Psychiatry Continues Modest Match Day Gains. (Primary Care Suffers Biggest Losses)

Article excerpt

A 4-year analysis of residency Match Day results for psychiatry indicates the profession is making respectable gains, but reaping little from the massive defection that is taking place in primary care.

For U.S. seniors alone, "the numbers are up 25% from 4 years ago," Dr. Sidney Weissman, a professor of clinical psychiatry from Northwestern University, Chicago, told this newspaper. In 1998, 428 U.S. seniors filled residency positions--136 fewer than in 2002. That's a significant increase, he said.

In 2002, 907 graduating seniors, 564 of whom were U.S. seniors, filled 957 positions in general psychiatry, according to data from the National Resident Matching Program. This represents a gain of 40 U.S. seniors from last year.

General psychiatry gets the most attention on Match Day, but to get a truer picture of the number of students entering residency programs, the other psychiatry categories need to be factored in, said Dr. Weissman, who has written about manpower trends in psychiatry for more than 20 years.

In 2002, 16 U.S. seniors filled positions in the 5-year combined pediatrics/psychiatry/child psychiatry category; 11 filled family practice psychiatry; and 14 filled positions in the medicine-psychiatry category for internal medicine.

Postgraduate Year-2 (PGY-2) positions, where students opt to take 1 year of internal medicine, pediatrics, or another clinical field before going into psychiatry, attracted 22 U.S. seniors--14 fewer than in 2001.

If you add all of the psychiatry categories together, including the PGY-2 category, the total is 627 U.S. positions filled--26 more than last year's tally of 601 positions, he said.

Primary care suffered the biggest losses in the match this year. For example, primary care internal medicine residencies dipped from 404 positions offered in 2001 to 339 positions in 2002. …