Objective: Although 1996 to 2002 was a period of declining interest in general surgery (GS) among U.S. medical students (USS), most categorical general surgery (C-GS) training positions offered in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) continued to fill. We measured the impact of the decreasing U.S. student applicant volume on C-GS match outcomes and GS resident workforce composition over this time period. Design: Match outcomes were analyzed for 7 applicant categories. Subsequent GS resident workforce compositions were analyzed for proportions of U.S. allopathic medical school graduates (USG), osteopathic medical graduates (OMG), Canadian MG (CMG), foreign MG (FMG), female physicians, and African-American physicians. Mantel-Haenzel chi-square tests measured trends in match percentages, C-GS positions filled, and GS workforce composition. All p-values are 2-sided. Results: Increasing match percentages for USS applicants (p < 0.0001) and USG (p = 0.001), with a decreasing percentage of C-GS positions filled by these applicants (p < 0.0001), were from declining applicant volumes. Increasing match percentage for non-U.S. allopathic medical applicants reflected increases in both applicant volumes and matched applicants, with an increasing percentage of C-GS positions filled by these applicants (p < 0.0001). The subsequent resident workforce included increasing proportions of FMGs and OMGs (each p < 0.001); proportions of USG MDs and CMGs decreased (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.02, respectively). Concurrently, there were increasing numbers and proportions of female physicians (p < 0.0001) and African-American physicians (p < 0.0001) in the general surgery resident workforce. Conclusions: Declining interest among U.S. students in GS has resulted in a workforce comprised of residents from a broad range of educational backgrounds, but also it has provided an opportunity for progress toward achievement of a GS resident physician workforce more equitably representative of the racial and gender composition of our society at large.
- Graduate internship and residency surgery