GREENVILLE, N.C., Oct. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Six years in a row, the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has been ranked among the nation's top five medical schools for the high percentage of its graduates pursuing careers in family medicine. Brody ranked fourth on this year's list, which is published in the October issue of Family Medicine, the journal of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.
For more than a decade, the medical industry has been sounding the alarm about the shortage of primary care physicians and how it may be harmful to the health of the United States, particularly for the underserved. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration there were 6,100 counties designated Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in the United States as of June 19, 2014. That designation means the physician-to-population ratio exceeds the minimum of 1:3,500 considered necessary for adequate access.
This year, ECU's medical school is the only one in the Southeast to make the top five – where it has now stayed for six consecutive years. Brody has been ranked in the top 10 since 2007. No other North Carolina medical school has made the top 10 during that time period.
"This is evidence of our long-standing commitment to provide talented and committed primary care physicians for North Carolina," said Dr. Cecil Staton, Chancellor, ECU. "The Brody School of Medicine was legislatively founded on a mission of producing primary care physicians, and we've effectively and efficiently delivered on that mission ever since."
According to the AAFP's 2015 rankings report, primary care – which includes family medicine, general pediatrics, general internal medicine and obstetrics/gynecology – has been demonstrated to improve health care outcomes and reduce health disparities while also reducing health care costs. AAFP leadership believes filling the family physician workforce pipeline is vital to the health of Americans. At a time when the U.S. is seeing a decline in the numbers of physicians entering primary care, the academy reports that family physicians provide more care for America's underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty.
North Carolina in particular is reporting increasing shortages of primary care doctors in rural and economically depressed areas of the state. The Association of American Medical Colleges consistently ranks Brody better than 90 percent of the nation's medical schools for graduating physicians who practice in-state, as well as in rural and underserved areas.
According to the AAFP, Brody has sent an average of 16.7 percent of its graduates into family medicine the past three years – almost double the national average of 8.7 percent. Fifty-five percent of Brody graduates remain in primary care five years after graduation – the highest percentage of any medical school in the state.
Because of its innovative curriculum, Brody was also one of only 11 medical schools nationwide to receive a five-year, $1 million grant in 2013 from the American Medical Association and to join the inaugural group of consortium schools tasked with developing ways to better prepare the nation's future health care workforce.
"Without strengthening the primary care base in our nation or state, we will not be able to improve the delivery of health care across the continuum of a patient's life, nor improve the value of care we are offering – in both quality and cost-reduction," underscored Dr. Elizabeth Baxley, Brody's senior associate dean for academic affairs. "We are especially proud of the fact that we hold the cost of a medical education to a level that allows Brody graduates to choose their specialty based on their heart, not their pocketbook."
The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University is nationally recognized for preparing primary care physicians who practice in medically underserved communities. All those admitted are North Carolina residents and the majority of its graduates practice primary care in North Carolina. Brody's research includes a strong focus on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and preventive care.
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 family physicians, residents and medical students nationwide. The AAFP website defines the basis of family medicine as "an ongoing, personal, patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care."
Family medicine encompasses comprehensive health care for individuals and their families, incorporating the biological, clinical and behavioral sciences, and encompassing all ages, sexes, organ systems and diseases.
Contact: Amy Ellis, director of communication for the Brody School of Medicine, firstname.lastname@example.org or (252) 744-3764
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ecus-brody-school-of-medicine-is-the-only-medical-school-in-north-carolina-and-the-southeast-to-be-ranked-tops-in-producing-vital-family-physicians-300350814.html
SOURCE The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University