The purpose of this study was to characterize graduates of family medicine (FM) residencies from 1994 to 2017 and determine whether they continue to practice family medicine after residency.
We sampled physicians who completed FM residency training from 1994-2017 using 2017 American Medical Association (AMA) Physician Masterfile linked with administrative files of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). The main outcomes measured were characteristics of FM residency graduates, including medical degree type (Doctor of Medicine, MD vs Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, DO), international medical school graduates (IMGs) vs US graduates, sex, ABFM certification status, and self-designated primary specialty. Family medicine residency graduates were grouped into 4-year cohorts by year of residency completion.
From 1994 to 2017, 66,778 residents completed training in an ACGME accredited FM residency, averaging 2,782 graduates per year. The number of FM residency graduates peaked in 1998-2001, averaging 3,053 each year. The composition of FM residents diversified with large increases in DOs, IMGs, and female graduates over the past 24 years. Of all the FM residency graduates, 91.9% claimed FM as their primary specialty and 81% were certified with ABFM in 2017. FM/sport medicine (2.1%), FM/geriatric medicine (0.9%), internal medicine/geriatrics (0.8%), and emergency medicine (0.7%) were the most common non-FM primary specialties reported.
DOs, IMGs, and female family medicine residency graduates increased from 1994 to 2017. With 9 in 10 graduates of family medicine residencies designating FM as their primary specialty, FM residency programs not only train but supply family physicians who are likely to remain in the primary care workforce.

© 2020 Annals of Family Medicine, Inc.