The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine will mark this year’s National Primary Care Week, Oct. 28 through Nov. 4, with student-driven events focusing on the growing need for primary care physicians in Alabama and throughout the United States.
“Primary care is the foundation for all medical care, and as our health care system changes, there is more need and more opportunity for primary care physicians,” said William Curry, M.D., associate dean for Primary Care and Rural Health and senior vice president for Population Health in the UAB Health System.
Primary care specialties include family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, geriatrics, and a combination specialty in medicine and pediatrics. According to data from the Annals of Family Medicine, more than 52,000 additional primary care physicians will be needed nationwide by 2025 to meet projected demands brought on by population growth, population aging and insurance expansion from the Affordable Care Act.
The School of Medicine placed 10th in the U.S. News & World Report rankings for primary care, and primary care figures prominently in AMC21, the School of Medicine and UAB Medicine’s strategic plan. Educating and training primary care physicians to meet the state of Alabama’s needs is a critical part of the School of Medicine’s mission. Earlier this year, the School added the Dean’s Primary Care Scholars Program to several pipeline programs aimed at increasing the number of primary care physicians.
Kaci Larsen, student chair of Primary Care Week at UAB, says the lunchtime lectures will promote primary care as a whole, giving first- and second-year students more information about primary care career opportunities and scholarship programs available.
Each event begins at noon in Volker Hall:
Monday, Oct. 28 — “Primary Care Week Kickoff Panel.” Physician representatives from each of the primary care interest groups will engage in discussion. School of Medicine Dean Selwyn Vickers, M.D., will help kick off Primary Care Week at this event.
Wednesday, Oct. 30 — “Primary Care and the Affordable Care Act” with speaker Margaret Cook, MBA, CMPE.
Thursday, Oct. 31 — “Financing Options in Primary Care” with Carolyn Bern, MPA, National Health Service Corps and Primary Care Programs manager, and Kelly Parker, executive director, Board of Medical Scholarship Awards.
Friday, Nov. 1 — “Health Disparities and Service Opportunities in Primary Care” with speaker TBA.
Monday, Nov. 4 — “Doctors Ought to Care (DOC), 1977-2002: How a group of family physicians and medical students sparked the modern anti-smoking movement” with Alan Blum, M.D., professor and endowed chair in family medicine and director of the University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society.