by Star Ye, MD

2019 Primary Care Scholars - Drs. Anne Wagstaff, Salmaan Kamal, Hilary Ragsdale and Kelly McMaster2019 Primary Care Scholars - Drs. Anne Wagstaff, Salmaan Kamal, Hilary Ragsdale and Kelly McMasterIn recent years, there has been increasing recognition of the need for more primary care physicians. An estimated 44 million Americans live in areas with a shortage of primary care physicians, which is defined as less than one primary care physician per 2,000 people1. To foster the growth of primary care physicians in the Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Program, the Primary Care Scholars Program was created in 2017.

Primary Care Scholars Program provides opportunities for interested residents to explore career possibilities within primary care. The program allows for residents in their PGY2 year to replace 1 ward month with an immersive outpatient month, during which residents rotate in various clinics within UAB, Alabama, or even outside of Alabama. Emphasis is placed on career development with the goal of developing future leaders in primary care; the program facilitates meetings between residents and job recruiters and encourages residents to pursue scholarly work in patient education, healthcare delivery, and quality improvement. Residents are able to apply to the program in the spring semester of their PGY1 year.

Steven Allon, MD is a PGY2 Primary Care Scholar who can attest to the positive impact of the immersive outpatient month on his career path. He intends to pursue academic general internal medicine. He had the unique opportunity to rotate at a clinic in Austin, Texas, that solely focused on recently discharged patients after complex hospitalizations. He describes the value in learning about a healthcare system that differs from UAB’s, in addition to the advantage of experiencing life in Austin as he considers where he intends to practice medicine someday. He also elected to rotate with UAB’s Student Health and Sports Medicine clinics. In these clinics, Allon observed an entirely different workflow and patient population as the patients were predominately student athletes and clinic visits often occurred at the gymnasium. Recognizing all of the different ways that outpatient clinics can be structured, Allon remarks, “I like the outpatient setting even more than I had initially realized.” With these experiences, he has gained clarity on his career goals as he imagines how he would allocate his time and define his role as an academic general internist.

We are delighted to recognize all our Primary Care Scholars!

2021 class: Sal Kamal, Kelly McMaster, Hilary Ragsdale, Anne Wagstaff
2020 class: Steven Allon, Allison Wood
2019 class: Jordan Crocker, Lauren Pacheco, Gus Weiland

For further questions regarding the Primary Care Scholars Program, contact Erin Snyder, MD.

1UnitedHealth Group analysis of Area Health Resource File (AHRF) 2016-2017 Release, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce – National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, 2018.