AAFP In-Depth Analysis

2015 Match Results for Family Medicine

News released by the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP), commonly referred to as the Match, shows that 3,060 graduating medical students choose a career in family medicine. This is the sixth straight year that the family medicine match rate ticked upward when compared to the previous year.

The American Academy of Family Physicians advocates for the advancement of primary care to deliver on the triple aim of better care, better health outcomes, and lower cost of health care in the United States.

This report offers analysis of the results of the annual National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Main Residency Match® (“NRMP Match”), along with other sources, to advise the academic community, legislators, regulatory bodies, and others on trends predicting the primary care workforce of the future.

While measures indicate that medical student interest in family medicine is on the rise, significant barriers in the educational and practice environments are stifling growth in family medicine specialty choice among U.S. medical graduates, as well as overall growth in family medicine residency training slots at the rate needed to adequately address the primary care physician shortage plaguing the U.S.

Family medicine offered 84 more positions in the 2015 NRMP Match than in 2014.

Match information* for 2015 points to overall increases in production of family medicine physicians, reflecting more interest in family medicine careers by U.S. medical students. At the same time there is a growing primary care workforce need that’s greater than the current rate of increase in U.S. medical school production of family medicine residents or available family medicine residency positions.

2015 NRMP Family Medicine Results

Family medicine residency programs offered 84 more positions in the 2015 NRMP Match (family medicine includes family medicine categorical, plus combined programs: emergency medicine-family medicine, family medicine-preventative medicine, medicine-family medicine, and psychiatry-family medicine) than in 2014 (3,216 vs. 3,132), and filled 60 more positions, for a total of 3,060 students matching to family medicine in the 2015 NRMP Match (vs. 3,000 in 2014). Of those, 1,422 are current  seniors in Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)-accredited U.S. schools of medicine (U.S. seniors), an increase of 339 since 2010 but only six over 2014 (1,416).

At this time, information is unavailable for the other six NRMP applicant categories: previous graduates of U.S. MD-granting medical schools, students/graduates of Canadian medical schools, DO-granting medical schools, fifth-pathway programs, U.S. citizen international medical schools, and non-U.S. citizens of international medical schools. 

Graph: Family Medicine Positions Offered and Filled 2005-2015

This trend continues a six-year period of increases in the number of family medicine positions offered, positions filled, and positions filled with U.S. seniors in the NRMP Match. It also marks the highest number of positions filled in family medicine in more than 20 years, yet more than 900 fewer matches among U.S. seniors than the peak over the same time frame (2,340 U.S. seniors matched in 1997).

In total, 8.4% of matched U.S. seniors in 2015 were in family medicine, a slight decrease from 2014 (8.6%). Total positions offered in all specialties in the NRMP Match were 26,678, and 16,399 were filled with U.S. seniors.

Retrospective of Family Medicine Positions Offered and Filled 2005-2015

Family Medicine Retrospective Positions Offered & Filled & U.S. Seniors 1995-2015

The overall fill rate for family medicine was 95.1%, similar to 2014 (95.8%). This reflects an overall decreasing gap between positions offered and positions filled in family medicine from the low experienced over the past two decades of 76.2% in 2002 and the implementation of the NRMP Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program™ (SOAP) that was implemented in 2012. The fill rate for U.S. seniors decreased drastically from 1996 (72.6%) to 2005 (40.7%), and has remained below 50% for the past decade.

Percent of Family Medicine Residency Positions Filled 2005-2015

Percent of Family Medicine Positions Filled 2005-2015

Family medicine combined programs filled at 100% in 2015, a fairly consistent trend. Psychiatry-family medicine filled 10 positions, all with U.S. seniors; family medicine-preventative medicine filled five positions, all with U.S. seniors; emergency medicine-family medicine filled four positions, one with U.S. a senior; and medicine-family medicine filled two positions, one with a U.S. senior.

Family medicine categorical programs filled 3,039 positions out of 3,195 offered, 1,405 of those with U.S. seniors.

In total, family medicine positions made up 11.7% of the positions offered in the 2015 NRMP Match and 11.6% of the positions filled. Family medicine programs filled with U.S. seniors at a rate of 44.2%.

Family medicine’s growth in total number of positions offered was second only to internal medicine-categorical, which offered 246 more positions this year (247 in 2014), over family medicine-categorical’s 86 additional positions (70 in 2014).

2015 Match Analysis Report

Access a free copy of 2015 Match Results in Family Medicine: In-Depth Analysis.

*The information provided in the AAFP’s report 2015 Match Results for Family Medicine: In-Depth Analysis is based largely on data from the NRMP Advance Data Tables: 2015 Main Residency Match, as well as other sources, and includes the number of applicants to graduate medical education programs for entry in the 2015-16 academic year, specialty choice, and trends in specialty selection.