WVU School of Medicine again earns Top 10 recognition

One of the best schools for promoting family medicine

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – For the second year in a row, The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has named West Virginia University School of Medicine one of the nation’s Top 10 medical schools for producing graduates choosing careers in family medicine.

WVU tied for third place with two other schools – including Marshall University – by channeling an average of 16.8 percent of medical school graduates into an accredited family medicine residency program annually. That number is up from 15.5 percent at WVU last year.

“The American people and our healthcare system are increasingly in desperate need for primary care physicians,” said Ted Epperly, M.D., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Putting more family medicine doctors into practice is seen as a way for costs to be controlled as well as better medical care provided, especially to people in states with a large rural population such as West Virginia’s.

"We have worked very hard to increase our student interest in primary care,” said Norman D. Ferrari III, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education at WVU. “Our partnership with the residents of West Virginia to make this happen has increased along with our work in the Rural Health Education Partnerships program, which places residents and students in training with family physicians around the state. We are proud to be in the top ten for the second year in row."

The WVU School of Medicine helps interest students in family medicine by stressing the satisfactions of the practice, which include getting to know families and even generations of patients over time.

“Family medicine physicians take care of children as well as adults. They do everything from minor surgeries to delivering babies. They take care of athletes as well as the elderly,” said James Arbogast, M.D., chair of the WVU Department of Family Medicine. “The practice of family medicine is extremely rewarding.”

Some of the features that help pique WVU students’ interest in family medicine include:
•    Six-week summer externships that allow students to work with family medicine doctors in their hometowns
•    A competitive rural scholars program that provides a stipend during residency and includes a community research project
•    A Family Medicine Interest Group that offers an outreach program in Morgantown (MUSHROOM) in which students offer basic healthcare for homeless people
The 2009 award was presented in Denver during the 2009 Society of Teachers of Family Medicine conference.

For information on the WVU Department of Family Medicine see http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/fammed/.

Photo Caption: Robert Carlisle, M.D., of the WVU Department of Family Medicine accepts the award in Denver from Daniel Ostergaard, M.D., AAFP vice president of professional activities.


For more information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
ab: 06-02-09

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