Institutional NIH research funding and a culture of support for family medicine—their relationship to family medicine specialty choice

Arch G. Mainous, Maribeth Porter, Denny Fe Agana, Alexander W. Chessman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The United States suffers from a low proportion of medical students pursuing family medicine (FM). Our objective was to examine institutional characteristics consistent with a focus on National Institutes of Health (NIH) research, institutional support for FM education, and the proportion of medical students choosing FM. METHODS: The 2015 CERA Survey of Family Medicine Clerkship Directors was merged with institutional NIH funding data from 2014 and medical student specialty choice in 2015. Institutional educational support was opera-tionalized as (1) clerkship director’s perception of medical school environment toward FM, and (2) amount of negative comments about FM made by faculty in other departments. The outcome was the percentage of students selecting FM. Bivariate statistics were computed. RESULTS: As NIH funding increases, the proportion of students entering FM decreases (r=-.22). Institutions with higher NIH funding had lower clerkship director perceptions of medical school support toward FM (r=-.38). Among private institutions, the negative correlation between NIH funding and the proportion of students entering FM strengthens to r=-.48, P=.001. As perceptions of support for FM increase, the proportion of students entering FM increase (r=.47). Among private schools, perceptions of support toward family medicine was strongly positively correlated with the proportion of students entering FM (r=.72, P=.001). CONCLUSIONS: Higher institutional NIH funding is associated with less support for FM and lower proportions of students choosing FM. These issues appear to be even more influential in private medical schools. Understanding how to integrate the goals of NIH-level research and increasing primary care workforce so that both can be achieved is the next challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-371
Number of pages3
JournalFamily medicine
Volume50
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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