Background Applications to infectious diseases fellowships have declined nationally; however, the military has not experienced this trend. In the past 6 years, 3 US military programs had 58 applicants for 52 positions. This study examines military resident perceptions to identify potential differences in factors influencing career choice, compared with published data from a nationwide cohort. Methods An existing survey tool was adapted to include questions unique to the training and practice of military medicine. Program directors from 11 military internal medicine residencies were asked to distribute survey links to their graduating residents from December 2016 to January 2017. Data were categorized by ID interest. Result The response rate was 51% (n = 68). Of respondents, 7% were ID applicants, 40% considered ID but reconsidered, and 53% were uninterested. Of those who considered ID, 73% changed their mind in their second and third postgraduate years and cited salary (22%), lack of procedures (18%), and training length (18%) as primary deterrents to choosing ID. Active learning styles were used more frequently by ID applicants to learn ID concepts than by those who considered or were uninterested in ID (P =.02). Conclusions Despite differences in the context of training and practice among military trainees compared with civilian colleagues, residents cited similar factors affecting career choice. Interest in global health was higher in this cohort. Salary continues to be identified as a deterrent to choosing ID. Differences between military and civilian residents' desire to pursue ID fellowship are likely explained by additional unmeasured factors deserving further study.
- graduate medical education
- infectious disease fellowship
- internal medicine residents
- military infectious disease