University of California

California and the nation face an urgent shortage of primary care physicians; yet the popularity of that career path among medical students has been decreasing for decades. Furthermore, according to a Kaiser Permanente study, many newly minted primary care physicians are unprepared for 21st century medical practice. The UC Davis Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care (ACE-PC) program is designed to rekindle interest in primary care by immersing students within a rewarding medical practice and preparing them to enter the workforce earlier and with less debt.

In partnership with Kaiser Permanente Northern California and the American Medical Association, the UC Davis School of Medicine (UC Davis) designed the ACE-PC program as a six-year pathway to medical practice. ACE-PC students enter practice one year earlier than traditional medical students – helping to address critical regional workforce needs. In ACE-PC, students complete medical school in three years (rather than the traditional four-year program) and receive conditional acceptance to a residency program in primary care internal medicine or family medicine at UC Davis or Kaiser Permanente.

Beginning in their very first week of medical school, ACE-PC students start working at a Kaiser Permanente clinic and continue working there for three years. Students learn how to manage a cohort of patients under the mentorship of a dedicated primary care physician. Kaiser’s integrated health-care system and patient-centered medical home promote seamless integration of medical education and clinical practice. Students learn to care for patients with teams of other health care providers, including nurses, medical assistants, pharmacists and physical therapists. Clinic learning further emphasizes chronic illness care, population management, quality improvement, patient safety and preventative medicine.

The ACE-PC program has already enrolled two cohorts of six medical students; by June of 2016, a total of 18 students will be enrolled when the accelerated program is in full operation. Of the current students, 50 percent are first generation college graduates and 75 percent are from communities underrepresented in medicine. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to practice primary care and work in medically underserved communities.

UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its research and primary-care training programs. With approximately 400 students, the school also offers fully accredited master's degree programs in public health and in informatics, as well as business administration. Its combined M.D./Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists. In addition to being a recognized leader in medical research, UC Davis is committed to serving underserved communities and advancing rural health. More than 40 percent of incoming medical students are under-represented in medicine, and more than 50 percent of the school’s student body comes from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. For more information, visit UC Davis School of Medicine.



  1. Charles Casey, Senior Public Information Officer, UC Davis Health System Public Affairs Office
    (916) 734-9048,


  1. Patricia M. Gonzalez, Program Administrator, ACE-PC, UC Davis School of Medicine
    (916) 734-0276,



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