High Educational Debt Affects Family Medicine Residents’ Practice and Fellowship Intentions

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A recent study conducted by researchers from Michigan State University and the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) indicates family physicians with high debt are less likely to pursue jobs with government organizations.

A recent study conducted by researchers from Michigan State University and the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) indicates family physicians with high debt ($150,000-$249,999) are less likely to pursue jobs with government organizations, such as work for Federally Qualified Health Centers. Those with high or very high debt (>$250,000) were also less likely to choose academic practice or a geriatrics fellowship.    

The authors completed a cross-sectional secondary analysis of 2014 and 2015 ABFM examination registration questionnaire data and ABFM administrative data. They used multivariate logistic regression to determine whether educational debt was associated with graduating residents’ practice (ownership and type) and fellowship intentions.

The increase in educational debt for medical students has been a growing concern for medical educators, policymakers, and students. This study demonstrates that high debt may be worsening shortages of academic family physicians and geriatricians; and that physicians with high debt may be less likely to care for underserved populations. Previous studies also associate high educational debt with resident burnout, which may affect career choices.

The complete article can be found at: https://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Abstract/publishahead/Debt_and_The_Emerging_Physician_Workforce___The.97805.aspx

Correspondence and inquiries should be addressed to: Julie Phillips, Sparrow-MSU Family Medicine Residency Program, 200 E Michigan Avenue, Suite 245, Lansing, MI 48912; email: julie.phillips@hc.msu.edu

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Jane Ireland

Jane Ireland
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