Background and objectives: Family medicine interest groups (FMIGs) are student organizations that help students learn about family practice and foster interest in the specialty. To date, their activity has not been studied. The goal of this study was to characterize FMIG activity in US medical schools and FMIG relationship to specialty selection.
Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to all US medical school family medicine predoctoral directors. Results were correlated with specialty selection data.
Results: Of the 99 campuses that responded, 88 had FMIGs. Participation by students in FMIGs has increased from 1,944 in 1987 to 6,248 in 1992 (P < .001). Also, participation in FMIGs at medical schools is positively correlated with selection of family practice by graduating seniors (r = .33).
Discussion: FMIGs are increasingly popular and may lead to increased student interest in family practice. FMIGs are weakly correlated with increased selection of family practice by graduating seniors in a simple bivariate analysis, but this association does not necessarily imply a causal relationship. Also, this study is limited by its basis on a retrospective survey.