The primary care specialties working together: a model of success in an academic environment

Acad Med. 2000 Jul;75(7):693-8. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200007000-00010.


In today's environment of decreasing resources and increasing competition among clinical delivery systems, survival and ultimate success require interdisciplinary cooperation and, if possible, integration. Academic leaders at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), have developed a collaborative model in which faculty in family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics cooperate extensively in education, research, and patient care. Generalist faculty jointly administer and teach both a four-year "doctoring" curriculum for medical students and an array of integrated curricula for primary care residents, including a communication skills course. Several primary faculty jointly developed a collaborative unit for health policy and research, now an active locus for multidisciplinary research. Other faculty worked together to develop a primary care medical group that serves as a model for interdisciplinary practice at UCI. Recently, the university recruited an associate dean for primary care who leads the new UCI Primary Care Coalition, reflecting and promoting this interspecialty cooperation. This coalition does not represent a step toward a generic primary care specialty; UCI's generalist disciplines have preserved their individual identities and structures. Yet interdisciplinary collaboration has allowed primary care faculty to share educational resources, a research infrastructure, and clinical systems, thus avoiding duplicative use of valuable resources while maximizing collective negotiating abilities and mutual success.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / organization & administration*
  • California
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical / organization & administration
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Research*