Osteopathic Journal ClubORIGINAL ARTICLE

Quantitative Description of Medical Student Interest in Neurology and Psychiatry

Raddy L. Ramos, PhD; Joshua A. Cuoco, MS, OMS III; Erik Guercio, MA; and Thomas Levitan, MEd
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Accepted: May 6, 2016

Published: July 1, 2016

J Osteopath Med; 116(7): 462-471

Context: Given the well-documented shortage of physicians in primary care and several other specialties, quantitative understanding of residency application and matching data among osteopathic and allopathic medical students has implications for predicting trends in the physician workforce.

Objectives: To estimate medical student interest in neurology and psychiatry based on numbers of applicants and matches to neurology and psychiatry osteopathic and allopathic residency programs. Also, to gauge students’ previous academic experience with brain and cognitive sciences.

Methods: The number of available postgraduate year 1 positions, applicants, and matches from graduating years 2011 through 2015 were collected from the National Matching Services Inc and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine for osteopathic programs and the National Resident Matching Program and the Association of American Medical Colleges for allopathic programs. To determine and compare osteopathic and allopathic medical students’ interest in neurology and psychiatry, the number of positions, applicants, and matches were analyzed considering the number of total osteopathic and allopathic graduates in the given year using 2-tailed χ2 analyses with Yates correction. In addition, osteopathic and allopathic medical schools’ websites were reviewed to determine whether neurology and psychiatry rotations were required. Osteopathic medical students’ reported undergraduate majors were also gathered.

Results: Compared with allopathic medical students, osteopathic medical students had significantly greater interest (as measured by applicants) in neurology (χ21=11.85, P<.001) and psychiatry (χ21=39.07, P<.001), and an equal proportion of osteopathic and allopathic medical students matched in neurology and psychiatry residency programs. Approximately 6% of osteopathic vs nearly 85% of allopathic medical schools had required neurology rotations. Nearly 10% of osteopathic applicants and matriculants had undergraduate coursework in brain and cognitive sciences.

Conclusions: Osteopathic medical students demonstrated greater interest than allopathic medical students in neurology and psychiatry based on the proportion of residency program applicants but similar interests as measured by matches. Required rotations did not appear to influence students’ interests.

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