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ACP Responds to Internal Medicine Match Results

Philadelphia -- (March 18, 2004) Results of the 2004 National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) released today suggest a slight increase in the number of U.S. medical school seniors selecting a residency training program in internal medicine, according to Steven Weinberger, MD, FACP, senior vice president for medical knowledge and education for the American College of Physicians (ACP), the national organization of doctors of internal medicine.

The three program tracks within internal medicine -- categorical, primary care, and medicine-pediatrics -- matched 3,086 U.S. medical school seniors this year, up 1.5 percent from 2003. This cohort of seniors represents 22.7 percent of all U.S. seniors entering the matching program.

ACP (Doctors of Internal Medicine. Doctors for Adults.) is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States. Membership includes internists, related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults.

Interest in categorical internal medicine positions was similar to last year, whereas combined medicine-pediatric and general pediatric programs made modest gains in attracting medical school seniors in the United States. However, a 2.1 percent decline in interest in primary care internal medicine training programs, which attracted 188 seniors, represented a continuing downward trend that began in 1997, when 386 seniors selected a primary care internal medicine training program. "Although the overall increase in graduates selecting a program within the broad discipline of internal medicine is encouraging, it remains a challenge to recruit students to the critically important area of primary care internal medicine," said Dr. Weinberger.

Each year, approximately 85 percent of U.S. medical school seniors entering internal medicine select a categorical training program. Of these seniors, over 50 percent will pursue subspecialty training after their general internal medicine residencies. For 2004, 2,602 seniors entered categorical training programs, an increase of 0.5 percent over 2003, reversing a 5.4 percent decline observed last year. This year’s categorical class is slightly larger than the 1993 nadir of 2,473 seniors but falls far below the 1985 apogee of 3,884 seniors selecting categorical positions.

Combined medicine-pediatric training programs attracted 296 seniors, an increase of 14.7 percent over 2003, reversing an 11.6 percent decline from 2002 but failing to equal its all-time high of 387 seniors in 1997.

Preliminary internal medicine training programs attracted 1,471 seniors this year, a 0.2 percent increase over 2003. This is the largest class of seniors ever entering preliminary programs. These students will enter careers other than internal medicine, such as ophthalmology and dermatology, after completing one year of training in internal medicine.

General pediatrics continued its upward trend for the third consecutive year, attracting 1,611 seniors, up 0.9 percent from 2003, and climbing back toward its 1999 zenith of 1,742 matched seniors. Like primary care internal medicine, family practice residency programs suffered from declining interest among U.S. seniors. This year, 1,185 seniors selected family practice, down 3.3 percent from last year and down nearly 50 percent from its 1997 crest of 2,340 seniors. Similarly, training programs in obstetrics and gynecology attracted 743 seniors, down 5.5 percent from last year and down nearly 26 percent from its 1997 high of 998 seniors.

These statistics do not take into account the 1,098 osteopathic physicians who participated in the matching program, nor do they take into account graduates from medical schools outside the U.S. who participated in the program.

The American College of Physicians was founded in 1915 to promote the science and practice of medicine. In 1998 it merged with the American Society of Internal Medicine, which was established in 1956 to study economic aspects of medicine. ACP works to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine. ACP membership includes more than 115,000 internists, medical residents, fellows and students.

Contact: Lynda Teer 215-351-2655 or 800-523-1546, ext. 2655

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