Tech's Family Accelerated Medicine Track encourages primary care

Tech's Family Accelerated Medicine Track encourages primary care doctors

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As white coat ceremony's are happening around the country, "we realized we would continue to have great needs in primary care and that's a nation trend as well as a West Texas trend," FMAT Co-Director Betsy Jones said. 

In 2010, Texas Tech started its Family Accelerated Medicine Track or FMAT, to address the need.

"If you look at cities of 25,000 or less it's only the family medicine physicians that are in those cities and so we designed a curriculum that would really attract medical students," TTUHSC Dean of the School of Medicine Steven Berk, MD said. 

While they filled the void in family medicine.

"There has been a lack of family practice physicians like nationwide, but specifically in West Texas which is where I'm from it seems to be a pretty dominate issue and I've always been geared to that life style, that's why I joined the program," FMAT student, Kristie Benejan said. 

Benejan is one of five FMAT students in the class of 2021.

"It's three years and you transition into family medicine residency, so they really are physicians functioning, still in training, but still learning to be family doctors," Jones said. 

"The fact that I have guaranteed residency it's definitely a stress re leaver , so I just need to go through the next few years doing well in my school and I'll be good to go," Benejan said.

Through this program, Tech has increased its number of students entering family medicine.

"We also encouraged other programs at other medical schools to do the same, so we have definitely done our share in moving the needle to get more primary care physicians," Berk said. 

"It's important to encourage these students to understand they are needed as primary care physicians," Berk said. 

"I want to go back to my community, I know they've said there is a lack of family practice physicians there, so I'm really looking forward to going back to the doctors that I've been seeing since I was a kid or working with and just be like yeah I'm here to do my part and help you guys out," Benejan said.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the United States will need 39,000 more family physicians in the next two years.

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