Training for Generalist Physicians - in a Box

Project to promote peer education regarding primary care among medical students

From 1995 to 1998, the Generalist Physicians-in-Training initiative of the American Medical Student Association developed a program, called Projects-in-a-Box, designed to educate students and promote interest in generalist medicine, trends in medical care, and problems faced by generalist physicians.

The project addressed a growing concern within the Association that U.S. medical schools were producing too few generalists. Interns from the Association developed the Project-in-a-Box (or modules) under the guidance of project staff and the Generalist Physicians-in-Training National Coordinating Committee, which is comprised of Association students and medical residents who serve as graduate coordinators. Three of the modules had been developed by the grantee organization as a pilot between 1994 and 1995.

The American Medical Student Association is a nationwide organization — including nearly 30,000 medical and pre-medical students, interns and residents — that advocates improvements in health, health care and medical education; the welfare of medical students; and advancements in the field of medicine.

Key Results

  • Each Project-in-a-Box contained a student organizing guide; a list of articles, organizations, and contacts on the module topic; relevant statistical information; a student handout; a relevant article; and an evaluation form.

    During the grant period, the project team developed and disseminated 18 Projects-in-a-Box (six each year). During the first year, they included:
    • "The Primary Care Team"
    • "An Ounce of Prevention"
    • "Legislative Skills for Future Generalists"
    • "Women's Health"
    • "Health Care for the Homeless"
    • "Primary Care in the Urban ER"

    During the second year, they included:
    • "Managed Care 101"
    • "Academic Medicine and Managed Care: An Uncertain Future"
    • "Child Abuse and Neglect"
    • "The Senior Boom is Coming: Are Primary Care Physicians Ready?"
    • "Child and Adult Immunizations: A Model for Preventive Health"
    • "Guns and Violence"

    During the third year, they included:
    • "Leadership Skills and Training"
    • "The Future of International Health: Exporting Primary Care"
    • "Health Care Delivery: Rural vs. Urban Communities"
    • "Cultural Competency in Medicine"
    • "Complementary and Alternative Medicine"
    • "Tobacco, Public Health, and Primary Care"

The project team disseminated the Projects-in-a-Box to more than 200 student and professional organizations — including 140 Association chapters, as well as medical faculty, and departments — and are available by searching for the titles on Association's Web site.

Association chapters used the Projects-in-a-Box in their extracurricular programs, during a lunchtime seminar series and as part of National Primary Care Day and National Primary Care Week.

The Association also used grant funds from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to assist Association chapters with implementation of local projects based on Projects-in-a-Box. Six $1,000 grants were awarded to Association chapters at the following institutions:

  • Brown University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Nova Southeastern University
  • State University of New York, Buffalo
  • State University of New York, Stony Brook
  • Yale University


RWJF supported this project through a grant of $49,998.