MU family medicine program nationally recognized for outstanding commitment

MU graduates an impressive amount of students with family medicine residencies.

The MU School of Medicine was awarded its second Top 10 Award for its family and community medicine program.

The award is given by the American Academy of Family Physicians annually to honor schools with the greatest number of graduates with family medicine residencies.

According to the AAFP, nearly 19 percent of MU students in the school graduate with family medicine residencies, which is the fourth-highest in the nation.

“Our school’s commitment to patient-centered care is a natural fit with family medicine,” said Elizabeth Garrett, a family and community medicine professor and the department director of medical student education.

Students in the school are provided various opportunities, such as the Family and Community Medicine Clerkship, which is directed by Garrett.

“Our third-year Family Medicine Clerkship is highly rated by the students and they see terrific family physician role models,” Garrett said.

The clerkship centers around exposing students to a variety of situations, such as ambulatory clinic care. Students in the clerkship work with veteran professionals and are engaged in real-word family medicine work, according to the School of Medicine website.

The school has additional programs available for those interested in family medicine, such as the Lester R. Bryant Pre-Admissions and Rural Track Clerkship programs.

An exposure to rural community medicine can positively influence a student’s decision to enter family medicine, said Kevin Kane, a professor of clinical family and community medicine and director for curriculum and evaluation​ for the MU School of Medicine.

Kane also said the scholars fully immerse themselves in a rural practice setting, with the goal of accessing areas of Missouri where family medicine is in highest demand.

“My interest in family medicine was solidified while working with a rural family physician in Iowa during my fourth year of medical school,” he said. “His scope of practice and keen ability to connect with and care for patients of all ages in a thriving continuity practice were traits I wanted to emulate in my career.”

Kane said that because of the Department of Family and Community Medicine’s nationally acclaimed faculty, “students soon realize that family medicine offers a wide range of satisfying career opportunities.”

The school also directly addresses the serious need for physicians in Missouri, and its graduates make up a majority of Missouri physicians, a School of Medicine news release said.

Garrett said the faculty is “extremely engaged” in the students’ time at MU.

“We have visible leaders at the school who are family physicians and the department is known for excellence in teaching, patient-centered care and scholarship,” she said.

Garrett also said the faculty she is able to collaborate with at the school is among her main reasons for teaching family medicine at MU.

“It was the excellent family medicine residents I worked with, and the approachable, knowledgeable faculty that confirmed my decision to not only go into family medicine but stay here at MU,” she said.

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