Training for Generalist Physicians - in a Box

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 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 website.

  • 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 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