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Washington Highlights

Speakers Brief Congressional Staff on Importance of Primary Care Workforce

July 12, 2013—The AAMC and other health care organizations hosted a July 8 congressional briefing highlighting how a strong primary care workforce helps to address a diverse range of health care challenges.

Speakers at the briefing described how primary care providers promote care coordination, strengthen care for patients in community-based settings, and advance health care for veterans and special populations. Panelists also highlighted how team-based care is helping to meet patients’ needs and the importance of incentives, such as the National Health Service Corps, to promote primary care careers.

Among the presenters was Monica Mix, M.D., a resident physician in the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Primary Care Residency Program, a combined internal medicine and pediatrics training program. Residents in the program receive training in caring for vulnerable populations in an urban environment through novel curricular elements and exposure to multiple community-based resources like Baltimore’s federally qualified health centers.

Dr. Mix described the unique challenges her patients face and noted how the balance of inpatient and outpatient training she receives helps strengthen the care she provides. She also expressed concern that physician shortages – in both primary and specialty care — will impede timely access to care, particularly for vulnerable patients.

Other speakers also highlighted the perils of expected shortages, observing that the number of medical graduates soon will exceed the number of available residency training positions. Responding to a question from the audience, the panel also discussed legislation (H.R. 1201) introduced in March by Reps. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) to expand federal support for residency training.

In addition to Dr. Mix, panelists included: Nilesh Kalyanaraman, M.D., chief medical officer, Health Care for the Homeless, Baltimore, Md.; Michael Murphy, D.O., primary care physician, Bill Hefner VA Medical Center, Salisbury, N.C.; and Luis Padilla, M.D., medical director, Unity Health Center, Washington, D.C.

The briefing was organized by the Partnership for Primary Care Workforce, a coalition of professional, provider, and educational organizations that includes AAMC. More than 50 congressional staff and other attendees participated in the event.


Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525


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