Infectious disease leaders say field's 'trajectory is good' despite residency match decline

Amid several years of declining entry to the field, infectious disease leaders analyzed results from recent residency matches to understand what the field's trajectory looks like ahead — and they reported positive things are on the horizon.

More than 80 percent of U.S. counties are still without an infectious disease expert, according to a report from the Infectious Diseases Society of America released in September.

While several reasons for the decline exist, including lower pay for physicians in the field than others and higher burnout rates, these experts continue to be in high demand. Results from Match Day 2023 suggest there is a light on the horizon. 

This year's numbers were down from the previous year, but there are caveats, a detailed March 23 news release from the IDSA found

"While this year's numbers — 74% of offered positions in adult ID and 56% of total programs filled — were a slight downturn over the last two years, in reality, we are offering more positions and opening more programs than ever before," the release states. "Our trajectory is good, and the ID field remains a vibrant and exciting specialty."

However, the IDSA also noted that a particular area of struggle the profession is seeing is within the pediatric infectious disease specialty. 

All in all, despite the residency match declines, the field's leaders say the profession is strong as it also draws in many international graduates. 

"The situation overall is not dire, and we need to change the narrative that the ID field is falling off a cliff or failing in some way," the release notes.

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