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September 2002

Is the Party Over?

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2002;128(9):1007. doi:10.1001/archotol.128.9.1007


Once again the graduate medical educational establishment is wringing its hands and trying to come to grips with the fact that medical students are finding general surgery, primary care specialties, and some surgical specialties less attractive as a career choice. Could the attractiveness of otolaryngology suffer the same fate as general surgery? Is the party over?

The optimists claim that what we are experiencing is only a temporary blip, similar to the experience of anesthesiology, internal medicine, and family practice in years past. Others, however, see more systemic ills in the surgical house1 and are sounding the alarm that unless we address some core problems, our cachet will fade. I believe that academic otolaryngologists and their community partners need to pay attention to the gathering storm clouds. Otolaryngology has been blessed with the best and the brightest for years. The reasons for the changing career choices are multiple, but I think 3 need immediate attention.