The professional and personal characteristics of all physicians recruited into a large urban governmentally sponsored health system were evaluated and correlated to staff retention and loss. The results were tabulated for 84 physicians, approximately 90 per cent of the physician work force, over a three-year period. Eighty per cent resided in either Denver or the state of Colorado prior to entry. This is further reflected in a significant percentage being enrolled in the local medical school or training programs prior to entry. These facts suggest a possible source of manpower for beginning programs. Twenty-six per cent came from private practice, 32 per cent from the military and 14 per cent from the Public Health Service. The turnover rate averaged 6.2 per cent per year, with 4.4 per cent being initiated by the physician and 1.8 per cent leaving because of administrative pressure. Data from other studies are reviewed. Factors which appear to influence retention positively were residency training (pediatricians), sex (females), age (over 38) and those with team experience. These factors suggest directions as to the type of physician who, if recruited, tend to reduce turnover. The establishment of a group practice atmosphere with rewards for clinical skills and the offering of unusual specialty opportunities are proposed as positive factors in the retention of staff.