• Guest Editorial

    Residency Census Plays Vital Role in AAFP’s Work

    April 26, 2021, 12:32 p.m. Monica Newton, D.O., M.P.H. — Every year, the AAFP sends its Residency Census to every family medicine program in the country. If you practice and teach at a relatively large program like mine, entering detailed information on dozens of trainees might not sound like your No. 1 priority, but here is why it’s vital for the future of family medicine.

    the big picture concept

    The data is used to:

    • Visualize the pipeline. With the exception of a pandemic-related pause in 2020, the census data is analyzed and published yearly. It helps us see the contributions of allopathic and osteopathic medical schools to the development of the family medicine workforce and categorizes their contributions based on size and funding source.
    • Create a complete picture of our current family medicine residents. With efforts afoot to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, it is important to include information about race, ethnicity and gender, as well as all the medical schools from which residents graduated. It was surprising for me to learn that the American Board of Family Medicine’s data does not include all osteopathic residents, and the Association of American Medical Colleges tracks U.S. medical school graduates but does not track international medical graduates. Our AAFP census is the one source of data that helps us know who is training and what gaps exist.
    • Inform AAFP policies and position papers in order to support you. For example, see the Academy’s policies related to graduate medical education financing and workforce reform. 

    Now you know why the census is so important to the Academy. From a program perspective, the census also provides a one stop, easy-to-access mechanism for registering our residents for AAFP membership via the new Residency Portal and allows residents to start reaping the benefits:

    • Access to family medicine-focused clinical resources developed to reinforce their training and provide in-depth research opportunities
    • Access to Board prep resources
    • Opportunities to build confidence and strengthen leadership skills through local, chapter and national AAFP leadership opportunities
    • Access to career planning/preparation tips and tools

    That’s not all. The Residency Census is so important to the AAFP’s work that this year the Academy is introducing incentives to encourage programs to submit information promptly. Watch your inboxes the week of May 10 for details about the census and the incentives.

    Monica Newton, D.O., M.P.H., is the program director at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Family Medicine Residency and serves on the AAFP’s Commission on Education.