The number of U.S. medical student seniors at medical schools choosing internal medicine residencies leveled off in 2012 after two years of significant increases, according to results from the 2012 Match Day.
The 2012 National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) report, released on March 16, showed that 2,941 U.S. medical school seniors matched internal medicine, nearly unchanged from the 2,940 who matched in the field in 2011.
“After seeing increases in 2010 and 2011 for the internal medicine residency match for U.S. medical students, we are disappointed that there was not a bigger increase this year,” said Virginia L. Hood, MBBS, MPH, FACP, ACP’s president. “We remain concerned about the need to significantly increase the nation’s internal medicine and primary care physician workforce to meet the needs of an aging population requiring care for chronic and complex illnesses.”
The 2012 match numbers include students who will ultimately enter a subspecialty of internal medicine, such as cardiology or gastroenterology. Currently, about 20% to 25% of internal medicine residents eventually choose to specialize in general internal medicine, compared with 54% in 1998. Internal medicine enrollment numbers decreased from 2007 to 2009 (2,680 in 2007; 2,660 in 2008; and 2,632 in 2009).
“The numbers of U.S. medical students choosing internal medicine residencies are still well below the numbers of a generation ago,” said Steven Weinberger, MD, FACP, ACP’s executive vice president and CEO.
In 1985, 3,884 U.S. medical school graduates chose internal medicine residency programs.
“ACP also remains concerned about the rising cost of medical education and the resulting financial burden on medical students and residents, particularly those who choose careers in general internal medicine,” Dr. Weinberger said. “Our nation needs to continue to reform the payment system and help internal medicine residents recognize their societal contribution to providing primary care for complex patients.”
Read the full report at the ACP site