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February 25, 2009

Future Salary and Medical Student Specialty Choice

JAMA. 2009;301(8):826-827. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.161

To the Editor: The Research Letter by Dr Ebell1 suggested that US senior medical student interest in specialties is related to mean specialty salary. However, Ebell used as his measure of interest the US senior fill rate in each specialty in the match program. In my view, this is an incorrect metric of interest because it depends entirely on the denominator (how many positions are offered within a specialty). The number of positions available in a specialty has nothing to do with student interest but rather reflects local needs of hospitals, specialty interests, and other factors unrelated to students.