Background: In an era of substantial reform to the nation's health system, there has never been a greater need for physicians to understand public health. One way to foster public health in medical education is to utilize the resources within General Preventive Medicine and Public Health (PM) residency programs. Trained in public health and clinical medicine, PM physicians are uniquely positioned to bridge these disciplines. Purpose: Little is known about the level of engagement of PM residency programs in medical education. This study explores the current state of their involvement. Methods: Program directors from all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited PM residency programs were asked to participate in a survey to assess involvement in medical student and non-PM resident education, including on nine key engagement criteria covering teaching, rotations, career interest groups, and other activities. The study was conducted and data analyzed in 2010. Results: Thirty-five of 38 (92%) programs responded. Seventy-four percent reported that PM faculty taught medical students, and 34% taught at non-PM residency programs. The lowest level of engagement was seen in PM residents teaching non-PM residents (12%). Over half of all programs met four or fewer of the nine criteria. The most common barriers to engagement were lack of funding (53%) and lack of time (50%). Conclusions: These results suggest that PM residency programs are an underutilized resource in fostering public health in medical education, especially on engagement at the level of graduate medical education. Strategies to improve engagement should consider the nine criteria outlined in this study, as well as common barriers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health