2008 residency match shows slight increases for family medicine

Tags: national residency matching program, match, workforce, family medicine residency program

2008 residency match shows slight increases
for family medicine

The National Resident Matching Program unveiled the 2008 residency match results on March 20, showing increased interest in family medicine. The 2008 fill rate for the specialty rose to nearly 91 percent nationally, with 2,404 of 2,654 family medicine residency slots claimed. Thirty-three more family medicine positions were offered in 2008 than 2007 and 91 more positions were filled in the same period. Included in the “family medicine” category are family medicine-psychiatry, family medicine-emergency medicine and family medicine-internal medicine programs.

In addition, NRMP data showed that interest among U.S. medical students rose this year after several years of decreasing or stagnant numbers. In the 2008 match, 65 more U.S. medical school graduates chose family medicine than in 2007—from 1,107 in 2007 to 1,172 in 2008.

The numbers in Texas grew slightly as well, with a fill rate of 97.5 percent in 2008, up from 95.9 percent in 2007. Out of the 201 residency slots offered in Texas this year, 196 of the spots were filled, up from 197 offered in 2007 and 189 filled.

In an AAFP News Now story, AAFP President Jim King, M.D., of Selmer, Tenn., said he was “extremely pleased” with this year’s match, citing a 10-year record set for family medicine in percentage of positions filled.

Other primary care specialties did not see significant changes, but still hold strong. The fill rates for the “all types” category of pediatrics and internal medicine, and obstetrics-gynecology all remain in the 90s, though their numbers for percentages-filled dropped by one point or less in these specialties. The slight decline is due to a larger increase in the number of positions offered than the number of positions filled.

While this year’s match showed better gains than family medicine’s stagnant results last year, overall NRMP numbers show that students continue to show preference for non-primary care specialties. King says that more recruitment is needed to solve the national shortage of primary care physicians and meet projected needs for the future. “We need a major increase in both the number and distribution of family physicians if we’re to end this shortage,” he said in News Now. “Although this year’s increase in interest in family medicine is very encouraging, we have a long way to go.”

Including all of the specialties nationwide, the 1,172 newly matched family medicine residents make up 8.2 percent of all U.S. seniors matched into residency programs in 2008.