Family medicine accounts for some 40% of all U.S. primary care visits, and medical schools that lack family medicine departments naturally send fewer graduates into the field. Surely, the following well-endowed and elite U.S. medical schools would be able to afford such a mission-critical specialty?:
- George Washington
- Johns Hopkins
- New York University
- Washington University in St. Louis
Guess again. None of these elite schools trains students in family medicine. What’s going on? Well, as Stat points out, to add a new department medical schools obviously need to be able to provide clinical opportunities to learn that specialty. And they can’t do that if the hospitals they’re affiliated with don’t themselves have family medicine departments. The problem, as you might have guessed, is about money. When Harvard Medical School dangled $2 million in matching funds to one of its affiliated hospitals to create a ‘fam med’ department, the hospital didn’t take the bait. The costs (infrastructure, faculty, research, residents’ salaries) dwarfed the funds Harvard offered. Read the full, sorry story here.