Objectives: We sought to answer the following question: Does educational debt burden affect decisions by emergency medicine residents about whether to pursue academic versus community medicine jobs directly after residency?. Methods: In this observational study, graduating residents across eight emergency medicine residencies were surveyed concurrent with their in-training examinations over 2 years to assess levels of educational debt and demographic information. Job types chosen by residents upon graduation were obtained from their respective program directors. The impact of debt on type of job chosen was assessed through multivariate logistic regression with demographic controls and program fixed effects, with additional analysis of observed differences by gender. Results: Information was collected on 159 residents from 14 graduating classes across eight programs representing six different states. Residents with higher levels of debt had lower odds of choosing an academic fellowship or faculty position upon graduation (odds ratio [OR] = 0.77, confidence interval [CI] = 0.60 to 0.98). On further analysis, higher debt predicted lower odds of choosing an academic position for men (OR = 0.59, CI = 0.41 to 0.82), but not for women (OR = 1.05, CI = 0.63 to 1.76). Conclusions: When male emergency medicine residents have higher levels of debt, they are significantly less likely to pursue an academic fellowship or faculty position after residency. This may not be the case for female residents. Results may reflect differences in the factors that affect men and women’s decisions about jobs after residency, which merits further study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine