Loma Linda University School of Medicine is among the top schools in the nation to graduate family physicians, bucking the national trend of medical schools producing fewer medical students specializing in family medicine.
The Annals of Family Medicine, in its March/April 2012 edition, identified Loma Linda University School of Medicine as the third best school in the nation to graduate family physicians.
The top two schools are University of Minnesota and the University of Kansas. The schools were ranked based on the number and percentage of students who enter family medicine over a 10-year period.
“I am delighted that our students are selecting specialties that are very amenable to practice whole person care,” said Dr. Roger Hadley, dean of Loma Linda University School of Medicine.
“As more accountability is demanded from health care providers by health care reform, there will be an increasing dependability on family medicine physicians and the other primary specialties to assure the health of community members,” he said.
According to the Annals of Family Medicine, the number of medical students entering family medicine training has been going down. Between 2001 to 2010, just over nine percent of medical students in U.S. medical schools focused on family medicine, with the downturn becoming even more pronounced in the last three years, with only 8.1 percent of students choosing to specialize in family medicine. The report said only 30 percent of practicing physicians in the U.S. are in primary care, while most developed countries with good health systems have closer to 50 percent.
“We will not get to 50 percent producing less than 20 percent per year,” the report warned.
Dr. Hadley said initiatives, such as programs in rural health family medicine and the combined preventive medicine/family medicine programs, have contributed to Loma Linda University School of Medicine’s ability to increase the number of family medicine specialists.
He said better reimbursements and financial incentives for family physicians would also help get more medical students interested in becoming one.
*Contributed by Loma Linda University School of Medicine