After a four-year decline, the number of medical school graduates going into psychiatry inched up this year, although the overall percentage of grads remained the same, according to the April 16 issue of Psychiatric News.
The number – 670 – topped last year’s 656 under the National Resident Matching Program.
The publication said 1,075 psychiatry slots were filled overall, including international graduates.
More medical specialists are attracted to the field by studies showing a solid mind-body connection to behavioral therapies, experts speculated.
Another surprising statistic reported by the NRMP: a 9 percent rise in the number of students matching into primary care medicine. Health care experts around the country have been sounding the alarm about the lack of primary care physicians headed into the field, and reports of others planning to quit their practice. The situtaion was expected to be aggravated by passage of the health care reform law.
In 2005, 653 graduates opted for psychiatry, a number that shrank to 595 in 2008.