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Overview of Occupational Medicine Training Among US Family Medicine Residency Programs

Maria G. Michas; Carmine U. Iacono

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Family physicians deliver a significant proportion of occupational medicine (OM) services. In 1984, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) endorsed recommended curriculum guidelines in OM for family medicine residency programs. This study's purpose was to determine (1) whether family medicine residency programs have met the AAFP recommendations by providing residents with exposure to OM, (2) what methods and resources are used by programs that incorporate OM into their curricula, and (3) what barriers exist for programs that do not provide OM training.

METHODS: A survey questionnaire was mailed to all family medicine residency program directors (n=449).

RESULTS: A total of 290 questionnaires were received, for a response rate of 64.5%. The majority (91.7%) believed there was a need for OM training. However, only 68.2% offered specific training. Approximately half the programs had faculty with OM experience. Most programs included OM in their curricula through a series of lectures and/or as part of a community medicine rotation. Barriers to providing OM training included lack of faculty with clinical OM expertise, time, interest among faculty and residents, and perceived need.

CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrated that approximately two thirds of the responding family medicine resideny programs currently offer OM training and that several barriers exist to providing that training.


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