First reported by ACP Internist Weekly:
The number of U.S. medical students choosing internal medicine residencies increased for the second consecutive year, according to results from the 2011 Match Day.
The 2011 National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) report, released on March 17, showed an 8% increase from last year, with 2,940 U.S. seniors at medical schools enrolling in an internal medicine residency program, compared to 2,722 in 2010. Last year’s match also showed an increase, following a two-year decline from 2007 to 2009 (2,680 in 2007, 2,660 in 2008 and 2,632 in 2009).
“This is good news for internal medicine and adult patient care in the U.S.,” said ACP President J. Fred Ralston Jr., FACP. “The American College of Physicians has consistently called for health care reforms that support internal medicine as a career path, including increasing support for primary care training programs, increasing Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement to primary care physicians, and expanding pilot testing and implementation of new models of patient care.”
Increases were also seen in the number of U.S. seniors matching to family medicine (up 11%) and pediatrics (up 3%) positions. In addition to primary care, other specialties that increased the number of residency positions filled by U.S. seniors in this yearĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s match included emergency medicine, anesthesiology and neurology, according to a press release from the NRMP.
ACP representatives welcomed the trend of more U.S. students choosing internal medicine residencies. “We’re cautiously optimistic and hope that the positive trend continues,” said ACP Executive Vice President and CEO Steven Weinberger, FACP, in a press release. “But the U.S. still has to overcome a generational shift that resulted in decreased numbers of students choosing primary care as a career. In 1985, 3,884 U.S. medical school graduates chose internal medicine residency programs. And the 18.9% of U.S. seniors that matched internal medicine in 2011 is the same percentage as 2007.”
The 2011 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.