Family planning training in US family medicine residencies

Fam Med. 2011 Sep;43(8):574-81.


Background and objectives: Family planning is among the most common services family physicians provide. Evidence that family doctors are not offering the broadest range of these services prompted this study of family planning training in family medicine residency programs.

Methods: This study was a cross-sectional survey of program directors and chief residents at US family medicine residencies accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The survey was adapted from the instrument used by Steinauer et al in 1995.

Results: Didactic and clinical training in most contraception methods is common, but large gaps remain, especially with regard to implant, diaphragm, tubal ligation, and vasectomy. Didactic or clinical training in pregnancy options counseling is available in most programs; however, it should be universal to comply with ACGME requirements. Despite an even split in attitudes toward abortion within family medicine, training remains uncommon.

Conclusions: Family medicine residency programs are not offering training in the broadest range of family planning methods, and abortion training is uncommon. To address these gaps, family medicine educators need to work to increase training in all methods of contraception, including newer and procedural methods, and consider strategies for offering abortion training to interested residents.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Contraception
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Planning Services / education*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Physician Executives
  • Program Evaluation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women's Health / education