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ECU’s Brody School of Medicine ranks No. 2 in U.S. for sending grads into family medicine

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Dr. Christina McCabe, Brody graduate and resident physician in family medicine at ECU, with Dr. J. Lane Wilson, assistant residency director in ECU's Department of Family Medicine.

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ECU News Service

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University was ranked first in the state and second in the nation among M.D. granting medical schools this year for its high percentage of graduates pursuing careers in family medicine.

The American Academy of Family Physicians calculates The rankings annually by averaging the percentages of each school’s graduates who entered family medicine residency programs the past three years.

Brody ranked fourth on the list last year and has been in the top five for seven straight years. The school has held a spot in the top 10 since 2007 – the only school in the Southeast to do so.

An average of 19.6 percent of ECU medical graduates began training in family medicine over the past three years, according to the report published in the October issue of Family Medicine, the journal of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. That figure is nearly double the national average.

“The Brody School of Medicine is delighted to be recognized for our success in developing family medicine physicians,” said Brody dean Dr. Mark Stacy. “From the outset ECU has pursued its mission to increase the number of primary care physicians in North Carolina with an emphasis on graduating physicians from underrepresented communities. This honor reinforces the work of hundreds of people in this medical school who work to meet our mission each and every day.”

This year’s report builds on previous reports that primary care – which encompasses family medicine, general pediatrics, general internal medicine and obstetrics/gynecology — improves health care outcomes and reduces health disparities while reducing per capita costs.

AAFP leadership believes the strength of the nation’s primary care base is critical to achieving those aims. A 2010 report by the Council on Graduate Medical Education recommended that efforts should be made to increase the percentage of primary care physicians in the physician workforce to a minimum of 40 percent. The most recent estimates suggest that the rate is in decline, with these physicians representing only 35 percent of the workforce.

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 in the top 10 percent nationally not only for the percentage of its graduates practicing primary care in-state, but also for graduates practicing in rural and underserved areas. Brody alumni currently work in 83 of the state’s 100 counties.

More than 60 percent of Brody graduates are practicing in the state five years after graduation — nearly double the rate of North Carolina’s second-highest producing medical school.

On average, 42 percent of Brody graduates remain in primary care in North Carolina five years after graduation – as compared to 16 percent of graduates from the state’s second-highest producer.

“ECU is honored to be recognized nationally for sending graduates into primary care careers. More importantly, this ranking affirms that we're answering our state's need for more family physicians, those front-line providers we depend on to care for us from cradle to grave,” said ECU chancellor Dr. Cecil Staton.

"We lead the state when it comes to the percentage of our graduates practicing primary care in-state five years after graduation,” Staton said. "When you look at eastern North Carolina and the family doctors who graduated in 1985 or later, 1 in 5 are Brody graduates. We invest in people who stay here.”

Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 physicians 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.

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