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Commentary
December 2001

The Impact of Medical School Loans and the Promise of Loan Repayment on Entry Into a Pediatric Academic Career

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, LeBonheur Children's Medical Center, University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences, Memphis.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001;155(12):1296-1297. doi:10.1001/archpedi.155.12.1296

The decision to choose a career in biomedical bench research, clinical research, epidemiology, or health services research by current medical students and pediatric residents has undergone a decline during the past decade.1 For more than 80% of graduates, the current career choice of individuals finishing a pediatric residency is to directly enter general pediatric practice (ABP). This perceived shift in career choice away from a clinician scientist's career path and into primary care has received extensive comment2-4 by both pediatricians and physicians in other disciplines. Among the stated reasons for this erosion in interest in a pediatric research career is the burden of medical school and other educational indebtedness that requires the initiation of repayment at the end of residency.5 Debts exceeding $100 000 are not uncommon. For medical students who marry other physicians in training, this debt burden may double.

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