View Full Version : Value of research in Family Medicine appliction?
05-14-2005, 10:21 AM
I was just wondering if anyone can comment on the value of research when applying to a Family Medicine residency. Specifically, I am hoping to enter a rural FM residency program (I know that these are more competitive b/c of fewer spots) and I am trying to explore ways to make my application more competitive. Some people I've talked to have said that research does not really make a difference, others have suggested that it may help. Any thoughts?
Rural FM competitive? I've never heard that before...
Anyway, I don't think research is that helpful in securing a FM spot. I mean, FM isn't that competitive to begin with and not to bag on the specialty (as I am seriously considering it) as long as you graduate and have a pulse, I think anyone can get in. Just do electives, appear interested and you'll get a spot somewhere.
At my Western interview I was informed by the interviewing med student that lots of family physicians are involved in research. Although this is probably more common in urban areas, I can see where it would be applicable rurally too. Also, isn't a large part of being a good doctor having an understanding of how research leads to the evolution of medicine. From that point of view I can't see why it would be a bad thing to include in your application. However, I don't know if I would make it my main area of emphasis since they may then wonder if you are actually suited to rural areas, where research opportunitites are more limited, when your interests appear to lie elsewhere. I would suggest talking to rural family physicians to see what they think.
Edited to add: Sorry, I read the original post as if you had already done research and were wondering how to fit it into your application. I agree with jmh2005 that research is only something you should be doing if you are genuinely interested in it.
05-16-2005, 11:23 AM
Moo...rural FM in Ontario (depending on the program, IS competitive) if you want a certain spot/location.
Yes, there are usually spots left over, but some programs fill up and others not as much...you will get a R-FM spot if that's what you want, but if you want to dictate exactly where and be the most competitive as possible, research does not hurt.
I have to say cynically that it often more about who you know in the specific program circles (especially within your home school residencies)...ie. two candidates are equal on paper, but the program 'knows' of one candidate more than another...you can guess what happens...
The other thing you need to think about is the INTERNAL match within rural programs...just because you match to a certain program, does not mean that you will necessarily get the exact community that you want for your FM training. There are 4 FM training sites at McMaster for example, so if you match there you need to be willing and able to go to at least 2 of those communities (which was why I withdrew my Mac Rural FM application, there was only 1 community I wanted and didn't want to take the chance of getting on one of the other 3!)...usually you will get one of your top 2 choices, but not always your first. Definately something to think about down the line...
UBC does this very well...when you match, you match to a specific community...no surprises..no internal match. I wish Ontario programs would do that so you don't have to 'double match' essentially...I wanted 'rural' but wasn't willing to take this chance as I stated above, so I chose a program (UWO) with 'community' and 'rural' options, so I'm hoping that my residency will qualify for rural status if I get as many electives and core rotations as possible out of the tertiary centers of London (ie. St. Thomas, Stratford, Kitchener, Strathroy).
....But back to your question, with my rant out of the way...I did do a bit of research prior to and during medical school and I did match to my number 1 choice. In this interview they did ask me about what I did and we had a good conversation about it. Some programs did not even bring it up...so it's a very individual thing...personally it can't hurt, so if you do have a bit of extra time on your hands, why not go for it if it is something you are also interested in...don't just do it to look good on paper however.
Hope this has helped :) Good luck :)
05-17-2005, 11:15 AM
Hmm. . . I applied to many of the Rural programs this year.
Yes, some of them were more competitive than the urban programs. But thanks to the 'fear of family medicine' and the large number of medical students whose-only-experiences-outside-large-cities-consists-of-travelling-on-the-401-and-MAYBE-a-camping-trip-in-grade-10-or-week-at-a-friends-cottage-so-they're-deathly-afraid-of-Atikokan-Wawa-and-Bobcaygeon, there still is little need to overly stress if you're looking to match to a rural family medicine program.
I think the Sudbury FM program had 8 spots or something left open after the SECOND ROUND of CaRMS. I interviewed there - it's a GREAT program! I would have had no problems if I matched there.
What I'm trying to get at is, if you're interested in a rural family medicine program a) Don't slack. Jmh is right in that if you're unappealing as a CaRMS candidate you can't count on getting into your favourite Rural program b) But if you're a good med student and candidate (and if you're looking into doing reseach to get ahead for a rural program you probably are!!) you probably will get your first or second choice.
And I don't think you would NEED research in the sense that an ophtho or plastics keener would (ie in the sense of doing junk projects you hate just to build the resume). It definitely won't hurt!! so if you have a project in mind and WANT to do it - by all means go ahead! But I don't think you have to go out of your way to do a research project you don't like to 'get ahead' in applying to rural family medicine programs.
Most of the internal matches within Rural FM programs are lottery based and not related to what you've done. Can be kind of frustrating actually, but you usually get your pick (I did, but then again I'm not in a rural program. . . rather doing a rural stream in an urban program.)
05-17-2005, 06:02 PM
Thanks for the responses. I'm still not sure what I'll end up doing re: research. I've not done any research before, I do have topics that I'm interested in, but I have no idea how to go about doing anything. I think I may talk to the program director of my first choice and see if research is something that they would value. I understand the way the internal matches work, and I have no preference for one particular site, so that is not a concern for me at all.
Anyway, I appreciate your advice. Good luck in the coming year!
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