyuan; Lee, Kevin Chung-En

The Association of American Medical Colleges reports an impending shortage of over 90,000 primary care physicians by the year 2025. An aging and increasingly insured population demands a larger provider workforce. Unfortunately, the supply of US-trained medical students entering primary care residencies is also dwindling, and without a redesign in this country’s undergraduate and graduate medical education structure, there will be significant problems in the coming decades. As an institution producing fewer and fewer trainees in primary care for one of the poorest states in the United States, we propose this curriculum to tackle the issue of the national primary care physician shortage. The aim is to promote more recruitment of medical students into family medicine through an integrated 3-year medical school education and a direct entry into a local or state primary care residency without compromising clinical experience. Using the national primary care deficit figures, we calculated that each state medical school should reserve 20–30 primary care (family medicine) residency spots, allowing students to bypass the traditional match after successfully completing a series of rigorous externships, pre-internships, core clerkships, and board exams. Robust support, advising, and personal mentoring are also incorporated to ensure adequate preparation of students. The nation’s health is at risk. With full implementation in allopathic medical schools in 50 states, we propose a long-term solution that will serve to provide more than 1,000–2,700 new primary care providers annually. Ultimately, we will produce happy, experienced, and empathetic doctors to advance our nation’s primary care system.


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Medical Education Online

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Dental Medicine
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September 28, 2016