Thursday, March 18, 2010

Match day!

Today is “match day!” Congratulations to all of my classmates!

This is the day 4th year medical students open the envelope that tells them where they will be doing their residency… it’s an exciting (and anxiety-filled) day.  (Because of my research, I’ll be doing this a year from now).

Out of the ~150 graduating students this year, I counted 7 doing family medicine or primary care internal medicine. That’s only 4.6% of the class!!

With all the talk about health reform and the need for primary care physicians, I can’t believe how few of my classmates are going into primary care! And I mean, actually going into primary care… because most going into the traditional primary care fields (internal medicine, pediatrics) plan on doing a fellowship (i.e. in cardiology, infectious disease, pulmonary, renal, oncology/hematology, etc), and will become specialists.

Of course, specialists play an important role in medical care. But at the same time, the world really needs more well-trained, comprehensive, and forward-thinking primary care physicians.

Part of the reason more people don’t go into primary care might be the prejudice that exists against it. I am always prepared for the occasional negative reaction when I tell people about my plans to do family medicine, such as:

“Why? They are inferior to specialists and have to constantly defer to them….They earn little money… Their knowledge of medicine is an inch deep and a mile wide…. They are viewed disrespectfully by doctors who specialize.”

These reactions certainly feed insecurity about my career choice, but they also motivate me even more…. primary care docs need to prove these people wrong!


  1. wow only 7!!! what about pediatrics or ob-gyn? from the dean at my med school:

    82 Students are going into primary care related specialties:
    · 18 in Categorical Pediatrics
    · 41 in Internal Medicine
    · 16 in Family Medicine
    · Seven in combined programs such as Medicine-Pediatrics
    this is probably due to a combination of more interest in primary care and the fact that many are not competitive enough to get specialities?

  2. Amanda, YOU inspire me! I hear you're teaching a class at wake up tomorrow - awesome!!!!

    Hi Lizzie! I think we had 2 doing ob/gyn and a bunch doing peds (but I think most peds people will end up doing a fellowship and specialize). Your school is awesome for Family Med - 16!!!

    Penn reported something like 48% of the class as doing primary care specialties this year, but I think this is misleading... should we really be counting people who plan to do cardiology and inpatient medicine as primary care??

  3. Yes, Christina - keep the faith - don't be deterred by critical people. Listen to your heart. This is where your yoga practice helps you steer your own path in life so well. We need people like you in family medicine with a strong research background. The perfect combination!

  4. Counting cardiology as primary care? Do I have veto rights?