Interest in nephrology dropping among U.S. medical graduates

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 23, 2011

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Despite rising kidney disease rates, U.S. medical school graduates' interest in nephrology has declined during the past decade, says a May 5 report in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The number of U.S. medical school graduates in nephrology fellowships dropped from 401 in 2002 to 365 in 2009. As a result, nephrology has become dependent on international medical graduates. IMGs made up 497 of U.S. nephrology fellows in 2009, up from 271 in 2002. About 25% of physicians in the United States are IMGs, while 40% of nephrologists are IMGs.

Reasons for waning interest include minimal exposure to nephrology during medical school and perceptions that the specialty is too complex, uninteresting and offers limited opportunities, said the report (link).

The report said that to help reverse the trend, clinical rotations should highlight overlooked areas of nephrology, such as critical care and transplantation, and social media should be used to emphasize the field's positive aspects.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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