Since its founding, Des Moines University has prepared students to provide excellent, holistic health care. That’s great training for our osteopathic medical students to enter all medical specialties. It’s particularly effective preparation for well-rounded primary/family care physicians who take care of patients at all ages and stages of life, both in helping them keep healthy and treating illness and injury.
This week, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) underscored that fact when it released findings of its 35th national study on the percentage of graduates of osteopathic and allopathic medical schools who entered family medicine residency programs as first-year residents in the previous year. The report, published in the October 2016 edition of Family Medicine, singled out DMU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) “as having both the most graduates (68) of any of the U.S. medical schools and the largest percentage of graduates (32.7 percent) entering family medicine.”
This year’s report for the first time looked at the production of family physicians by medical schools in each state. Calling that production “a key measure of social responsibility” for medical schools, the report’s authors added, “Primary care has been demonstrated to improve health care outcomes and reduce health disparities while reducing per capita costs.” They also contended that U.S. medical schools aren’t producing enough primary care physicians to meet the nation’s needs.
DMU faculty are proud that COM is working to meet that need. “Recognition that we are the number-one medical school in the U.S. for students going into family medicine is wonderful,” says Bret Ripley, D.O., FACOFP, FPLI, interim dean of COM and chair/faculty medicine in the family medicine department. “It’s also consistent with our University’s mission of improving lives in our global community by educating diverse groups of highly competent and compassionate health professionals. Primary care is central to Des Moines University’s vision of excellence in patient care.”
Among those many COM-produced primary care providers is 2014 graduate Cynthia Hoque, D.O., a third-year family medicine resident at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines, one of six female physician leaders on the Iowa Medical Society (IMS) Board of Directors and the IMS resident director. She recently came to campus, at the invitation of DMU’s AMA/IMS chapter to talk with students about being a resident in family medicine. In deciding whether to pursue family medicine during her rotations, she said she did “every one with an open mind.”
“I loved all of them. You’re told if that’s the case, go into family medicine,” she added. “I like the variety, from seeing kids to older people, men and women, healthy as well as sick.”