Med Students Increasingly Interested in Family Medicine

Family medicine is increasingly popular with medical students with residency position matches growing for the fourth year in a row, according to a residency census.

Family medicine is increasingly popular with medical students with residency position matches growing for the fourth year in a row, according to a residency census.

The annual census is conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). This year more than 67% of first-year family medicine residents graduated from allopathic or osteopathic medical schools, which is an increase from 58% in 2009.

“This is another indicator that medical students realize primary care is the foundation of health care,” Perry Pugno, MD, vice president for medical education at the AAFP, said in a statement.

According to Pugno, not only has the number of students choosing family medicine in the annual Match Day increased, but AAFP has seen an increase in attendance at their conference for family medicine residents and students. Matches to family medicine residency positions grew for the fourth consecutive year while attendance at the conference grew 12% over two years.

“Taken together, these show the ship may be turning,” Pugno said. “But it isn’t turning fast enough to meet future needs, given the demand that will grow as a result of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of insurance coverage and the aging of our population.”

Pugno added that interest in primary care will likely only continue to grow as new health care education policies are implemented and the health care system is reformed to focus on quality of care.

“I believe there’s a broad-based understanding in the country that we need to grow the primary care physician workforce, and students are recognizing that family medicine is a specialty that will meet their professional goals and gives them a future that includes both personal and professional satisfaction,” he said.