Primary care practice requires clinical skills and knowledge that differ greatly from those required for successful completion of residency training. Discrepant clinical settings and physician responsibilities have thus created a mismatch between the educational content of residency training and the content of clinical practice, which may result in suboptimal preparation of internists, family practitioners, and pediatricians for patient care. Of equal concern, the psychosocial environment of residency does not prepare physicians for their future community and personal adult roles. Barriers to correcting this worsening mismatch include the following: (1) economic pressures to use house staff to meet service needs of hospitals, (2) changes in patient demographics and the focus of hospital-based medicine that are making hospitals progressively more unsuitable as the principal training site for primary care physicians, (3) the deemphasis of practicing physicians as role models and teachers in postgraduate training, and (4) the often heated disagreement among medical educators regarding the purpose and content of residency training. Efforts to resolve this mismatch should include the following: reexamining the educational objectives of the current system of postgraduate training, better counseling of physicians in training regarding career goals, and emphasizing the primary care physician as role models and faculty.