P4 (Preparing the Personal Physician for Practice) was an initiative designed to inspire and examine innovation in family medicine residency training and represented the first serious reconsideration of the structure, length and content of family medicine residencies since primary care residencies were defined in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Sponsored by the American Board of Family Medicine, the Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors, and TransforMED, P4 used a rigorous scientific approach to study and measure innovations in search of the most effective ways to educate the country’s future family physicians. The aim of P4 was to spur innovation in all family medicine residencies so they can better prepare family physicians to be the excellent personal physicians every American deserves.

In February 2007, fourteen residency programs from across the country were selected to participate in the 6-year comparative case study. They proposed using a variety of innovative approaches ranging from moving the continuity clinic into the community, to expanding to a four-year program, to providing opportunities for individualized training, and more. The programs tested their best ideas about what is needed to change the content, structure, and length of family medicine residency education. Core measures pertaining to the residency programs, their continuity clinics, their residents and graduates were collected annually to help inform what works, what doesn’t, and why, in residency redesign.

P4 expected to use the results of these practical experiments to inform the primary care disciplines of what is needed and possible, and particularly identify needed adjustments to accreditation requirements. To date, more than 31 papers have been published and at least 7 more papers using core data are in progress.

Between 2007 and 2012, there were 21 presentations delivered by the P4 Evaluation Team or Executive Committee and 129 presentations delivered by the individual programs at national meetings such as the Annual Meeting of the Society of Teacher’s of Family Medicine (STFM), Annual meeting of Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors(AFMRD), Conference on Practice Improvement, Annual Meeting of the North American Primary Care Research Group, and Annual Meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges.