Recruiting, Educating and Supporting Primary Care Physicians for Rural Virginia

Generalist Physician Initiative

From 1992 to 2001, the three Virginia medical schools—Eastern Virginia Medical School, the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine—developed a range of initiatives aimed at increasing to 50 percent the numbers of medical school graduates entering generalist practice in the state.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) The Generalist Physician Initiative national program.

Key Results

  • By the end of the grant period, the number of medical school students likely to become generalists increased 54 percent, from an estimated 28 percent from 1991–1993 to 43 percent in the years 1996–1999.

  • From 1996–2000, 77 percent of the graduates from the Virginia generalist residencies in internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics and combined programs of medicine/pediatrics and family practice/internal medicine, chose generalist practice. This represents a 184 percent increase from the 27.1 percent average from 1988 to 1992.

  • From 1996 through 2000, 42 percent chose to practice in Virginia as generalists, a figure the project director says "clearly exceeded the mandate."