According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, a primary care physician is a specialist in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine or Pediatrics who provides definitive care at the point of first contact, and takes continuing responsibility for providing the patient’s comprehensive care. This care may include chronic, preventive and acute care in both inpatient and outpatient settings. These physicians are specifically trained to provide comprehensive primary care services through residency or fellowship training in acute and chronic care settings. The primary care physician spends most of her time providing primary care services to a defined population of patients. If you are interested in pursuing your medical career in primary care, here are the best medical schools for primary care according to the U.S. News and World Report.
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10. (tie) University of Pennsylvania
Just under 40 seniors matched into the most common primary care specialties on Match Day 2018, including 22 who went into internal medicine, 5 who went into family medicine, and 11 who went into pediatrics. The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania receives more than $800 million in annual sponsored research. The selective institution boasts median MCAT and GPA scores of 520 and 3.88 and class size of under 160 students. Of note, 67% of the 2018 admitted class were classified as nontraditional students.
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10. (tie) University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota Medical School places a strong emphasis on primary care and early clinical experience at both its Twin Cities and Duluth campuses. The Twin Cities campus has an urban environment, while the Duluth campus has a rural environment and places a special emphasis on primary care for Native Americans. 122 students matched with primary care residencies in 2019. The University of Minnesota Medical School has a flexible MD program; students can take anywhere from 3.5 to 6 years to complete it. The incoming class of 2019 had a median undergraduate GPA of 3.8 and a median MCAT score of 510.
Located in Sacramento, California, UC Davis’ class of 2022 was comprised of 119 matriculants, of which 64% were female. Almost 60% came from a disadvantaged and underrepresented minority in medicine, and 32% of entering students were classified as first-generation. The average science GPA for the class of 2022 was 3.65 and the average MCAT score was 511. The 2018 Match Day results show that 21 UC Davis seniors matched into family medicine residencies, internal medicine was chosen by 36 seniors, and 12 went into pediatrics residencies, showing a strong leaning toward primary care.
At the University of Nebraska Medical Center, 66 students matched with primary care residencies on 2019 Match Day. Each student gets significant exposure to primary care clinical experiences; not only do they complete an 8-week family medicine clerkship in a rural Nebraskan community, a 12-week internal medicine clerkship, and an 8-week pediatrics clerkship, but students can also choose elective rotations and classes that focus on primary care. The incoming class of 2019 had a median undergraduate GPA of 3.74 and a median MCAT score of 510.
6. (tie) University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
With median GPA and MCAT score of 3.88 and 518, the school saw 2018 seniors enjoy great success matching into primary care residencies, with 15 going into family medicine, 21 into internal medicine, and 8 into various pediatric residencies. At Michigan, medical students begin spending time in the clinical world earlier than in a traditional medical school curriculum, with clinical exposure on a regular basis throughout the M1 year. Michigan offers core clerkships as soon as the second year, with rotations in several primary care specialties.
6. (tie) Oregon Health and Science University
Oregon Health & Science University is a public university in Portland, Oregon with a main campus, as well as two hospitals. Of the 6,700 applications received, about 7% come from Oregon residents. To fill the class size of 153, 570 applicants were interviewed and 230 offers of acceptance were sent out. The entering class was made up of 84% residents of Oregon, with an average science GPA of 3.58 average MCAT of 509. Interestingly, more than a quarter of admitted students were applying for the second time—a good indication that you shouldn’t give up your MD dreams. By specialty, 60 students, or 41% of the class, chose primary care residencies (internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics).
Internal medicine was a leading match result with 32 seniors matching in 2018, followed by 27 into pediatrics, and 16 into family medicine. The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA received more than 11,000 applications in 2017 for its 175 seats in the entering class, making it one of the most coveted programs in the country. The median MCAT score was 517, just above the 95th percentile, and the median GPA was 3.85. The family medicine clerkship at DGSOM allows students to learn family-centered primary health care that is humanistic, comprehensive, cost-effective, continuous, and sensitive to psychosocial, ethical, and financial issues. The clerkship provides an opportunity for students to learn about the diagnosis and management of patients with common problems.
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Of Baylor College of Medicine’s 187 fourth-year students, 110 matched into primary care in 2018. Internal medicine residencies were offered to 28 seniors, while 11 matched into family medicine and 16 into pediatrics. The Houston, Texas medical school is made up of a majority of Texas residents. Underrepresented minority groups in medicine make up 21 percent of the students. The incoming median GPA and MCAT scores are 3.92 and 518, both extremely competitive.
Of the 154 UCSF students participating in the 2018 match, 66 chose primary care specialties, with 23 seniors choosing Internal Medicine residencies. Less than 2% of more than 7,700 applicants to the MD program get in, making UCSF one of the most competitive schools on the list. The median GPA and MCAT scores are 3.85 and 517, respectively. Most students are California residents and about a third of the medical school students body comes from communities historically underrepresented in medicine.
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The University of Washington School of Medicine is consistently ranked among the top primary care medical schools in the nation. With its larger class size of 270 entering MDs, UW School of Medicine received more than 9,000 applications, including more than 1,000 from the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. With a median MCAT score of 510, the entering class is made up of primarily residents of the five states the school is committed to supporting by building their physician workforce. The school offers unique rural and underserved training opportunities, including a 4-week summer rotation program, a longitudinal, integrated clerkship program, and a 4-year integrated rural program. In the 2018 match, the primary care residencies were: 54 seniors matched into internal medicine, 32 into pediatrics, and 38 into family medicine.
There is a big focus on diversity at UNCSOM as the school ranks in the 90th percentile for both the number of African-American graduates and the number of female faculty members. The first year class is made up of students aged 20-39 from 17 states. UNCSOM is also a top medical school for rural medicine. For aspiring MDs looking to get into primary care, recent match results from UNCSOM showed 18 students matching into family medicine, 24 into internal medicine, and 25 into pediatrics. The incoming class of 180 students had a 3.73 median GPA and a median of 512 on the MCAT.