ACGME Releases 2017-2018 Statistics on Graduate Medical Education Programs and Resident Physicians

14 September 2018

Today the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) released its 2017-2018 Data Resource Book, the most comprehensive and reliable resource of its kind, including data on the size, scope, and distribution of graduate medical education (GME) in the US.

ACGME Programs

Following steady growth in ACGME-accredited programs over the last decade, the 2017-2018 academic year showed the largest annual increase of programs to 11,214, up 5.1% from the previous academic year.

A total of 620 programs were newly accredited by the ACGME during the 2017-2018 academic year, with 312 more residency (specialty) programs, and 230 more fellowship (subspecialty) programs. For the second year in a row, the number of residency programs grew at a faster rate than fellowship programs (6.6% for residency programs from the 2016-2017 academic year vs. 3.9% for fellowships) largely due to the transition to a single GME accreditation system.

Of the newly-accredited ACGME programs, 375 (60.5%) are in medical specialties and subspecialties, 109 (17.6%) are in hospital-based specialties and subspecialties, and 136 (21.9%) are in surgical specialties and subspecialties.

Residents and Fellows

Of the total 135,326 active residents and fellows, a record total of 31,355 residents entered the pipeline in the 2017-2018 academic year, 1,529 more pipeline entrants than the previous academic year. Pipeline positions determine the size of the future physician workforce. The majority of residents entering these programs are in internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, general surgery, psychiatry, and obstetrics and gynecology programs.

"We continue to see an upward trend in numbers of residents between those entering pipeline programs and those transitioning to the ACGME through the [transition to a] single graduate medical education system," said ACGME President and CEO Thomas J. Nasca, MD, MACP. "In addition, this year well over half of the new programs were in general specialties that serve large numbers of the American public. This growth is being fueled by new program development to expand graduate medical education and meet the diverse health care needs of the population."

The full 2017-2018 Data Resource Book can be found on the ACGME website. The data tables and figures provided in this year's edition include these sections: Program Accreditation, Program Characteristics, Resident Characteristics, Graduating Residents and Residents Leaving Prior to Completion, Sponsoring Institutions, Participating Sites, Program Directors and Faculty, and Program Activities.