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Fam Med. 2005 Apr;37(4):265-70.

Family medicine specialty choice and interest in research.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ85719, USA.



This study investigated interest in research related to declining interest in family medicine by US medical school graduates.


Twenty-four schools were selected for study based on American Academy of Family Physicians data on the number of their graduates entering family medicine. Data for all graduates in 1997, 1998, and 1999 were obtained from the Association of American Medical Schools matriculation and graduation questionnaires for 23 of 24 schools.


Measures of research activity or interest were available on matriculation during medical school and at graduation. All were inversely related to interest in family medicine. Students interested in family medicine were less likely to have selected the field of medicine because of research interests, were less likely to have participated in a research project during medical school, and at graduation were less likely to plan on a career involving research.


Given this pervasive negative relationship between interest in research and interest in family medicine, initiatives intended to increase research within the specialty of family medicine should be evaluated for their effects on student career choices. These initiatives may decrease interest in family medicine among students who don't want to do research but who otherwise might have been interested in family medicine. Conversely, they may increase interest in family medicine among students with research interest, or they may do both.

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