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February 25, 2009

Health Workforce Planning and Medical Student Career Choice

JAMA. 2009;301(8):824-826. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.156

To the Editor: In their study of factors associated with medical students' career choices regarding internal medicine, Dr Hauer and colleagues1 noted that only 2% of a sample of fourth-year medical students planned careers in general internal medicine. An accompanying Editorial by Dr Goodman2 recommended workforce planning to address this problem. There appeared to be an underlying belief that attracting more physicians to primary care and general internal medicine was necessary. It is not clear that this belief is justified. Another possibility is that medical students are recognizing a change in health care delivery and adapting to that change.