The University of Maryland School of Medicine will use a five-year $877,000 grant on a program to increase the number of students who enter primary care fields.
The school said Monday it will create a primary care track that will allow students to work one-on-one with faculty from family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine and other primary care specialties.
The new program is being developed as health care reform is expected to put further pressure on primary care doctors. There is already a shortage of these doctors as interest in primary care by medical school students has decreased in recent years.
About 40 percent of graduates from the University of Maryland School of Medicine chose a primary care residency in 2011, but many of those will not end up staying in primary care. Some students will switch to specialty fields where they make more money or because they have an interest in other lines of medicine, such as orthopedics.
As part of the new program, students will work in rural parts of the state or urban areas like Baltimore.
The primary care track builds on another initiative by UM, which allowed students to work beside primary care physicians during their first two years of medical school.
UM is using a grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration to fund the primary care program.