In 1994, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine established a Primary Care Track (PCT) with an integrated curriculum as part of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Generalist Physician Initiative. This study compared the performance of the first cohort of students to participate in the PCT third year with that of their classmates and determined student attitudes toward their experiences. The performances of 24 PCT and 81 traditional students on the Medical School Admissions Test (MCAT) and the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) Step 1 and 2 were compared using analysis of variance. Grades on the six core clerkships were compared using chi-square analysis. Performances of the PCT students and a subset of traditional students on the generalist school's objective clinical exam (OSCE) were compared using multivariate analysis. The students reported their perceptions on a questionnaire. The traditional students had significantly higher scores on the physical science section of the MCAT and on the USMLE Step I, but at the end of year three, their USMLE Step 2 scores did not differ. Grade distributions in the core clerkships did not differ, except in psychiatry, where the PCT students received honors significantly more often. The PCT students had a lower mean score on the internal medicine National Board of Medicine Examiners shelf exam but performed better on the generalist OSCE exam. A majority of PCT students reported that recommend it to others.
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