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Am J Nephrol. 2019 Jun 11:1-7. doi: 10.1159/000501058. [Epub ahead of print]

Increasing Medical Student Interest in Nephrology.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, and Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, USA,
American Society of Nephrology, Washington, District of Columbia, USA.
Division of Kidney Diseases and Hypertension, Department of Medicine, North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, Great Neck, New York, USA.
Divisions of Transplantation Medicine, Nephrology and Hypertension, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Central Florida, College of Medicine, Orlando, Florida, USA.
Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children's Hospital of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey, USA.
Department of Medicine, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, USA.
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Division of Nephrology and Transplantation, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Oregon, USA.
Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



Interest in nephrology careers is declining, possibly due to perceptions of the field and/or training aspects. Understanding practices of medical schools successfully instilling nephrology interest could inform efforts to attract leading candidates to the specialty.


The American Society of Nephrology Workforce Committee's Best Practices Project was one of several initiatives to increase nephrology career interest. Board-certified nephrologists graduating medical school between 2002 and 2009 were identified in the American Medical Association Masterfile and their medical schools ranked by production. Renal educators from the top 10 producing institutions participated in directed focus groups inquiring about key factors in creating nephrology career interest, including aspects of their renal courses, clinical rotations, research activities, and faculty interactions. Thematic content analysis of the transcripts (with inductive reasoning implementing grounded theory) was performed to identify factors contributing to their programs' success.


The 10 schools identified were geographically representative, with similar proportions of graduates choosing internal medicine (mean 26%) as the national graduating class (26% in the 2017 residency Match). Eighteen educators from 9 of these 10 institutions participated. Four major themes were identified contributing to these schools' success: (1) nephrology faculty interaction with medical students; (2) clinical exposure to nephrology and clinical relevance of renal pathophysiology materials; (3) use of novel educational modalities; and (4) exposure, in particular early exposure, to the breadth of nephrology practice.


Early and consistent exposure to a range of clinical nephrology experiences and nephrology faculty contact with medical students are important to help generate interest in the specialty.


Medical education; Medical school; Nephrology workforce; Specialty choice


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