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Acad Med. 2004 Nov;79(11):1095-102.

The views of U.S. medical school deans toward academic primary care.

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  • 1Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Medicine Information Systems Unit, 720 Harrison Avenue, Suite 1102, Boston, MA 02118, USA.



To understand the views of U.S. medical school deans about their primary care faculties.


In 2000, the authors mailed a questionnaire containing 43 multipart items to deans of 130 U.S. allopathic medical schools. The questionnaire assessed the deans' attitudes about and evaluation of primary care at their school and their school's efforts to strengthen it. Deans were asked to compare family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics with nonprimary care clinical departments at their schools.


Of the 83 (64%) deans who responded, 82% reported their school had departments or divisions of family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics. Deans rated general internal medicine and general pediatrics higher than nonprimary care faculty on clinical expertise and productivity (p < .001) and family medicine equivalent to nonprimary care faculty. Deans rated all three primary care faculties superior to nonprimary care faculty for teaching skills (p < .001) and programs (p < .05), but lower than nonprimary care disciplines for research productivity (p < .01) and revenues (p < .001). They rated family medicine and general pediatrics lower for research skills (p < .001), but 73% of deans stated research was equally important for primary care and nonprimary care departments. Deans considered overall financial resources to be equivalent for primary care and nonprimary care departments, but 77% of deans felt primary care departments or divisions needed financial support from the medical school to survive. Most deans attempted to strengthen primary care by changing the curriculum to promote primary care and by providing financial support.


Deans ranked primary care faculty high on clinical and teaching measures. Although they considered research to be an important activity for primary care faculty, they evaluated it low relative to nonprimary care departments.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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