AAFP award presentation
Pictured left to right are UNM physicians Stephanie Benson, MD, Rob Williams, MD, AAFP President Robert Wergin, MD, Dan Stulberg, MD, and Shahnaz Kazi, MD.

The University of New Mexico School of Medicine (SOM) recently earned a national Family Medicine Top Ten Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recognizing its efforts in fostering student interest in family medicine and producing graduates who enter the specialty.

According to AAFP, nearly 16 percent of UNM SOM graduates over the past three years have entered an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited family medicine residency program, making the SOM program one of the top-10 schools in the nation for producing family medicine physicians.

“The School of Medicine’s Department of Family & Community Medicine has a strong history of providing an exceptional education for aspiring medical providers to serve New Mexicans throughout the state,” says SOM Executive Vice Dean Dr. Martha McGrew. “It’s an honor and privilege to be a part of educating physicians for New Mexico. Our commitment to improving health not only in our state’s urban areas, but in our more rural and underserved areas, continues to yield results. I think this award speaks directly to our efforts.”

The AAFP award comes at a time when the U.S. is facing a shortage of primary care physicians. Schools that contribute to the family medicine pipeline provide a standard of education that typically includes:

  • A school mission that addresses producing community doctors to provide primary care.
  • Admissions policies that target students from rural and medically underserved areas.
  • Clinical rotations, including electives, that emphasize positive experiences in family medicine early in the curricular structure and that expose students to community physicians.
  • Faculty involvement in medical school committees and leadership.
  • Strong family medicine interest groups (FMIGs) and leadership opportunities for students.
  • Financial support that minimizes the impact of student debt.

The American Academy of Family Physicians, more than 115,000 members strong, strives to improve the health of patients, families and communities by serving the needs of members with professionalism and creativity. Founded in 1947, AAFP helps family physicians improve the health of Americans by advancing the specialty of family medicine through advocacy, practice enhancement and medical education.

The UNM School of Medicine is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, highlighting its innovations in medical education. The school’s programs in rural and family medicine are nationally recognized, and its groundbreaking BA/MD Program has provided a new pathway for students from throughout New Mexico to pursue a medical career.

For more information on the UNM School of Medicine, visit our website.