Family Medicine Residency Match Numbers Show Slight Increase

Family Physicians Call on Congress to Increase Funding for Family Medicine Training Programs

Thursday, March 17, 2005


LEAWOOD, Kan. - The annual National Resident Matching Program today announced that 82.4 percent of the family medicine residency positions offered have been filled this year. By comparison, 78.8 percent of residency positions filled in the 2004 match.

Though the number of medical students matching into family medicine increased from 2,273 in 2004 to 2,292 in 2005, there were 102 fewer positions offered than in 2004 (2,884 in 2004 compared to 2,782 in 2005). Moreover, the number of U.S. seniors matching into family medicine residency programs decreased 5.5 percent in 2005 (from 1,198 in 2004 to 1,132 in 2005). This is the eighth consecutive year that U.S. student interest has flagged while international student interest in the specialty has increased.

Family physicians, the only medical specialists who are geographically dispersed in approximately the same proportion as the U.S. population, are essential to the U.S. health care system. They are the only medical specialists who are trained to treat and prevent most ailments as well as provide complete health care for patients at all ages and stages of their lives.

“There is strong evidence that having a primary source of health care - a ‘personal medical home’ - produces better health outcomes, reduces disparities in care and reduces costs,” said Mary E. Frank, M.D., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “Studies clearly demonstrate that the higher the ratio of primary care physicians to population, the better the health outcomes and the lower the health care costs.”

Primary care physicians also provide most of the care offered by community health centers, many of which are located in the nearly 25 percent of U.S. counties with less that one primary care doctor for every 3,500 patients. While the Bush administration plans to increase the number of community health centers, the president’s 2006 budget zeros out funding vital to family medicine training programs.

“Congress can correct that imbalance when it determines how medical training programs will be funded next year,” said Frank. “Support for training new family physicians will help get safe, quality care to all Americans in a cost-effective way that promotes their overall health.”

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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