Purpose: Combined internal medicine-pediatrics (med-peds) residency programs have existed since 1967. Due to the rapid growth in the number and size of programs during the 1990s, most current med-peds physicians completed their residency in the last ten years, making older studies of med-peds programs obsolete. The authors sought to determine completion rates of med-peds residency programs and describe the initial career plans for five cohorts of graduating residents from combined med-peds training programs.
Method: Program directors of all U.S. med-peds residency programs were asked to complete a Web-based survey and base their responses on the records of cohorts of residents completing their programs from 1998 through 2002. To allow sufficient time to complete both the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) and American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) certification examinations, certification status was requested only for the cohort completing training in 1998.
Results: Responses were obtained from 92% (83/90) of the programs, reflecting 1,595 residents entering med-peds programs. Of these residents, 91% graduated from a med-peds program. Among the graduates, 82% were seeing both adults and children, 22% went on to subspecialty residencies, 21% began practice in rural or underserved areas, and 25% entered an academic position. ABIM and ABP pass rates for the 1998 cohort were 97% and 96%, respectively. Overall, 79% of the 1998 graduates are board certified in both specialties.
Conclusions: Compared with previous studies, a greater proportion of residents who recently entered med-peds programs completed their dual training, and a larger percentage of graduates are seeing both adults and children. The proportion of residents entering subspecialty residencies has increased significantly, but the proportion of graduates in academic careers has remained stable.