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Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181dc4e1b
Letters to the Editor

Fostering the Next Generation of Primary Care Physician Leaders

Markuns, Jeffrey F. MD, EdM; Culpepper, Larry MD, MPH; Halpin, William J. Jr.

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Assistant professor, Department of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts; jeffrey.markuns@bmc.org. (Markuns)

Chair, Department of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, and chief, Department of Family Medicine, Boston Medical Center; both in Boston, Massachusetts. (Culpepper)

Chief executive officer, South Boston Community Health Center, South Boston, Massachusetts. (Halpin)

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In Reply:

We greatly appreciate the opinion of Mr. Van Ramshorst and wholeheartedly support student interest in primary care and primary care leadership, especially given the tremendous need for additional primary care providers. Although the focus of our call to action was leadership in primary health care for the underserved, we certainly agree with the need to foster additional student interest in both primary care and medical leadership in general. In support of these goals, our blueprint included a call to increase opportunities for trainees in underserved primary care settings, develop regional and national leadership training programs, and identify new funding mechanisms for medical education in community health centers. These steps would benefit all parties involved, including medical students interested in primary care and medical leadership in any setting.

While we agree that providing focused leadership training and mentorship for medical students is important, our experience suggests that many primary care physician leaders still enter their roles feeling unprepared, in some cases even after completing various prior training programs.1 This would seem in congruence with adult learning principles, suggesting that learners often may not be ready to truly incorporate lessons from leadership training until they are immersed in a leadership role. This is why we also continue to strongly advocate timely training and mentorship of those physicians entering into leadership roles in their postgraduate careers, and the development of more robust and integrated support systems in academics, government, and the private sector.

Jeffrey F. Markuns, MD, EdM

Assistant professor, Department of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts; jeffrey.markuns@bmc.org.

Larry Culpepper, MD, MPH

Chair, Department of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, and chief, Department of Family Medicine, Boston Medical Center; both in Boston, Massachusetts.

William J. Halpin, Jr.

Chief executive officer, South Boston Community Health Center, South Boston, Massachusetts.

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Reference

1Markuns JF, Fraser B, Orlander JD. The path to leadership among community health center medical directors: Implications for medical training. Fam Med. 2010;42(6) [page numbers not available at press time].

© 2010 Association of American Medical Colleges

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