Training in Primary Care

Generally, one third of our students enter a residency under the umbrella of primary care.

The UPSOM curriculum includes in-depth experiences in primary care within both required and elective portions of the curriculum. In addition to the general goal of preparing all students to have a well-developed foundation in primary care, an additional agenda is to promote development of the next generation of leaders in primary care.

Primary care experiences are distributed throughout the curriculum, beginning with the Clinical Experiences course that spans the first and second years. Classroom sessions introduce key topics before students proceed through a sequence of clinical experience months, including one month each in primary care, subspecialty care, and in working with underserved populations. Third and fourth year clinical clerkships in internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics-gynecology provide a solid foundation in primary care. These ambulatory and inpatient rotations stimulate student interest in these disciplines, and they comprise nearly half of the core clerkship curriculum. Multiple hospitals and a range of ambulatory sites are available for primary care rotations, including those in rural locations and underserved communities.

Students have additional opportunities to participate in elective experiences in all aspects of primary care, including rotations in a range of rural and underserved settings. Many students opt for rotations with the Indian Health Service or in other service learning environments away from Pittsburgh. Among these electives, one of the most unique is the Operation Safety Net elective, where students bring primary care to the homeless population of Pittsburgh.

Many students opt to make primary care their major focus. The Areas of Concentration in Service Learning – Global Health & Underserved Populations, Geriatrics, and Women's Health – are longitudinal programs where students pursue these subjects in far greater depth. As part of these programs, students have didactic and clinical experiences and undertake a substantial scholarly project on a subject within the Concentration area. These projects, and the overall AOC curricula, help these students hone their critical thinking skills and further enhance their preparation to become the next generation of leaders in primary care.