Background: Internists care for women of reproductive age, but little is known about internists' training in contraceptive counseling or provision of contraceptive methods.
Methods: We surveyed 152 residents in nine internal medicine programs in Los Angeles County during the 2004-2005 academic year. The self-administered, 29-item survey included demographic, contraceptive practice pattern, and training variables. Descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regression were used to illustrate counseling and prescribing practices and to identify predictors of counseling and provision of contraceptives.
Results: Most (95%) future internists surveyed reported clinical responsibility for women of reproductive age. However, few (17%) routinely provided contraceptive counseling, and 39% rarely or never provided contraceptive counseling. Residents had prescribed contraception on a median of 2 (range 0-30) occasions in the past year. Some formal education in contraceptive methods was reported by 51% of respondents; however, 75% of residents reported a desire for more training about contraception.
Conclusions: Internal medicine residents commonly care for women of reproductive age but infrequently assess or address contraceptive needs. Further training on how to provide contraception is desired by many internal medicine residents.