Setting the Target: Comparing Family Medicine Among US Allopathic Target Schools

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Family medicine




BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Despite the persistent primary care physician shortage over 2 decades of allopathic medical school expansion, some medical schools are absent a department of family medicine; these schools are designated as "target" schools. These absences are important because evidence has demonstrated the association between structured exposure to family medicine during medical school and the proportion of students who ultimately select a career in family medicine. In this study, we aimed to address part of this gap by defining and characterizing the current landscape of US allopathic target schools. METHODS: We identified allopathic target schools by reviewing all Liaison Committee of Medical Education (LCME) accredited institutions for the presence of a family medicine department. To compare these schools in terms of family medicine representation and outcomes, we curated descriptive data from publicly available websites, previously published family medicine match results, and school rankings for primary care. RESULTS: We identified 12 target schools (8.7% of all US allopathic accredited medical schools) with considerable heterogeneity in opportunities for family medicine engagement, leadership, and training. Target schools with greater family medicine representation had increased outcomes for family medicine workforce and primary care opportunities. CONCLUSION: With growing primary care workforce gaps, target schools have a responsibility to enhance family medicine presence and representation at their institutions. We provide recommendations at the institutional, specialty, and national level to increase family medicine representation at target schools, with the goal that all schools eventually establish a department of family medicine.


Emergency Medicine