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Fam Med. 2017 Sep;49(8):618-621.

Fellowship or Further Training for Family Medicine Residents?

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Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington.



The breadth of family medicine (FM) generates debate about the length of residency training. One argument used by proponents for lengthening training is that residents feel unprepared for practice. The objectives of our study were to (1) identify the proportion of FM residency graduates intending to pursue fellowship training and those who would have done an additional year of core residency training had it been available, and (2) determine whether an association exists between these two variables.


We used data collected by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) as part of resident certification examination application in 2014 and 2015. Data included fellowship intention, and interest in pursuing another year of residency training if it were available. We used descriptive and bivariate statistics.


The questionnaire was completed by 6,235 residents, of which 17.0% (n=1,063) intended to enroll in a fellowship. Overall 54.2% of residents were "not at all likely" to extend residency training, with 19.9% "extremely/moderately likely". Forty-six percent of those intending a fellowship were "not at all likely" to extend training and only 29% of those "extremely/moderately likely" to extend residency training intended to enroll in a fellowship.


We found a disconnect between fellowship intention and desire for another year of residency training. Desire for fellowship may be more about obtaining specific skills and expertise or additional certifications, and less about being prepared for general practice in family medicine.

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