ACP-ASIM Responds to Internal Medicine Match Results
March 21, 2003
(Philadelphia): Results of the 2003 National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) residency match suggest a continuing decline in interest in internal medicine and family practice careers. Pediatrics was the only primary care specialty showing growth this year, according to Patrick Alguire, MD, FACP, Director for Education and Career Development for the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM.)
ACP-ASIM membership includes doctors of internal medicine, related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists are specialists in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illnesses that primarily affect adults.
The three career-bound internal medicine program tracks -- categorical, primary and medicine-pediatrics -- matched 3,040 U.S. medical school seniors this year. As in past years, 85 percent of U.S. seniors selected the categorical track. This year, 148 fewer U.S. seniors entered categorical positions, a 5.4 percent change from last year and the sharpest dip in interest since 1999. Since 1999 there has been a 9.5 percent decline in U.S. seniors entering internal medicine and over half of that decline occurred this year. Primary internal medicine residencies attracted 12 fewer U.S. seniors, a 5.8 percent decline, and medicine-pediatrics residencies attracted 34 fewer seniors, an 11 percent decline.
In contrast, there are increasing numbers of U.S. seniors entering preliminary internal medicine programs. These seniors will be entering other specialties such as ophthalmology and dermatology after first-year residency. The number of students matched to preliminary internal medicine programs increased by 70 over last year, filling 1,468 positions -- the highest number since 1991.
According to Dr. Alguire, the match results do not reflect the large number of positions filled outside the match by international medical graduates and by doctors of osteopathic medicine. In addition to the sharp decline of interest in internal medicine careers by U.S. senior students, current trends also suggest that fewer than 50 percent of seniors entering internal medicine will pursue careers in general internal medicine, opting instead for subspecialty careers. The ACP-ASIM is currently working with other internal medicine groups to improve the attractiveness of internal medicine careers for both students and practicing physicians through its internal medicine revitalization project.
The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, with more than 115, 000 members, is the second-largest physician group in the United States. It was formed in 1998 by the merger of the American College of Physicians, founded in 1915, and the American Society of Internal Medicine, founded in 1956. Its mission is to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine.
Lynda Teer, 215-351-2655 or 800-523-1546, ext. 2655