Family medicine residents favor keeping three-year programs

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 4, 2004

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A survey of third-year family medicine residents found that 63% still favor a three-year residency program. The remaining 37% supported lengthening the three-year training to four years. The research from the Robert Graham Center: Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, was published in the September Journal of the American Board of Family Practice.

A survey on the issue of increasing family medicine residencies to four years was first done in 2000, when first-year residents were surveyed. In a second survey in 2002, the researchers sought out the same group, who were then third-year residents.

Lead author Marguerite Duane, MD, MHA, said family medicine residencies had changed little during the past 35 years and that with the decline in medical student interest in the field, along with advances in medical technology and knowledge, it's time to reconsider how family physicians are trained.

"Given the contemporary concerns about the adequacy of medical education for new models of practice that are needed to enhance care for all Americans, an opportunity for experimentation is at hand," Dr. Duane said. "Our findings indicate that consideration should be given to longer training programs with more emphasis on selected content areas."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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