The members of the inaugural class of the FIRST (Fully Integrated Readiness for Service Training) Program will be graduating this June. Thane Campbell, MD, and Kyle Melvin, MD will be the first to complete the program, which offers an accelerated 3-year medical school curriculum and conditional acceptance in an affiliated residency program, followed by three years of service in North Carolina with ongoing support in practice.
The FIRST program was developed in 2015 by Cristy Page, MD, MPH, former chair of the Department of Family Medicine and now Executive Dean of the UNC School of Medicine, to link the family medicine workforce pipeline from medical school to residency followed by service in rural/underserved parts of North Carolina. FIRST is directed by Family Medicine’s Catherine Coe, MD, and was awarded $1.8 million in funding over five years by the American Medical Association in 2019. The program welcomed its sixth class of scholars this year, a group of eight talented students across four different disciplines.
Upon graduation, Melvin will be heading to UNC Primary Care at Chatham starting in August, with part of his time spent at Chatham Hospital working on the inpatient service and the
maternity care center as a newborn provider. He hopes to offer some procedures in clinic and eventually take medical students into the clinic setting as he continues working on the Family Medicine Summer Academy (soon-to-be Rural Medicine Summer Academy) with the School of Medicine.
“Coming from a rural area in North Carolina, I knew that I would want to serve a population that felt like my home. FIRST gave me the opportunity to not only fast-track but enhance my training to be the most full scope provider possible,” said Melvin.
Campbell will head to Midway Medical Center in Clyde, NC, after his residency. Of his experience with the FIRST Program, he said: “The greatest benefit of FIRST was the continuity with patients and with coworkers – residents, attendings, MA’s, and other staff – from the beginning of school through residency.”
The UNC Department of Family Medicine congratulates both graduates and our faculty behind the FIRST Program on this milestone achievement!