Preventive Medicine

Preventive Medicine is practiced by all physicians to keep their patients healthy. It is also a unique medical specialty recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Preventive Medicine focuses on the health of individuals, communities, and defined populations. Its goal is to protect, promote, and maintain health and well-being and to prevent disease, disability, and death. Preventive medicine specialists are licensed medical doctors (MD) or doctors of osteopathy (DO), who possess core competencies in biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental and occupational medicine, planning and evaluation of health services, management of health care organizations, research into causes of disease and injury in population groups, and the practice of prevention in clinical medicine. They apply knowledge and skills gained from the medical, social, economic, and behavioral sciences.  Preventive medicine has three specialty areas with common core knowledge, skills, and competencies that emphasize different populations, environments, or practice settings: aerospace medicine, occupational medicine, and public health and general preventive medicine. – American College of Preventive Medicine.

See the Specialties page if you have not yet registered for AAMC CiM


The median salary for an Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine is $140,000; the median salary for an Associate or Full Professor is $209,000.

The average hours worked per week are 45.1, and 645 of physicians practice in an urban setting either in offices, hospitals or administration.

As of 2012, there are 2,381 Preventive Medicine physicians, or 0.77 physicians per 100,000 population. That being said, there is a high demand for such physicians, as demonstrated by a research brief by the Center for Studying Health System Change, saying “..local health departments are facing a workforce crisis in that they are unable to recruit, train, and retain Public Health workers to meet communities’ needs.”

Jacob VanHouten (


Faculty Advisor:
William Schaffner, MD (

VUMC Residency Director:

Not Applicable

However, the directors of the residency Meharry Medical College have been a great resource for questions. Their website is

VUMC Faculty to Contact:
VMS students have recommended these faculty members as great contacts for career info, shadowing experiences, and research opportunities

William Schaffner, MD, Immediate Past Chair of Department of Preventive Medicine

Melinda Buntin, PhD; Current Chair of Department of Health Policy

American College of Preventive Medicine