East Carolina University sent more medical graduates into training as family medicine physicians during a recent 10-year period than any other school in the country.
ECU is also sending a majority of all its medical graduates into practice in North Carolina.
That's according to the American Academy for Family Physicians, which measured the success of schools in producing family doctors between 1999 and 2009. The results show the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University sent nearly 19.5 percent of its graduates into family medicine residencies, or the additional training doctors normally receive after medical school before entering practice.
Dr. Paul Cunningham, dean of the Brody School of Medicine addresses the crowd gathered at the Match Day ceremony held on March 17.
"It is clearly a remarkable achievement but comes as no surprise to the dedicated and loyal faculty who passionately teach, mentor and support our students," said Dr. Paul Cunningham, dean of the school. "After all, we are an integral component of East Carolina University -- the leadership university -- with a profound dedication to serving the citizens of North Carolina. This acclaim represents objective evidence of achieving one of our core aspirations."
ECU's percentage of students entering family medicine is more than double the national average of 9.6 percent and leads the 124 medical schools the AAFP surveyed.
And the trend has continued; at Thursday's national residency match day, 19 percent of ECU's 68 senior medical students were accepted into family medicine residencies.
"Countries with primary care physicians as the foundation of the health care system have better health outcomes for the population at lower cost," Dr. Perry Pugno, AAFP director of education, wrote in a letter accompanying the report. "The United States needs, and its population deserves, a primary care physician-based health care delivery system."
The AAFP also reports that of the nearly 1,300 graduates of the ECU medical school as of 2009, 765, or 59 percent, practice in North Carolina. That’s a higher percentage than any other medical school in the state.
Twenty-one percent practice in rural areas, 53 percent practice in areas of physician shortage, and 47 percent practice primary care – family medicine, general internal medicine and pediatrics. Those percentages are also higher than any other medical school in the state.
By Doug Boyd, ECU News Services
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