Objective: To describe demographic and practice characteristics of physicians who graduated from family practice residency training programs.
Design: Information was obtained from the databases of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Board of Family Practice (ABFP), and the American Medical Association. Data sets were cross-referenced, and quantitative data from medical membership organizations and the certifying board were summarized. Information regarding medical school graduation and family practice residency completion was reported by the participating residency programs, and data on practice specialty were self-designated by the participating physicians.
Subjects: Physician graduates of Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited family practice residency programs from 1969 through 1993.
Main outcome measures: Practice specialty designation by graduates of family practice residency programs.
Results: Of the 38659 physicians who graduated from family practice residency programs from 1969 through 1993, 8780 (23%) were women, 2181 (6%) were graduates of colleges of osteopathic medicine, 4777 (12%) were international medical graduates, and 33484 (87%) were certified by the ABFP. Of the 36088 family practice residency graduates who designated a practice specialty, 32764 (91%) identified their specialty as family practice, including 32608 physicians who identified family practice, 129 general practice, 21 family practice-geriatric medicine, and six family practice-sports medicine. Among the 3324 family practice residency graduates (9%) who identified themselves as practicing in another specialty, the most common specialties were emergency medicine (1446 physicians [4%]) and preventive medicine (386 physicians [1%]). No other practice specialty was designated by more that 0.5% of family practice residency graduates.
Conclusion: The vast majority of family practice residency graduates are self-designated as practicing family medicine. These data suggest that family practice residency programs are an effective mechanism for the production of generalist physicians.