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Precepting Expansion Initiative

Primary care clerkships are struggling to obtain and retain quality clinical training sites. To begin to address this threat to the sustainability of America’s medical education system, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine conducted a Summit in August 2016 to identify the most significant reasons for the shortage of community preceptors and shape the priorities, leadership, and investments needed to ensure the ongoing education of the primary care workforce. The Summit was supported, in part, by a grant from the American Board of Family Medicine Foundation.

The 52 Summit participants included health system leaders, organizational representatives, policy experts, clerkship directors, community preceptors, physicians who do not precept, students, etc. 

Summit participants were asked to propose solutions to achieve the following aims:

  • Decrease the percentage of primary care clerkship directors who report difficulty finding clinical preceptor sites.
  • Increase the percentage of students completing clerkships at high-functioning sites. 

Read the Summit Executive Summary (PDF)

Preceptor Expansion Action Plan

The outcome of the Summit was an Action Plan with the following tactics:

  • Tactic 1: Work with CMS to revise student documentation guidelines
  • Tactic 2: Integrate interprofessional/interdisciplinary education into ambulatory primary care settings 
  • Tactic 3: Develop standardized onboarding process for students and preceptors & Integrate students into the work of ambulatory primary care settings in useful and authentic ways
  • Tactic 4: Develop educational collaboratives across departments, specialties, professions, and institutions to improve administrative efficiencies
  • Tactic 5: Promote productivity incentive plans that include teaching & develop a culture of teaching in clinical settings 

Read the Primary Care Preceptor Expansion Action Plan (PDF)

Read the latest Update on Progress on the Action Plan Tactics (PDF)

Through a call for applications, five tactic team leaders were selected to direct the implementation of the Action Plan. Each tactic team leader recruited team members to help with execution of their plan. 

Tactic team leaders are part of a larger, interdisciplinary, interprofessional Oversight Committee that is charged with:

  • Ensuring that work is progressing 
  • Ensuring that plans align with the project goals and don’t duplicate or interfere with the work of others involved in the plan implementation
  • Developing solutions to any barriers


This initiative stemmed from Family Medicine for America’s Health’s Workforce Education and Development Core Team’s task to identify, develop, and disseminate resources for community preceptors. The work is being funded by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, the American Board of Family Medicine, and the Physician Assistant Education Association.


Copyright 2018 by Society of Teachers of Family Medicine