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This essay begins with the history from 1989 through late 1991 of the Primary Care Organization's Consortium (PCOC), a group of representatives from nine major academic and professional organizations for primary care specialties. The PCOC was formed to discuss what might be done to reverse the alarming decrease in the number of medical students who choose primary care specialties. The article reviews some of the conditions that many believe have caused the continuing move away from primary care careers, and concludes with a description of the PCOC's program to encourage medical students to choose primary care careers, and the new opportunities for collaborative planning of such programs that are now available to medical schools. The PCOC's success in defining its program is due to a process of interdisciplinary planning and collaboration at the national level that hopefully will facilitate similar collaboration among medical school departments.