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    « When the Doctor is Distressed | Main | Do You Have the "Right Stuff" to Be a Doctor? »


    Hello! I am a second-year medical student and very strongly considering a Primary Care career. I absolutely agree that there is an image problem to be addressed, but I think that you might underestimate the reimbursement issue.

    Dermatology has a terrible image problem among medical students. It is thought of as boring, not on the forefront of anything and populated by the vain. We recently had our dermatology block and some of our faculty had a conversation about that image with a group of us, and there really are a lot of parallels to how people see primary care. That said, there is huge competition for derm residency spots. It is really unfortunate, but I think the difference is a many many years' history of reimbursement difference.

    While it might be image more than reimbursement that medical students respond to, the two do seem to be connected. I think until there is some significant equalization, the prestige will fall short.

    Brian Blank

    Hi, Dr. Chen -

    I know I'm a couple months late to the party, but I wanted to thank you for this article on primary care's image problem. I'm a post-baccalaureate pre-med student at Harvard right now with a big desire to go into internal medicine. In my past life I was a cable news reporter/producer, and as I get ready for medical school I'm writing a book on primary care and the sad lack of interest from so many current medical students. It's kind of depressing! So I'm compiling stories of "primary care champions", doctors who still love what they do. Maybe, in some small way, I can help change primary care's image problem.

    Anyway, just wanted to introduce myself. If there's ever anything I can do for, please don't hesitate to ask.

    -Brian Blank


    Thanks, Brian. And good luck on the book and your post-bac studies!

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