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Research Letter
October 2016

US Residency Competitiveness, Future Salary, and Burnout in Primary Care vs Specialty Fields

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami, Florida
  • 2Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida
  • 3Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(10):1561-1563. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.4642

We previously found a strong association between the competitiveness of a specialty (as measured by the “fill rate,” the percentage of residency spots filled by US graduates) and physician salary.1,2 These findings, along with others, underlie efforts to encourage medical students into primary care specialties (family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics), which tend to be less rewarding financially. At the same time, physician burnout has risen in recent years, with more than half of US physicians now experiencing at least 1 symptom of professional burnout.3 In this study, we sought to identify the recent trends in the association between specialty competitiveness and salaries in 2015, and to also examine the association between lifestyle factors and selection of a primary care field.

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