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Subspecialties of Internal Medicine
Internists can choose to focus their practice on general internal medicine or take additional training to "subspecialize" in additional areas of internal medicine. The subspecialties of internal medicine that internists can subspecialize in after completing residency training include:
- Allergy and Immunology (immune system)
- Cardiovascular Disease (heart and vascular system)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism (diabetes and other glandular and metabolic disorders)
- Gastroenterology (gastrointestinal system, liver, and gall bladder)
- Hematology (blood)
- Infectious Disease (bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections)
- Nephrology (kidneys)
- Oncology (cancer)
- Pulmonary Disease (lungs and respiratory system)
- Rheumatology (joints and musculoskeletal system)
The training an internist receives to subspecialize in a particular medical area is both broad and deep. Subspecialty training (often called a "fellowship") usually requires an additional one to three years beyond the standard three year general internal medicine residency.
Additional Training Options
Many internists pursue additional training beyond basic internal medicine training or completion of an internal medicine subspecialty fellowship. These training options are not limited to internists but may be undertaken by physicians from other backgrounds (such as pediatrics or family medicine). However, they allow internal medicine physicians to obtain further training in areas of specific interest or practice focus.
Combined Training Programs
Residency programs that combine basic internal medicine with other disciplines are available that broaden the clinical skills of trainees and usually allow completion of training in a shorter period of time than performing different residencies independently. Internal medicine combined with pediatrics is the most common combined program, although residency programs combined with many other specialties are available.