Medical student teaching and recruiting: 50 years of balancing two educational aims

Benjamin (Ben) Schneider, Alexander Chessman, William Toffler, Lara Handler, Beat Steiner, Frances Biagioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Family medicine (FM) undergraduate medical educators have had two distinct missions, to increase the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of all students while also striving to attract students to the field of family medicine. A five decade literature search was conducted gathering FM curricular innovations and the parallel trends in FM medical student interest. Student interest in FM had a rapid first-decade rise to 14%, a second 1990’s surge, followed by a drop to the current plateau of 8–9%. This falls far short of the 30–50% generalist benchmark needed to fill the country’s health care needs. Curricular innovations fall into three periods: Charismatic Leaders & Clinical Exposures (1965–1978), Creation of Clerkships of FM (1979–1998) and Curricular Innovations (1998–present). There is good evidence that having a required third-year clerkship positively impacts student interest in the field, however there is little research regarding the recruitment impact of specific clerkship curricula. Other tools associated with student interest include programming geared towards primary care or rural training and extracurricular opportunities such as FM Interest Groups. Strategic plans to improve the primary care work force should focus funding and legislative efforts on effective methods such as: establishing and maintaining FM clerkships, admitting students with rural and underserved backgrounds or primary care interest, developing longitudinal primary care tracks, and supporting extracurricular FM activities. Rigorous research is needed to assess how best to utilize limited educational resources to ensure that all students graduate with a core set of FM competence as well as an increased FM matriculation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-288
Number of pages7
JournalFamily Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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