AAMC Releases Inaugural Report on Residents

Many New FPs Practice in State Where Trained

February 23, 2015 01:54 pm Sheri Porter

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) broke new ground recently with the publication of a comprehensive collection of current and historical data related to residency training.

[Two male residents in white coats]

The inaugural issue of the AAMC's 2015 Report on Residents(www.aamc.org) uses data tables to paint a picture of residency applicants and residents and to show details about residents' practice locations after they complete their programs.

Hershel Alexander, Ph.D., AAMC director of data operations and services, told AAFP News the organization compiled the report to provide "helpful information" for people involved in graduate medical education (GME).

"There is information about the specialty preferences of medical school students and graduates prior to residency," said Alexander. "There is information about the academic accomplishments, experiences, and demographic backgrounds of resident physicians, and information about the employment of individuals after residency," he added.

Some highlights of the report, according to an AAMC press release,(www.aamc.org) include

Story Highlights
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges recently released the inaugural issue of a comprehensive report on U.S. medical students and residents.
  • The report reveals characteristics of residency applicants and residents, as well as details about where residents practice after they complete their programs.
  • More than half of graduating medical students who decided to enter family medicine had reported a different specialty preference when they started medical school.
  • medical students frequently change their choice of residency specialty during the course of medical school;
  • females make up a larger percentage of residents training in family medicine, OB/Gyn, pediatrics and psychiatry;
  • male residents are more predominant in anesthesiology, emergency medicine, internal medicine, radiology and surgery;
  • nearly 22 percent of residents who completed their programs from 2003 to 2012 were practicing in an underserved area in 2013; and
  • nearly 53 percent of residents who completed their residencies from 2004 to 2013 were practicing medicine in the same state where they trained in their specialties.

Furthermore, according to the AAMC report, nearly 16 percent of residents who completed training from 2004 to 2013 currently serve as a full-time faculty member at a U.S. M.D.-granting medical school.

The data tables reveal information that could interest family physicians, who may recall what drew them to the specialty during medical school training.

"More than half of the graduating medical students who decide to enter family medicine reported a different specialty preference when they started medical school," said AAMC Chief Medical Education Officer Maryellen Gusic, M.D.

Furthermore, according to the report, family medicine was near the top of the list, at 21.9 percent, when it came to the percentage of residents who practice in underserved areas after completing residency training. Other specialties with similar numbers were

  • internal medicine (22.2 percent),
  • emergency medicine (21.1 percent) and
  • OB/Gyn (20.5 percent).

The AAMC report reiterated findings from previous research published by the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care that showed that new family physicians tend to practice in communities close to their residency training sites.

Specifically, Table C4(www.aamc.org) of the AAMC report shows the percentage of residents who completed training from 2004 through 2013 who were practicing in the state where they trained. For example, 63.3 percent of family medicine residents stayed in their training state, followed by internal medicine (55.5 percent), OB/Gyn (50.5 percent) and emergency medicine (49.3 percent).

Gusic said the data compiled in the report would be used to improve the U.S. GME system.

"Data and analyses such as those in the report help to address current and emerging challenges facing the education and training of resident physicians," said Gusic. "For example, information like this will help students and residents make important decisions about their future careers.

"It will also assist faculty and program directors in providing advice and mentoring to learners and in applying a holistic review process during residency selection," she added.

Report authors utilized a variety of data sources to compile the report; specifically, the AMA Physician Masterfile, the AAMC Faculty Roster, the AAMC/AMA GME Track Resident Survey, the AAMC Matriculating Student Questionnaire, the Medical College Admission Test, the AAMC Medical School Graduation Questionnaire, the AAMC Student Records System and the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination.

The AAMC plans to update the resident report annually.

Related AAFP News Coverage
New Family Physicians Tend to Settle Close to Training Sites

Researchers Call for More Resident Training in Safety-Net Settings
New Physicians Seek Similar Settings, Care for Underserved


Robert Graham Center Research
Building More Medical Schools Won't Solve Patient Access Issues