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CONTACT: C. LINDON LARSON
283 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-9569; fax (319) 335-8034
e-mail: lin-larson@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

UI report notes continued success of family practice residency programs

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A network of medical residency sites established to train family physicians remains a good value for Iowa, according to a report from the University of Iowa College of Medicine.

The Statewide Family Practice Training Program prepares new physicians for careers in family practice, a medical specialty essential to the health of many Iowans. Since 1973, about three of every five doctors trained in the program have established practices in Iowa. About 43 percent of these doctors are still in towns with populations less than 10,000.

"The UI College of Medicine and its partners in the program set out to serve as the state's primary source of family physicians. We're pleased to report that we continue to meet that goal," says Roger Tracy, director of the college's Office of Statewide Clinical Education Programs. Tracy presents his annual report on the program to the State Board of Regents at its meeting today in Iowa City. The UI College of Medicine coordinates the program.

Only about 6 percent of the program's $32 million 1996-97 costs were paid by state appropriations. Additional funds come from community hospitals that sponsor residency programs and from patient fees.

During the past decade, patient visits to family practice centers at residency sites have increased to approximately 234,000 in 1996-97, making the program itself an important source of health care services. "The centers are the source of comprehensive primary care for many Iowa families," Tracy says.

Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Iowa City, Mason City and Waterloo are home to family medicine residency programs, most of them formally affiliated with the UI. The programs center around model medical offices, but local hospitals and private physician offices also serve as teaching facilities. Local faculty and visiting professors from the UI provide instruction.

Enrollment is competitive, with nearly 10 applications for each first-year residency position. Graduates of the UI and 42 other medical schools make up the 194 physicians enrolled in the nine family practice residency programs across the network. Sixty-six are expected to complete their programs this year.

Family practice is an increasingly popular specialty for graduating medical students, particularly those from the UI. In the past five years, about 32 percent of UI medical graduates entered the specialty -- more than twice the national average.

2/18/98