Purpose: Despite tremendous growth in the number of combined-training residency programs, little is known about their directorships, financing, recruitment, curricula, and attrition rates, and the practice patterns of graduates. The authors surveyed residency program directors from combined internal medicine-psychiatry (IM/PSY) and family medicine-psychiatry (FP/PSY) programs to provide initial descriptive information.
Method: Programs' directors were determined from the American Medical Association's Graduate Medical Education Directory and FREIDA online database. Three mailings of a pretested questionnaire were sent to the 40 identified combined IM/PSY and FP/PSY residency programs.
Results: A total of 32 directors from 29 programs responded. Most programs were under the dual directorship of representatives from both the psychiatry department and either the internal medicine or the family medicine program. Although most directors responded that the residency program was based in psychiatry, both departments shared in administrative, recruiting, and financial responsibilities. Curricula varied widely, with limited focus on combined training experiences. Graduates (n = 41) tended to practice in academic settings (37%), where both aspects of training could be used. Others practiced in either community mental health centers or traditional private practice settings. The estimated attrition rate from combined residencies was 11%.
Conclusions: Combined-training programs are directed by a diverse group of individuals, including dual-boarded physicians. Curricula vary widely, but most programs are within recommended guidelines. Further prospective studies are warranted to determine predictors of attrition and future practice plans.