Primary Care Remains Key Focus of Meharry Medical College Students on National Match Day

As United States Experiences Shortage in Family Medicine, Pediatric, Internal Medicine Physicians, 62% Meharry Students Matched into Primary Care

Nashville, Tenn. – (March 15, 2013) – A majority of Meharry Medical College fourth-year medical students will start their careers as physicians in primary care, addressing a growing need in an American healthcare system that lacks approximately 9,000 primary care doctors, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Sixty-two (62%) percent of Meharry's fourth-year students matched in the primary care fields of internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine.  This is up 10% from Meharry's 2012 rate of 53%.  When obstetrics and gynecology are included in the primary care category Meharry's rate increases to 71 percent.

Primary care is the main source of health care for most Americans.  The AAMC predicts the shortfall of primary care physicians will increase to more than 65,000 doctors by 2025 if not addressed.

"Meharry has always been dedicated to helping fulfill the national need for primary care physicians, and we're proud that the number of students pursuing primary care reflects that commitment," said Charles P. Mouton, M.D., M.S., Dean of the School of Medicine and Senior Vice President for Health Affairs.  "In this ever-changing healthcare environment, Meharry consistently offers students the best medical education while reinforcing the importance of providing care to those living in underserved communities."

"We continue to be encouraged by the number of Meharry Medical students who embrace primary care," said Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MBA, MPH, MACP, President and Chief Executive Officer of Meharry Medical College.  "With the looming shortage of internists, pediatricians and family physicians across the nation, Meharry continues to be a top producer of primary care physicians in this era of health reform."

Each year, medical school students submit their top three choices for residency programs to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), a nonprofit organization that facilitates the process of matching the preferences of applicants to available U.S. residency positions. Meharry students joined hundreds across the country for the nationwide event known as "Match Day" when students learn where they will be medical residents.

Four (4%) percent of Meharry students matched to residency programs in Tennessee including East Tennessee State University, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  Meharry Medical College students also successfully matched to dozens of residency training programs from coast to coast including prestigious academic health centers such as Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of California, San Francisco, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Yale-New Haven Hospital and Cleveland Clinic.

Students such as Lamercie Saint-Hilaire, successfully matched into Family Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, the number one ranked residency program in family medicine.  Many Meharry graduates enter the primary care fields because they are devoted to fulfilling Meharry's mission of caring for underserved and vulnerable populations.

"I am thrilled to match at UCSF family medicine because it is based at the San Francisco General Hospital, county hospital that serves the underserved, so its mission is closely aligned with Meharry's mission," said Saint-Hilaire. "The education I received at Meharry has prepared me to succeed, and I'm excited to start my residency in July."

More than 30,000 students submit applications to the NRMP to find a position at a U.S. teaching hospital where they will undertake a three- to seven-year period of specialized training. The NRMP uses a computerized mathematical algorithm, designed to produce a best result by aligning the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs in order to fill the thousands of training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals.

About Meharry Medical College
Meharry Medical College, founded in 1876, is the nation's largest private, independent historically black academic health center dedicated to educating minority and other health professionals. True to its heritage, it is a United Methodist Church affiliated institution. The College is particularly well known for its uniquely nurturing, highly effective educational programs; emerging preeminence in health disparities research; culturally sensitive, evidence-based health services and significant contribution to the diversity of the nation's health professions workforce. Diverse Issues in Higher Education's ranking of institutions annually lists Meharry as a leading national educator of African Americans with M.D. and D.D.S. degrees and Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences. Visit www.mmc.edu to learn more.

About the National Resident Matching Program
The National Resident Matching Program conducts Match Day annually to match the preference of applicants with their choice of medical residency programs that offer available training positions at U.S. teaching hospitals. A resident is a medical school graduate who is undertaking a three to seven-year period of specialized training in a medical specialty.

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Contact: Jason Weidman
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