CONTACT: C. LINDON LARSON
283 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-9569; fax (319) 335-8034
UI medical students favor primary care fields in annual "Match
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- With excitement and a touch of nervousness, 168 University
of Iowa medical students today tore open envelopes to find out where they
will head after graduation. The scene was "Match Day," the annual
event when graduating medical students across the country receive word
on their residencies -- advanced training programs that typically follow
For the UI College of Medicine, the news was good. Some 64 percent of
this year's UI medical class matched with residency programs in family
medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology.
In recent years, these fields -- collectively dubbed primary care specialties
for their front-line position in the health care system -- have proven
especially popular with UI medical students. Of last year's class, 57 percent
entered primary care.
"The match results show that our efforts to foster interest in
primary care careers among our students continue to succeed," says
Dr. Robert P. Kelch, dean of the college. "We are a leading research-oriented
medical center with strong programs in all medical specialties, but the
college also is noted for its consistent contribution to the primary care
needs of Iowa and the nation."
"Our curriculum emphasizes the role of physicians in their communities,
giving all our students an opportunity to discover how they can best put
their skills to use," adds Dr. Peter Densen, associate dean for student
affairs and curriculum at the college. "We offer a broad-based education
that gives graduates an array of opportunities, but we are pleased to see
so many students recognize the importance of primary care."
Most students also were pleased with the results. Some 57 percent matched
with their first choice of residency programs, 86 percent with one of their
top three choices. Some 47 of this year's graduates will remain in Iowa
for at least a year of post-graduate training at Iowa hospitals, including
the UI Hospitals and Clinics.
For many, Match Day is the culmination of four years in medical school
and visits to residency programs across the country. The National Residency
Matching Program (NRMP) helps place graduating medical students in such
programs. Most of the 175 students who will earn the doctor of medicine
degree from the UI this year participated in the NRMP. The rest secured
residencies through other specialty matching programs or through the armed
forces, or opted to defer residency training.
Some 25 percent of the UI medical class selected residencies in family
medicine, 19 percent in internal medicine, 15 percent in pediatrics, and
4 percent in obstetrics and gynecology. Among more specialized medical
fields, diagnostic radiology and emergency medicine were the most popular
career choices, each attracting 5 percent of UI students.
Students showed a markedly increased interest in pediatrics, which corresponds
with national trends. The percentage of the 1998 class that will enter
the field jumped nine points from last year's 6 percent. Family medicine
continues to be another area of strength for the UI. The percentage of
graduates pursuing the specialty is well above the national average of
16 percent cited by the NRMP.
"It's very gratifying to see this interest in pediatrics. Our students
entering pediatrics residency programs will be good representatives of
the college and good pediatricians," says
Dr. Jerold Woodhead, associate professor of pediatrics and director
of the college's pediatrics clerkship and generalist core curriculum. "This
particular class has shown an interest in pediatrics from their first year
of medical school."
The UI College of Medicine is widely recognized as one of the nation's
leading centers for primary care education. This year's U.S. News and World
Report magazine survey of graduate programs ranked the college 11th among
medical schools that excel in primary care, noting the college's strength
in family medicine (10th in the nation), rural medicine (9th), internal
medicine (14th) and pediatrics (21st).