Rekindling Student Interest in Generalist Careers

The proportion of medical students who choose to enter generalist residency training decreased from 50 percent in 1998 to less than 40 percent in 2004. The continuation of this trend could result in a shortage of primary care physicians in the face of increasingly complex medical needs of an aging U.S. population. This article provides a history of medical students' career choice trends and makes recommendations for increasing interest in the generalist field.

Key Findings:

  • Improve satisfaction and enthusiasm among generalist physician role models
  • Increase medical schools' efforts and incentives to produce primary care physicians
  • Facilitate the pathway from medical school to generalist residency
  • Increase government funding for primary care research and research training.