As a land-grant university in a state with a significant burden of disease, we have a pressing responsibility to develop a primary care workforce to serve our communities. We are challenged to meet this goal by many factors including low visibility of family medicine among premedical and medical students, limited time with students in the formal curriculum, negative stereotypes of family medicine perpetuated at many levels of our health system, production pressure and limited protected teaching time for faculty. Our match rates into Family Medicine have remained below national averages and despite the recent increase in 2016 for NRMP, our rate continues to decline.
Through an in-depth review of our departmental strategy and through consultation with experts at institutions with high rates of recruitment to Family Medicine, we focused on initiatives that would address the challenges identified. It has been demonstrated that longitudinal primary care experiences lead to increased numbers of students choosing Family Medicine as their specialty, therefore our primary focus has been the development of FamTrack, inspired by and modeled on a similar program at the Medical University of South Carolina and adapted with permission to our setting. FamTrack is an 18 month preclinical enhancement program designed to provide early clinical exposure, mentorship and a community for students interested in Family Medicine. Program goals are for students to: 1) develop an understanding of family medicine as a clinical and academic profession through personal relationships with FM faculty; 2) develop attitudes of patient-centeredness through early clinical experiences that emphasize longitudinal patient relationships and team-based care, 3) reflect on personal and professional challenges of patient care, and 4) remain connected to core values that drew them to the specialty as they begin to foster a professional identity. This presentation will describe the planning, implementation and initial evaluation of FamTrack against the challenges facing the development of primary care at our institution. Primary outcomes are increase or preservation of positive attitudes toward Family Medicine, knowledge about the profession of Family Medicine and interest in pursuing Family Medicine as a career. Secondary outcomes will be patient centeredness and attitudes toward team-based care (IPE survey). We hope that this early longitudinal experience in Family Medicine will achieve the following among participant students and perhaps among the class cohort by diffusion: 1) increased student recognition of value in Family Medicine as measured by the attitudinal survey; 2) increased knowledge about FM scope and practice as measured by the attitudinal survey; 3) increased participation in FMIG during 3rd and 4th years; 4) increased number of students matching into Family Medicine. Preliminary results will be collated in July 2016 and final results in July 2017.#ConferenceonMedicalStudentEducation #2017