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September 6, 2000

Choice of First-Year Residency Position and Long-term Generalist Career Choices

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(9):1081-1082. doi:10.1001/jama.284.9.1079

To the Editor: Accurate forecasts of the future generalist physician workforce are important for policy makers in medical schools and government. The most commonly used annual indicator of primary care outcomes has been the percentage of physicians enrolled in first-year graduate medical education (GME) programs in the 3 generalist disciplines of family practice, internal medicine, and pediatrics.1,2 Little information is available regarding the accuracy of first-year residency specialty choice in predicting subsequent primary care practice. However, since the rate of subspecialization is known to differ considerably across the 3 generalist disciplines, merely summing the number of young physicians entering generalist first-year programs is likely to overestimate the future number of primary care physicians.3

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