Preventive Medicine offers rewarding, plentiful, diverse and challenging careers, plus:
- The chance to make a significant contribution to society,
- A wide variety of practice settings,
- A balanced and satisfying lifestyle, and
- Upward and lateral mobility and advancement.
Our Graduate Education & Careers section features descriptions of ACPM's activities in support of graduate medical education, a directory of all preventive medicine residency programs, and specific information for Residency Program Directors, current preventive medicine residents, and prospective preventive medicine residents.
OVERVIEW OF RESIDENCY TRAINING IN PREVENTIVE MEDICINE
Preventive Medicine is an exciting specialty that links the knowledge
and skills of clinical medicine with the special skill sets of medical
management, research, and population health. Specialists work in diverse
settings to promote health and to modify or eliminate the risks of disease,
injury, disability, and death. Career paths include managed care, public health,
occupational medicine, aerospace medicine, clinical medicine, informatics,
policy development, academic medicine, international medicine, and research,
covering all levels of government, educational institutions, organized medical
care programs in industry, as well as voluntary health agencies and
professional health organizations.
Preventive medicine is one of 24 recognized board certifications represented in the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Completion of
residency training in preventive medicine is an essential step to become
certified in one or more of the preventive medicine specialty areas: General
Preventive Medicine/Public Health (referred to throughout the directory as
GPM), Occupational Medicine (OM), and Aerospace Medicine (AM). There are
currently 73 accredited Preventive Medicine residency training programs in the
United States. Generally, programs are located in schools of medicine, schools
of public health, state or local health departments, and in federal agencies
(i.e., Centers for Disease Control) and military bases (i.e., Walter Reed Army
Institute of Research). These programs are usually small and take an
individualized approach to training. There are approximately 350 residents in
training every year.
program accreditation is accomplished through the Preventive Medicine
Residency Review Committee (RRC) of the Accreditation Council for
Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The ACGME-RRC is the body which
establishes accreditation requirements for residency programs and which
reviews the programs to determine their compliance with the
certification is offered through the American Board of Preventive
Medicine (ABPM). Established in 1948, ABPM is the body with
responsibility for determining physician eligibility for certification
and recertification in preventive medicine.
STRUCTURE OF AN ACCREDITED RESIDENCY PROGRAM IN PREVENTIVE MEDICINE
addition to the knowledge of basic clinical sciences and skills common
to all physicians, the distinctive aspects of preventive medicine
include knowledge of and competence in these seven areas:
1) Application of biostatistical principles in methodology;
2) Recognition of epidemiological principles in methodology;
3) Planning, administration, and evaluation of health and medical programs and the evaluation of outcomes of health behavior and medical care;
4) Recognition, assessment, and control of environmental hazards to health, including those of occupational environments;
5) Recognition of the social, cultural, and behavioral factors in medicine;
6) Application and evaluation of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention, with specificity of these skills varying between General Preventive Medicine, Occupational Medicine and Aerospace Medicine; and
7) Assessment of population and individual health needs.
Prior to appointment in the program, residents must have
successfully completed at least 12 months of clinical education in a residency
program accredited by the ACGME, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of
Canada, or the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Resident experience must
include at least 11 months of direct patient care in both inpatient and
Residents should develop competency in the following
fundamental clinical skills during this experience:
1) Obtaining a comprehensive medical history;
2) Performing a comprehensive physical examination;
Assessing a patient’s medical conditions;
Making appropriate use of diagnostic studies and tests;
Integrating information to develop a differential diagnosis; and
Developing, implementing, and evaluating a treatment plan.
two year PM residency training includes didactics, clinical training, research,
public health, and other population-based experiences.
The didactic training includes both residency-lead seminars, as
well as the acquisition of a Master’s in Public health or equivalent
degree. Those residents entering with an
appropriate degree enhance their didactics with additional coursework. Whether through a Master’s in Public Health
or other equivalent degree, prior to completion of the residency program, all
residents must complete graduate level courses in epidemiology; biostatistics;
health services management and administration; environmental health; and the
behavioral aspects of health.
The practicum experiences take place across the two years of the
residency, and include acquisition of skills in clinical and population
prevention medicine. Examples of practicum experiences include: local, state
and federal health departments, health maintenance organizations, peer review
organizations, community and migrant health centers, occupational health
clinics, industrial sites, regulatory agencies, NASA, and OSHA, research
settings, to name a few. Please see "Examples of Preventive Medicine Training Opportunities" for more information.
COMBINED RESIDENCY TRAINING IN PREVENTIVE MEDICINE AND OTHER SPECIALTIES
Combined residency training is designed to lead to board
certification in each of the medical specialties providing training. Sometimes,
combined training will reduce the length of training for both specialties by as
much as one year. Since 1993, ABPM and the American Board of Internal Medicine
(ABIM) have had in place formal, approved guidelines for combined training.
This training is designed to lead to board certification in both preventive
medicine and internal medicine, following four years of accredited residency
training. Several programs also offer
approved Family Medicine/Preventive Medicine training opportunities across four
Residencies which offer combined training programs must maintain
their accreditation status through each specialty RRC. The ACGME does not
accredit combined training programs of any kind.
RESIDENCY PROGRAM APPLICATION PROCESS
You should contact programs directly
for further information and for application instructions. The program
directors may also be able to provide you with names of specialists whom
you could contact for information. For
a list of Preventive Medicine (Public Health, General, Occupational and
Aerospace) programs that participate in the Electronic Residency
Application Service (ERAS) visit https://services.aamc.org/eras/erasstats/par/index.cfm.