A comparison of residency applications and match performance in 3-year vs 4-year family medicine training programs

M. Patrice Eiff, Annie Ericson, Elaine Waller Uchison, Steele Valenzuela, Miguel Marino, Karen Mitchell, Patricia A. Carney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The optimal length of residency training in family medicine is under debate. This study compared applicant type, number of applicants, match positions filled, matched applicant type, and ranks to fill between 3-year (3YR) and 4-year (4YR) residencies. METHODS: The Length of Training Pilot (LOTP) is a case-control study comparing 3YR (seven residencies) and 4YR (six residencies) training models. We collected applicant and match data from LOTP programs from 2012 to 2018 and compared data between 3YR and 4YR programs. National data provided descriptive comparisons. An annual resident survey captured resident perspectives on training program selection. Summary statistics and corresponding t-tests and χ2 tests of independence were performed to assess differences between groups. We used a linear mixed model to account for repeated measures over time within programs. RESULTS: There were no differences in the mean number of US MD, US DO, and international medical graduate applicants between 3YR and 4YR programs. Both the 3YR and 4YR programs had a substantially higher number of US MD and DO applicants compared to national averages. The percentages of positions filled in the match and positions filled by US MDs, DOs and IMGs were not different between groups. The percentage of residents in 4YR programs who think training in family medicine requires a fourth year varied significantly during the study period, from 35% to 25% (P<.001). The predominant reasons for pursuing training in a 4YR program was a desire for more flexibility in training and a desire to learn additional skills beyond clinical skills. CONCLUSIONS: The applicant pool and match performance of the residencies in the LOTP was not affected by length of training. Questions yet to be addressed include length of training’s impact on medical knowledge, scope of practice, and clinical preparedness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-648
Number of pages8
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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