Top 10 U.S. Medical Schools for Primary Care

March 24, 2011

Which universities are ranked as being among the best in America for primary care? A handful consistently appear at the top of the annual rankings, but this year two new schools cracked the Top 10.

The number of U.S. med students choosing internal medicine residencies in 2011 looks to be a positive sign toward easing the primary care workforce shortage, according to the American College of Physicians. Family medicine residency programs attracted 1,317 U.S. students, up 11% from 2010.

What’s driving med student’s renewed interest in primary care? Healthcare reform. Measures that boost pay for primary care physicians who treat Medicaid patients, incentives to work in rural and underserved areas, and loan-forgiveness programs are encouraging students to pursue primary care, according to a recent report by CNN.

"Health reform is largely responsible for this upswing," said Dr. Roland Goertz, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told CNN. "Health reform doesn't address all of our concerns but it has gotten students to think that primary care may not be so bad for their careers."

Which schools are ranked as being among the best in America for primary care? A handful of schools, including the University of Washington School of Medicine, the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine -- consistently appear at the top of U.S. News & World Report annual rankings of medical schools for primary care. This year’s ranking saw a couple of school vault into the Top 10, including the University of Nebraska Medical Center (ranked No. 14 in 2010) and North Carolina’s East Carolina University (Brody) (ranked No. 27). Here are the Top 10 medical schools for primary care, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, including what students face financially to attend.

1. University of Washington, Seattle.

Tuition: $29,049 (in state); $52,029 (out of state)

Fees: $475

Room and Board: $15,843

Average Indebtedness of 2009 Graduates: $121,193

Total Enrollment: 926

2. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Tuition: $12,557 (in state); $36,955 (out of state)

Fees: $1,843

Room and Board: $27,760

Average Indebtedness of 2009 Graduates: $86,156

Total Enrollment: 753

3. Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Ore.

Tuition: $32,996 (in state); $46,677 (out of state)

Fees: $7,688

Room and Board: $18,500

Average Indebtedness of 2009 Graduates: $172,000

Total Enrollment: 504

4. (Tie) University of California, San Francisco.

Tuition: $0 (in state); $12,245 (out of state)

Fees: $30,474

Room and Board: $19,636

Average Indebtedness of 2009 Graduates: $105,314

Total Enrollment: 618

4. (Tie) University of Colorado, Denver.

Tuition: $28,207 (in state); $53,778 (out of state)

Fees: $1,666

Room and Board: $16,200

Average Indebtedness of 2009 Graduates: $147,883

Total Enrollment: 621

6. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Tuition: $32,049 (in state); $38,436 (out of state)

Fees: $6,164

Room and Board: $12,306

Average Indebtedness of 2009 Graduates: $166,667

Total Enrollment: 998

7. University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.

Tuition: $25,694 (in state); $60,250 (out of state)

Fees: $2,451

Room and Board: $15,300

Average Indebtedness of 2009 Graduates: $129,696

Total Enrollment: 492

8. University of Massachusetts, Worcester, Mass.

Tuition: $8,352 (in state only)

Fees: $7,386

Room and Board: $13,112

Average Indebtedness of 2009 Graduates: $106,847

Total Enrollment: 487

9. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Tuition: $43,960

Fees: $3,212

Room and Board: $18,796

Average Indebtedness of 2009 Graduates: $119,800

Total Enrollment: 608

10. East Carolina University (Brody), Greenville, N.C.

Tuition: $9,497 (in state); $35,432 (out of state)

Fees: $2,057

Room and Board: $11,498

Average Indebtedness of 2009 Graduates: $92,416

Total Enrollment: 309

To see the complete ranking of the best U.S. primary care medical schools in the U.S., visit U.S. News & World Report.