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Welcome to the University of Colorado’s Department of Family Medicine.

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Career Advising in  Family Medicine

During medical school you will be exposed to the many  different paths that becoming a physician can take. University of Colorado  School of Medicine students who are considering a career in Family Medicine can  meet with an advisor from our department who will help with all aspects of  learning about and becoming a Family Physician. You can access our advisors at  any time, from matriculation through matching in a Family Medicine residency.  While our department has over 200 faculty members your first point of contact  for career advising can be with the faculty members who are listed below. We  welcome your inquiry at any point in medical school and are excited to assist  you in discovering doctoring Family Medicine style.

Our Advisors

Caroline LeClair, DO
Director, Medical Student Education
Director, Rural and Community Care clerkship

Julie Paranka, MD
Director, Integrated longitudinal Family Medicine curriculum
Director, 4th year electives

Deb Seymour, PsyD

Resources for  learning more about Family Medicine

There are many ways to explore primary care and specifically  Family Medicine at University of Colorado, School of Medicine. A good starting  place is the Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG).  FMIG is open to all students and hosts a variety of learning and social events  throughout the year. Some of the favorites are ‘night with needles’ which  involves practice with giving shots and drawing blood and our lectures from leaders  of the Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center.

Nothing helps career exploration more than spending time  with a Family Physician in action. If your preceptor for the Foundations of  Doctoring curriculum is not a Family Physician you can arrange to shadow in a  Family Medicine center or on a Family Medicine inpatient service by connecting  with one of our advisors. In addition to patient care, Family Physicians also  engage in leadership, policy, public and community health and research  activities. You could spend time learning about physician leadership with Dr. Colleen Conry who oversees all of the care  provided in our 5 outpatient primary care offices. Consider spending a day at  the state capitol with Dr. Jeff Cain or learning  about the implementation of the patient centered medical  home (PCMH) with Dr. Kyle Knierim. Are  you interested in learning more about where primary care and community based  research intersect? Dr. Larry Green is works  with a local and national network of Family Physicians for whom research is  central to their caring for society. Those interested in practicing medicine in  a rural area will want to meet with Dr. Mark Deutchman who runs the rural track for the school of medicine.

There are also numerous local and national organizations dedicated to Family Medicine. The American Academy of Family Physicians ( represents 115,900 family physicians and is an excellent resource for learning about Family Medicine. The Colorado Academy of Family Physicians is the state organization for Family Medicine. The host several events each year for medical students and they involve medical students in their activities and legislative activity whenever possible. The Society of Teachers Family Medicine (STFM) is the ‘go to’ organization for Family Medicine educators. Don’t be surprised if you attend a STFM meeting to see numerous presentations feature medical students and Family Medicine residents. Finally, if you don’t know what the “triple aim” is or you want to know what research is creating policy that will impact the future of how medicine is practiced in the United States try the Robert Graham Center website.

In addition to contacting one of our faculty advisors and learning about Family Medicine through state and national organizations, we have included a year-by-year guide with answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

 First Year

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 Second Year


 Third Year


 Fourth Year


4th Year

Fourth Year Planning for Students Interested in Family Medicine

  • Be enthusiastic during your Family Medicine rotations and foster good relationships that can result in letters of recommendation from your preceptors.
  • Select elective rotations that will keep your base of education broad. Don't concentrate too many electives in one area or specialty.
  • Select elective rotations in areas of medicine you've identified as your weak spots. Attempt to improve knowledge or skill deficits.
  • Select elective rotations which might not be available to you in your residency. These might include international rotations or those in highly specialized areas that may not be available in smaller community residencies (i.e., rheumatology, hospice, child development, psychiatry).
  • Use your Sub-I to explore one of your top programs. If you know that you're interested in a highly competitive residency program or just want to get an inside look at a specific residency, take a sub-internship in Family Medicine or elective at that program.
  • Watch out, a burned bridge in one Colorado program is likely to burn more bridges than you thought!
  • If you are interested in a Family Medicine residency within an academic medical center, consider taking a Family Medicine Research elective. There are exciting projects available which will enable you to work one-on-one with faculty and possibly a publication. 


Besides what students commonly see at their preceptor’s offices, family docs commonly “specialize” in:

  • Women’s Health
  • Medical Administration
  • Hospitalist Practice
  • Sports Medicine​
  • Correctional Medicine
  • Geriatrics
  • Adolescent Care
  • Addiction Medicine
  • Public Health
  • Academic Medicine


Investigate the need for additional physicians in the FM specialty. For at least the last 15 years, students have been told that in a few years family physicians will be replaced by Nurse Practitioners or Physician Assistants.

On the contrary!  During this time, the need has increased, not decreased, and family physicians have continued to work with other providers collaboratively to enhance care.  So be cautious about hearsay and rumors about job availability.  Do your best to get the facts.

Family physicians will always be in demand given the numbers produced each year and the changing needs of our population.