PURPOSE. To examine the choices of career paths of women in internal medicine, specifically to determine (1) whether women continue to prefer primary care practice more often than men do and (2) whether differences in career paths between men and women result from differences in the natures of the training programs they complete. METHOD. A database containing demographic, training, and clinical-practice information on 19,151 physicians (3,569 women and 15,582 men) who had been trained in internal medicine was constructed by merging data from the National Resident Matching Program matches in internal medicine for 1977-1982 with data from the 1985 American Medical Association Physician Masterfile, which contains physician practice profiles. RESULTS. Similar percentages of the men and the women chose primary care residencies (8% versus 9%, ns) and trained in the 100 major medical centers (49% versus 50%, ns). The women more frequently trained in programs affiliated with medical schools in the top prestige quartile (38% versus 33%, p < .05). The attrition rates of residents who left their training for careers in other medical fields were the same for the men and the women (14%). Fewer women obtained board certification (74% versus 80%, p < .01). The women chose to practice general internal medicine more frequently than did the men (52% versus 45%, p < .0001), regardless of the training program completed (primary care or traditional). CONCLUSION. The women pursued primary-care-oriented internal medicine to a significantly greater degree than did the men, regardless of the type of training program completed (primary care or traditional).
(C) 1993 Association of American Medical Colleges