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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee-Memphis continues to do what it does best — meet the health care needs of Tennesseans — based on a recent survey by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

 UT President Joe Johnson plans to take that message to the university’s board of trustees when it meets here Feb. 23.

Among medical colleges in the Southeast, UT-Memphis ranked third in the graduation of physicians who practice primary care medicine, Johnson said.

“The survey shows we are meeting the expectations Tennesseans have for UT-Memphis,” Johnson said.

The AAMC survey tracked medical college students who graduated during the years 1989-91 to see how many were currently practicing in the primary care fields of family practice, general internal medicine or general pediatrics.

 Changes in the way health care services are delivered nationwide has put a premium on the role of the primary care provider, Johnson said.

“Many colleges are revising curricula and adjusting goals to get where we are now at UT-Memphis,” the UT president said.

Of the 450 UT medical college graduates during 1989-91, 141 or 31.0 percent have gone into primary care practices, according to the survey.

 Only the Medical College of Virginia (with 157 graduates or 33.0 percent in primary care) and the University of Georgia (with 153 or 30.0 percent in primary care) ranked in the survey ahead of UT-Memphis.

 Among Tennessee medical colleges, UT-Memphis led Meharry, Vanderbilt and East Tennessee State University in the graduation of physicians who entered primary care.

The same survey also asked 1995 medical college graduates where they planned to establish practice. Three of every four UT-Memphis graduates expected to practice in Tennessee, Johnson said.

 The UT president said the survey showed that UT-Memphis’ commitment to primary care is not a new development because some of those polled have been out of school five or more years.

 UT-Memphis has had a long-standing commitment, supported by the governor and members of the Tennessee General Assembly, to the education of primary care physicians, Johnson said. This cooperative effort is producing impressive results, Johnson said.

 Johnson also plans to call to the trustees’ attention a Tennessee Higher Education Commission report on the 1995 licensure exam performance of UT-Memphis graduates.

Performance on the exams was uniformly high across all the colleges at UT-Memphis, Johnson said. Pass rates ranged from 86.0 percent to 100 percent, with typical rates of 95.0 percent or higher.

Students taking the pharmacy exam were most successful, with 100 percent passing the test.