Importance: In response to a perceived erosion of medical dermatology, combined internal medicine and dermatology programs (med/derm) programs have been developed that aim to train dermatologists who take care of medically complex patients. Despite the investment in these programs, there is currently no data with regards to the potential impact of these trainees on the dermatology workforce.
Objective: To determine the experiences, motivations, and future plans of residents in combined med/derm residency programs.
Design, Setting, and Participants: We surveyed residents at all United States institutions with both categorical and combined training programs in spring of 2012. Respondents used visual analog scales to rate clinical interests, self-assessed competency, career plans, and challenges.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary study outcomes were comfort in taking care of patients with complex disease, future practice plans, and experience during residency.
Results: Twenty-eight of 31 med/derm residents (87.5%) and 28 of 91 (31%) categorical residents responded (overall response rate 46%). No significant differences were seen in self-assessed dermatology competency, or comfort in performing inpatient consultations, cosmetic procedures, or prescribing systemic agents. A trend toward less comfort in general dermatology was seen among med/derm residents. Med/derm residents were more likely to indicate career preferences for performing inpatient consultation and taking care of medically complex patients. Categorical residents rated their programs and experiences more highly.
Conclusions and Relevance: Med/derm residents have stronger interests in serving medically complex patients. Categorical residents are more likely to have a positive experience during residency. Future work will be needed to ascertain career choices among graduates once data are available.