• Family Medicine Welcomes New Residents and Celebrates Another Record Year of Growth in the Match

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 19, 2021

    Megan Moriarty
    Public Relations Strategist
    (913) 302-8627

    LEAWOOD, Kan. — Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Resident Matching Program® Main Residency Match may have felt a little different this year, but the results for family medicine were as positive as ever. Family medicine marks 12 years in a row of growth for residents matching into the specialty, the last 10 years of which have broken all-time records.

    Known as the Match, the NRMP aligns graduating medical students with residency training programs in specialties the students choose to pursue. After a year filled with uncertainty caused by the pandemic, and a residency recruitment process that was entirely virtual, family medicine residencies offered 159 more positions than in 2020.

    This year, the total number of NRMP Match participants matching into family medicine was 4,493, up 158 from the 4,335 that matched into family medicine in 2020. And that number is expected to rise to more than 4,800 when a supplemental Match process is counted.

    “We congratulate each of the students who matched into family medicine, a specialty that is essential to the health of our nation. Each of them has chosen this profession, and we commend them for their dedication to primary care. Family physicians care for patients of all ages and genders, and we are passionate advocates for the health and well-being of our patients and communities,” said Ada Stewart, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

    The number of positions available was also more than the previous year, thanks to the addition of 21 new family medicine residency programs.

    “It’s clear that family medicine aligns with students’ growing passion for things like strong patient relationships, social justice, and versatility and adaptability in a career. Both the number of family medicine residency positions and the number of U.S. students and graduates matching into family medicine increased this year, which is a win for our country’s health care,” said Karen Mitchell, MD, director of the AAFP’s Medical Education Division. “We need more family physicians to curb the primary care shortage in the U.S., and every year of family medicine growth in the Match gets us closer to that goal.”

    This growth is consistent with what we know is good for patients, families and communities. Family physicians make up the majority of the primary care physician workforce and mirror the geographic distribution of the U.S. population more closely than any other physician specialty or health professional workforce. Family physicians often serve in rural and underserved urban communities, treating a more diverse population of patients than any other medical specialty. As leaders in their communities, family physicians have an important role to raise awareness about health disparities and help patients address social and economic drivers of health inequities.

    This growth trend needs to continue so that we have a diverse primary care workforce to address health disparities and meet our nation’s health care needs as Americans get older and sicker.

    “We celebrate each of these new family physicians and welcome them to our specialty. While it’s been a tough year in health care, the Match reminds us all of the joys of practicing medicine, and the excitement with which we approach our role as trusted family physicians - caring for our patients and guiding them to optimal health,” said Stewart. “Our patients and our communities need us now more than ever, and we continue to rise to our calling.”

    For additional information, analysis, graphs and more, visit the AAFP Match Day 2021 media kit at: www.aafp.org/news/media-center/kits/match-2021.


    Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 133,500 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.  To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.