Influence of Preventive Medicine Residency Programs and Combined Master of Public Health Programs on Specialty Selection

Published:October 10, 2022DOI:


      To determine medical school characteristics that may result in graduates entering the specialty of public health and general preventive medicine (PH&GPM), the authors conducted an analysis comparing the presence of affiliated preventive medicine residency programs and combined Master of Public Health degree programs with the likelihood of graduates entering the specialty of PH&GPM.


      Using data from the American Board of Preventive Medicine and publicly available information on medical schools and residencies, in spring 2022, the authors compared medical schools that produced PH&GPM physicians with the presence of a PH&GPM residency program, the presence of any preventive medicine residency (public health and general preventive medicine or occupational medicine or aerospace medicine), and the presence of a combined Doctor of Medicine‒Master of Public Health or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine‒Master of Public Health program.


      Between 2017 and 2021, there were 385 physicians newly board certified in PH&GPM, 210 medical schools, and 75 preventive medicine residencies. The 385 physicians graduated from 110 of the 210 medical schools. Analyses showed statistically significant associations between medical schools that graduated PH&GPM physicians and the presence of PH&GPM residencies (OR=3.74; 95% CI=1.61, 8.69), all preventive medicine residencies (OR=2.75; 95% CI=1.37, 5.51), and combined degree programs (OR=4.37; 95% CI=2.45, 7.79).


      Because PH&GPM residency programs affiliated with medical schools are a significant factor associated with PH&GPM physicians obtaining board certification, such analyses may provide critical guidance in the utilization of resources intended to produce more physicians certified in this specialty.
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