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Primary Care’s Image Problem

Fri, 11/13/2009 - 12:22pm

By Pauline W. Chen, M.D.
Published:

In my medical school class of 140, Kerry was one of the best and the brightest. Gregarious, unassuming and a dedicated fitness buff with a weakness for ice cream, she managed to sail through the weekly exams that most of us struggled with during the first two years. Later on, in the third year on the hospital wards, she quickly became what every one of us so wanted to be: the indispensable medical student.

In my medical school class of 140, Kerry was one of the best and the brightest. Gregarious, unassuming and a dedicated fitness buff with a weakness for ice cream, she managed to sail through the weekly exams that most of us struggled with during the first two years. Later on, in the third year on the hospital wards, she quickly became what every one of us so wanted to be: the indispensable medical student.

When it came time to choose specialties in our last year of medical school, most of us thought Kerry would do what every high achiever and even the not-so-high achievers were already doing: line herself up for a coveted spot in one of the prestigious subspecialties, a field like dermatology, orthopedics, plastic surgery or radiology.

But Kerry wanted to become a primary care physician.

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