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Fam Med. 2019 Mar;51(3):241-250. doi: 10.22454/FamMed.2019.395617.

Trends in US Medical School Contributions to the Family Physician Workforce: 2018 Update From the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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Sparrow-MSU Family Medicine Residency Program, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing, MI.
American Academy of Family Physicians, Leawood, KS.
S.U.N.Y. Upstate Medical University.



The United States needs more family physicians. Projections based on current trends show a deficit of 52,000 primary care physicians by 2025. Eight national family medicine (FM) organizations have set an ambitious goal of increasing the proportion of US medical school graduates who enter FM residencies to 25% by 2030. This paper describes the most recent number and percentage of students from each US medical school entering Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited FM residency programs, long-term trends in the contribution of allopathic and osteopathic medical schools to the FM workforce, and medical school characteristics associated with higher proportions of FM graduates.


Data about graduates entering US ACGME-accredited FM residency programs were collected using an annual program census and supplemental sources. Longitudinal census data from allopathic and osteopathic schools were combined to examine trends over time. ANOVA analyses were conducted to compare schools by percent of graduates entering FM, public/private ownership, allopathic/osteopathic, size, and presence of FM department. Medical school length of operation was correlated with percentage of students entering FM.


The overall proportion of US students entering ACGME-accredited FM programs has increased modestly over the past decade. Currently, only 12.6% of US allopathic and osteopathic seniors enter ACGME-accredited FM programs. Individual medical schools' contributions to the FM workforce are described.


The proportion of US medical students beginning ACGME-accredited FM residency programs has increased slightly over the last decade. However, significant changes to undergraduate medical education are needed to meet the nation's primary care needs.

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