The American Medical Association (AMA) announced last week that it will award the UNC School of Medicine $1.8M to support a significant expansion of the Fully Integrated Readiness for Service (FIRST) Program to new geographic areas of North Carolina and to additional high needs specialties including Family Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry.
The FIRST Program was founded in 2015 by Cristy Page, MD, MPH, former chair of the Department of Family Medicine and now Executive Dean of the UNC SOM, to link the Family Medicine workforce pipeline from medical school to residency and to service in rural/underserved North Carolina. FIRST participants have the opportunity to complete their medical degree in three years followed by the opportunity for placement with a Family Medicine residency program of North Carolina, after which FIRST scholars will take part in three years of service in an underserved area of North Carolina. They receive ongoing support from UNC Family Medicine in partnership with the NC Office of Rural Health and Community Care, AHEC, Piedmont Health Services, and the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians.
The funding was part of the AMA’s Reimagining Residency Initiative, which is providing $14.4M to support eight innovation projects led by medical schools, residency programs, and health systems from across the country. Congratulations!