High graduate placement

Sean Madigan

The American Academy of Family Physicians awarded the University Medical School’s family practice department with its Gold Achievement Award.
The award — the academy’s highest accolade — is given to schools who claim a high percentage of graduates entering accredited family practice residency programs. This year, seven schools nationwide received the award.
“It’s a tribute to the department and the school,” said Dr. Greg Vercelloti, the associate dean of education at the University’s Medical School.
The University ranks fourth in percentage of family practice-bound graduates in the nation behind programs at Michigan State University, the University of Arkansas and the University of North Dakota.
More University medical students enter family practice upon graduation than any other residency program. In the last three years, 31.7 percent of all University Medical School graduates went on to family practice.
“The award is recognized nationally,” said Dr. William Jacott, head of the University’s Department of Family Practice and Community Health. “It puts Minnesota on the map as a leader in family practice physician training.”
But Jacott said the award is an even greater achievement for a large school.
“It’s easier for a smaller school because you’re talking two or three students to really move the percentage,” Jacott said. He explained that a school like North Dakota has approximately 15 of 50 students entering family practice compared to the University’s 65 of 220.
“It’s a specialty that people want, a physician that can take care of the whole family,” said Dr. Maurice Lindblom, associate director of graduate education for the family practice department. Lindblom said managed care is one of several factors generating an increased need for family physicians in the last 10 years.
While the largest portion of graduates chose family practice, many others chose more specialized fields like internal medicine, obstetrics or pediatrics.
Although Lindblom said family practice is not the highest-paying discipline in medicine, graduates are choosing it to fulfill a community need.
Most University students entering family practice this year chose to attend one of the University’s six family practice programs, including a rural program in Waseca. But some students chose to enter similar programs at dozens of schools around the country.