ORLANDO, Fla. - The University of Kansas School of Medicine today received the American Academy of Family Physicians Top 10 Award for its consistent contributions to building the family physician workforce. The award, presented during the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine annual spring conference, marks the fifth consecutive year the school has received the honor.
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 commended the University of Kansas School of Medicine for its ongoing focus on ensuring Americans have access to primary medical care.
"Five consecutive years of recognition says much about the KU School of Medicine focus on educating students to meet the needs of the nation," Kozakowski said.
Top 10 Awards schools employ several initiatives that support students who are interested in and most likely to become family physicians. Those initiatives include student outreach, admissions policies that target students from rural and medically underserved areas, clinical rotations that emphasize positive experiences in family medicine, faculty involvement in medical school committees, strong family medicine interest groups, and financial aid packages that minimize student debt.
The 2015 award recipients and their percentage of graduates entering family medicine are:
About the American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 115,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is nearly 214 million office visits each year - nearly 74 million more than the next largest 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.