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September 2, 1992

Report of the Medical Schools Section Primary Care Task Force

Author Affiliations

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno; University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham; Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pa; Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Neb; University of South Florida School of Medicine, Tampa; University of Texas Medical School at Houston; University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington; Undergraduate Medical Education, American Medical Association, Chicago, Ill.

JAMA. 1992;268(9):1092-1094. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490090034011

THE percentage of physicians practicing a primary care specialty has declined, from about one half of total physicians in 1963 to about one third in 1986. One reason for this change is the retirement of general practitioners from medical practice.1 These physicians are not being replaced at the same level, due to the decreased interest in primary care displayed by more recent US medical school graduates.2 For example, results from the 1992 National Residency Matching Program showed that about 62% of the available positions in family practice, 64% of the positions in pediatrics, and 60% of the positions in internal medicine were filled with US seniors (memorandum from Norman Kahn, Jr, MD, American Academy of Family Physicians, to Commission on Education, March 17, 1992). In addition, 60% of the individuals initially entering residencies in internal medicine and 40% of those in pediatrics later pursue subspecialty training (Lyttle et