The Role of North Carolina Medical Schools in Producing Primary Care Physicians for the State

Kendall M. Campbell, Jhojana L. Infante Linares, Dmitry Tumin, Keia Faison, Miranda N. Heath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Primary care physicians serve on the front lines of care and provide comprehensive care to patients who may have difficulty accessing subspecialists. However, not enough students are entering residency in primary care fields to meet the primary care physician shortage. The authors sought to compare primary care match rates among graduates of medical schools in the state of North Carolina from 2014 to 2018. Methods: The 4 allopathic medical schools in the state of North Carolina were selected for this study: East Carolina University (ECU) Brody School of Medicine, University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill, Duke School of Medicine, and Wake Forest School of Medicine. Primary care specialties were defined as family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and internal medicine/pediatrics. The proportion of students matching to a residency in any of these fields, and in each specific field, was compared across schools. Results: Over 2014-2018, 214 ECU Brody School of Medicine graduates, 386 UNC graduates, 165 Duke graduates, and 196 Wake Forest graduates matched to a primary care specialty. ECU had the highest proportion of its graduates match in a primary care specialty (53%, compared with 34% to 45% at other schools; P <.001), and was particularly distinguished by having the highest proportions of graduates match to residencies in family medicine (18%) and pediatrics (16%). Conclusion: During the study period of 2014-2018, the ECU Brody School of Medicine matched more medical students into primary care specialties than the other medical schools in the state. This school’s community-driven mission and rural location, among other characteristics facilitating sustained student commitment to primary care careers, can inform the development of new medical schools in the United States to overcome the primary care physician shortage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Primary Care and Community Health
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • access to care
  • community health
  • efficiency
  • patient-centeredness
  • primary care
  • program evaluation
  • rural health
  • underserved communities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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