By: Karly Pippitt, MD, FAAFP
25 x 2030 – To match 25% of medical school graduates into family medicine by 2030; more than double the current rate.
This is the ambitious goal of eight national and international family medicine organizations that are launching the America Needs More Family Doctors: 25×2030 Collaborative. The United States is facing a shortage in primary care providers, one, which family medicine graduates are uniquely suited to fill.
As this collaborative moves forward, consider what we in family medicine have done and what we can continue to do to achieve this goal. Match day is this Friday, when medical students across the nation learn where they will continue their training as residents. We are hoping for another increase in students matching into family medicine, which would be the tenth consecutive year of growth. At the University of Utah, Family Medicine Residency, with the help of the state legislature, we have been able to increase the size of our residency program to train two additional family physicians each year. Other family medicine training programs in the state have also been able to increase their numbers of trainees.
At about 12 percent, the University of Utah is close to the national average for students matching into family medicine. Over the last thirteen years, the University of Utah has contributed almost 150 students to family medicine, but we have room to grow. The medical schools with the most students matching into family medicine are closer to 20 percent. We have increased the length of our family medicine clerkship from four weeks to six weeks, providing more extensive exposure to our specialty for the students. We hope this helps to move the needle of student interest in family medicine.
20 percent is an ambitious target. While this collaborative will be working at a high level with medical school administrations and admissions offices, as well highlighting schools with higher than average numbers of students matching in family medicine, let us consider what can be done locally. Students frequently cite mentors as having the most impact on their decision to match in a particular specialty. How can you become a mentor?
- Take a clerkship student. This is an excellent opportunity to influence students and highlight the breadth and depth of family medicine. Preceptors who take a student are eligible for CME credit as well as their PI credit (a.k.a. MOC part IV). Contact our clerkship team for details.
- If you know a student interested in a medical career, offer to let them shadow you – show them how diverse and exciting a future in family medicine can be.
- Get involved with the Utah Academy of Family Physicians. Our state chapter is an incredible partner in helping connect students to family physicians outside the university.
- Students who would match in 2030 are currently in junior high. Look at students in your community. Can you speak at your local school? Can you talk at a library or other community event? Look at your patients, ask your neighbors, and your own kids. You might know a future family physician right now!
This movement starts with us. America needs more family doctors. Be a part of this vital, exciting movement in changing the future of healthcare. How else can you advocate for the future of family medicine?
Karly Pippitt, MD, FAAFP, is an Associate Professor (Clinical) in the Division of Family Medicine in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine in Salt Lake City, UT. Her areas of interest include pediatrics, women’s health, headaches, and contraception.