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Fam Med. 2017 Sep;49(8):626-629.

How Many Graduating Family Medicine Residents Have Chosen Financial Support for Service Commitments?

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Sparrow-MSU Family Medicine Residency Program, Department of Family Medicine, Michigan State University.



New family physicians have opportunities to avoid accruing educational debt or have loans repaid by making a commitment to public service. Little information is available about the numbers of early career family physicians who have made service commitments to fund their education. The purpose of this study is to describe the proportion of graduating family medicine residents who have enrolled in US military and National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholarship and loan repayment programs, thus obligating them to future public service.


The study was a secondary analysis of de-identified data from the 2014 and 2015 American Board of Family Medicine examination registration questionnaire, which is required of all residents applying for board certification. Descriptive statistics were used to indicate the numbers and proportions of respondents who indicated military or NHSC financial support. Chi square analyses were used to analyze differences between groups.


Of the 6,231 residents studied, 271 (4.4%) had either obtained military support (n=191, 3.1%) or enrolled in the NHSC (n=80, 1.3%). More men had enrolled in the military than women (4.2% vs 2.2%, P<0.01), but there was no significant NHSC gender difference. Underrepresented minorities (URM) were twice as likely to have enrolled in NHSC as non-URM residents (2.5% vs 1.0%, P<0.01).


Only a small fraction of graduating family medicine residents have used either military enrollment or NHSC scholarships to fund their education. Family medicine should advocate strongly for expansion of the NHSC scholarship program, which receives many more applications than it can support.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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