The Impact of Residency Training on Physicians’ AIDS-Related Practice Behavior: A Longitudinal Panel Study
To determine the effects of aspects of residency training on AIDS-related treatment practices. METHOD: The authors conducted a nationwide longitudinal panel study of 394 physicians who graduated in 1989 from six medical schools in New York State. Data were collected during the participants' fourth year of medical school, their third year of residency training, and six years after they had graduated from medical school. Questionnaires sought information about AIDS-related practice behaviors, including avoiding invasive procedures, minimizing contact, emphasizing AIDS prevention and education, and volume of people with AIDS treated. RESULTS: Aspects of residency training had a sustained impact on how the physicians cared for patients with AIDS but not on the numbers of patients they treated. Determinants of treatment practices included aspects of the residency environment (e.g., emphasis on problem solving, student orientation; p < .01), characteristics of the faculty (e.g., commitment to teaching, tolerance of varied viewpoints), cynicism about patient care (p < .001), social biases (homophobia and aversion to intravenous drug users; p < .001), and AIDS-related attitudes (p < .01). CONCLUSIONS: Fundamental changes to residency training, all of which are associated with learner-centered education, can improve physicians' treatment of their patients with HIV and AIDS.