The Selling of Primary Care 2015

J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Sep;30(9):1376-80. doi: 10.1007/s11606-015-3364-9.


The role of undergraduate medical education in creating, perpetuating, and potentially solving the physician shortage in adult primary care has been debated for years, but often the discussions revolve around overly simplistic notions of supply and demand. The supply is curtailed, it is said, because the work is hard and the pay is low relative to other career options. Missing is a recognition that medical schools make choices in developing primary care learning environments that profoundly affect student perceptions of this career. Emerging developments in healthcare, including the transformation of academic health centers into integrated health systems that enter into risk-based contracts, may provide an opportunity to re-direct discussions about primary care. More schools may begin to recognize that they can control the quality of primary care teaching environments, and that doing so will help them achieve excellence in education and compete in the new marketplace. The selling of primary care to medical schools may be the first step in primary care selling itself to medical students.

MeSH terms

  • Career Choice*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Humans
  • Physicians / supply & distribution*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • United States
  • Workforce