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Fam Med. 2003 Sep;35(8):579-84.

Do required preclinical courses with family physicians encourage interest in family medicine?

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California-San Francisco, 500 Parnassus Avenue, MU3E, San Francisco, CA 94143-0900, USA.



Many medical schools, including the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), added required preclinical course work with family physicians in the 1990s. We examined whether current UCSF students interested in family medicine noted more contact with family physicians and more faculty support of their interest than current Stanford students and 1993 UCSF students, neither of whom had required preclinical course work with family physicians.


A questionnaire was administered to students interested in family medicine at UCSF and Stanford in February 2001, with response rates of 84% and 90%, respectively. Previously published 1993 data from UCSF were also used for comparison. Data were analyzed using chi-square and t statistics as appropriate.


UCSF students in 2001, despite exposure to required preclinical course work with family physicians, did not perceive greater contact with family physicians than Stanford students. Stanford students perceived greater encouragement from their family medicine faculty but less from faculty overall, compared with 2001 UCSF students. UCSF students in 2001 perceived no more overall faculty encouragement than did UCSF students in 1993.


Required preclinical course work with family physicians was not consistently associated with greater student perception of faculty support for students' interest in family medicine, nor was it demonstrated to increase the amount or quality of interested students' interaction with family medicine faculty.

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