Tune in to Focus Carolina during morning, noon and evening drive times and on the weekends to hear stories from faculty members at UNC and find out what ignites their passion for their work. Focus Carolina is an exclusive program on 97.9 The Hill WCHL, sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Cristen Page is a nationally-recognized physician at the UNC School of Medicine who works to develop initiatives to provide access to medical care in rural and under-served North Carolina counties. She also develops innovative training programs for the next generation of family medicine physicians.

“Somewhere along the way through growing up and in medical school, it became clear to me that my commitment to service was a really important part of who I am and what motivates me and that long term relationships with patients really matter to me. Having roots in North Carolina and having gone through public education throughout here in North Carolina, all of that formed a deep commitment to giving back to our state.”

Dr. Page is heavily involved in the Fully Integrated Readiness for Service Training program, or FIRST. The program consists of two parts: a three-year accelerated and enhanced medical school curriculum to fast-track into a NC Family Medicine Residency, followed by three years of service within the state with ongoing support in practice.

“So by shortening medical school to three years, and it’s not just lopping off a year but it’s an enhanced three years, a very intense three years, they have the same expectations as the other students in four, but they’re able to do that in three years focused on long-term relationships with patients and the skills that they need to do rural and under-served practice.”