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Med Educ Online. 2017;22(1):1340780. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2017.1340780.

Meeting the demand of the future: a curriculum to stimulate interest in careers in primary care internal medicine.

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a Internal Medicine Clerkship , University of Massachusetts Medical School , Worcester , MA , USA.
b Institutional Analyst III , University of Massachusetts Medical School , Worcester , MA , USA.



There is a growing need for primary care physicians, but only a small percentage of graduating medical students enter careers in primary care.


To assess whether a Primary Care Intraclerkship within the Medicine clerkship can significantly improve students' attitudes by analyzing scores on pre- and post-tests.


Students on the Medicine clerkship at the University of Massachusetts Medical School participated in full-day 'intraclerkships',to demonstrate the importance of primary care and the management of chronic illness in various primary care settings. Pre-and post-tests containing students' self-reported, five-point Likert agreement scale evaluations to 26 items (measuring perceptions about the roles of primary care physicians in patient care and treatment) were collected before and after each session. Eleven intraclerkships with 383 students were held between June 2010 and June 2013. Responses were analyzed using the GLM Model Estimate.


Results from the survey analysis showed significantly more positive attitudes toward primary care in the post-tests compared to the pre-tests. Students who were satisfied with their primary care physicians were significantly more likely to show an improvement in post-test attitudes toward primary care in the areas of physicians improving the quality of patient care, making a difference in overall patient health, finding primary care as an intellectually challenging field, and in needing to collaborate with specialists. Older students were more likely than younger students to show more favorable answers on questions concerning the relative value of primary care vs. specialty care.


A curriculum in Primary Care Internal Medicine can provide a framework to positively influence students' attitudes toward the importance of primary care, and potentially to influence career decisions to enter careers in Primary Care Internal Medicine. Ensuring that medical students receive excellent primary care for themselves can also positively influence attitudes toward primary care.


Primary care; career choice; curriculum; medical education; medical student

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