“Blending together the principles of internal medicine and pediatrics, med-peds (or IMP) is the largest and most popular combined program. ...IMP offers an alternative choice for physicians-in-training who wish to treat patients of all ages but do not want to become family practitioners. ...After completing the four year program, they are eligible to sit for board certification examinations in both internal medicine and pediatrics. ...Family practice has a wider scope, while IMP has a greater depth. ...Instead of rotations in obstetrics, gynecology, and surgical subspecialties, [as in family medicine residency programs] IMP residency provides additional training in inpatient and critical care experiences involving both adults and children. ...It is possible for patients and families to meet all their health care needs in the same setting with the same doctor. ...This continuity of care is particularly beneficial for children with chronic illnesses, such as cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, or congenital heart defects, as they transit into adulthood.”
— Freeman, B. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Medical Specialty. 3rd Ed. Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill: New York. p. 81-82.
M1 and M2 Students
What advice would you offer first- and second-year students who are interested in pursuing your specialty?
Explore the National Med-Peds Residents' Association website. The website can tell you more about what the residency training involves, what makes it unique and where med-peds residencies are located. Med-peds training can serve you well whether you pursue primary care, sub-specialty or public policy, but what is most important is to figure out whether a combined residency is a good fit for you. We can help talk you through this process.
How important is a research experience in your specialty? If important, does it need to be in the specialty itself?
M3 and M4 Students
Aim to have strong letters from both an IM and a peds rotation. If you feel that you need a stronger letter for one or the other, I would recommend doing a sub-internship or elective in that specialty prior to September.
Not needed. If you have your heart set on one particular program, you are more than welcome to do an away rotation, but I will caution you that an away rotation can work for or against you, depending on how well you perform there.
Does your specialty recommend that all letters of recommendation be written by members of your specialty?
Most programs would like to see a letter from an internal medicine writer and a pediatrics writer.
If letters can come from other disciplines, do you have a recommendation as to which disciplines are more highly valued?
Not necessarily. It is more important to have a letter written by someone who knows you well and can write specifically on your particular strengths.
It depends on the program. Some programs like to see one chair letter (either from peds or internal medicine); others require a chair letter from both departments.
During the winter of the third year, medical students can meet with the career advising coordinator and other med-peds attendings to find out more about the specialty and the application process.
For more information
Cheryl Lee, MD
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Feinberg Room 16-738
251 E. Huron
Chicago, IL 60611