Increasing the Number of Primary Care Physicians in Underserved Areas of Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine (Penn State) in Hershey, Pa., redesigned its programs to increase the number of generalist graduates and the number of residents entering primary care practice.

This project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Generalist Physician Initiative, a national program that challenged schools of medicine to increase the supply of general internists, general pediatricians and family practitioners that they were training.

Key Results

  • Under the Generalist Physician Initiative, Penn State accomplished the following:

    • Established the Center for Primary Care.
    • Established a statewide promotional campaign—the Penn State Primary Care Partnership.
    • Implemented a tracking system to provide information on the career decisions of students, graduates and residents.
    • Developed a Primary Care Pre-Admission Program to identify and recruit promising high school and undergraduate students.
    • Developed a Primary Care Early Acceptance and Admissions Program to selectively admit students who seek to pursue primary care careers.
    • Restructured the medical school curricula to emphasize more interdisciplinary, coordinated primary care courses.
    • Emphasized and refocused the importance of primary care in the residency program.
    • Established 12 community practice sites and trained some 350 preceptors to work with medical students and residents.