Background and objectives: With limited numbers of medical students choosing a primary care specialty, family practice residency programs have had to complete to fill available residency positions. The purpose of this study was to determine the characteristics of the recruiting process used by US family practice residencies and to compare recruiting strategies used by successful and unsuccessful programs.
Methods: We surveyed program directors of all 361 nonmilitary, accredited, US family practice residency programs in existence for more than 2 years. The questionnaire elicited information on program descriptors, recruitment process, and fill rate in the National Resident Matching Program.
Results: Seventy-eight percent (282) of the program directors returned usable questionnaires. Success in filling available positions through the Match was significantly associated with high quality of current housestaff and faculty and current residents' positive feelings about the program (P < .01). Program directors perceived successful programs as having an outstanding reputation and being regarded positively by other departments within the institution (P < .01). Programs in the Pacific and Mountain regions of the United States are more successful in recruitment. Programs not filling available positions through the Match spent more effort in recruiting strategies such as mailing and marketing materials (P < .01).
Conclusion: Having high-quality faculty, housestaff, and residents with good attitudes are markers of success in the Match. Less successful programs appear to try harder to attract residents.