The future doctor, past & present

A recent article in the Star Tribune highlighted a new program aimed at diversifying medical schools in Minnesota by encouraging minority, immigrant, and rural undergraduate students to become doctors. The program, “Minnesota’s Future Doctors,” hopes these students will apply to medical school, specialize in primary care, and ultimately stay in Minnesota once they begin their practice.

img0028.jpgAt the same time, I stumbled across an article from 1968 that discussed the “New Type of Doctor” that would be needed by the year 2000. The article begins by emphasizing that it is not the physician “assigned to care for passengers and crew of an interplanetary space ship” but instead it will be a “new type of medical specialist – the family practice physician.”

The 1968 program for new doctors established the Division of Family Practice and Community Health at the University of Minnesota, one of the oldest and largest in the nation. It began as a response to the national shortage of primary care physicians during the 1960s.

Forty years later, the need still exists, as is evident from the Star Tribune article, but the emphasis is now on filling the need for specific communities with what the program creators refer to as doctors with “cultural competencies.”

To read the full article from the 1968 September/October issue of mediCALL (a former publication of the University of Minnesota Health Sciences Center) click the image below.