At left, Dr. Meghan Scott, a Brody School of Medicine graduate and second-year family medicine resident at ECU, stands with Dr. Jonathon Firnhaber, ECU's family medicine residency program director. ECU has again been ranked as among the top ten in the nation in producing family care physicians. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

Brody ranks 4th in the nation for producing family docs

May 15, 2015

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University was recognized again this year for the high percentage of its graduates pursuing residency training in family medicine.

The American Academy of Family Physicians Top 10 Award annually honors medical schools that — during a consecutive three-year period — graduated the greatest percentage of students who chose first-year family medicine residency positions.

Brody ranked fourth on this year’s list – one place higher than the school’s 2014 ranking. It is based on an average of 18.5 percent of ECU medical graduates entering family medicine during the last three years. No other North Carolina medical school received the award.

This is the ninth consecutive year of recognition for ECU’s medical school, according to Department of Family Medicine records. Recipients were announced April 27 during the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Annual Spring Conference in Orlando, Florida.

“The Brody School of Medicine was legislatively founded on a mission of producing primary care physicians – a mission which we have delivered on for our entire existence,” said Dr. Elizabeth Baxley, senior associate dean for academic affairs at Brody.

“We do this well because our focus on this mission begins with the pre-admissions process and continues through our selection of students who are most likely to pursue primary care careers. That focus then permeates the students’ entire experience here, as we expose them often to more holistic training and clinical experiences and role models who attract future doctors to this type of practice,” she said.

“We also are careful to hold the cost of a medical education at a level that allows our graduates to choose their specialty based on their heart, not their pocketbook,” she added.

Approximately one in four of all medical office visits are made to family physicians, according to AAFP data. That totals nearly 214 million office visits each year — nearly 74 million more than the next largest medical specialty.

At a time when the nation is facing a shortage of primary care physicians, AAFP leadership believes filling the family physician workforce pipeline is vital to the health of Americans.

“Without strengthening the primary care base in our nation, we will not be able to improve the delivery of health care across the continuum of a patient’s life, nor improve the value of care we are offering – in both quality and cost-reduction,” Baxley noted.

Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 120,900 family physicians, residents and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

The AAFP website defines family medicine as the medical specialty which provides continuing, comprehensive health care for individuals and their families, integrating the biological, clinical and behavioral sciences, and encompassing all ages, sexes, organ systems and diseases.

More information about the Top Ten ranking is available online at

Pictured below with the award are, left to right, Dr. Susan Keen, Department of Family Medicine, Brody School of Medicine; AAFP President Dr. Robert Wergin; and Dr. Elizabeth Baxley,
senior associate dean for academic affairs, Brody School of Medicine. (Contributed photo)