This article is the report of the Working Group on Sustaining the Development of Academic Primary Care, one of the six subgroups of the Advisory Panel on the Mission and Organization of Medical Schools (APMOMS) sponsored by the Association of American Colleges (AAMC). To begin, the group draws a distinction between primary care and generalism. Primary care is core domain of health care and, in the context of emerging integrated systems, will increasingly be a multidisciplinary shared function. Non-subspecialized physicians, or 'generalists,' are a key element in the provision of primary care, but do not act alone. Core competencies for primary care are central to the education of all physicians. Therefore, irrespective of workforce goals for generalist physicians, primary care should have a strong, central position in the medical school so that graduates can receive a sound general medical education and can be prepared for any specialty and for lifelong learning in an evolving health care system. For primary care to achieve that position that position, medical schools must integrate primary care into their missions, strategic plans, operation, organization, academic administrative structures, curriculum development, faculty development (both school- and community-base), resource development, alliances with appropriate clinical services networks, financial policy, and evaluation and educational monitoring systems. The group briefly describes the elements of those changes and also proposes ways that the AAMC and medical school leaders could promote the central role of primary care in medical schools.
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