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The Generalist/Cardiovascular Specialist: A Proposal for a New Training Track

Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD; and Ira S. Nash, MD
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From Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, New York. Requests for Reprints: Ira S. Nash, MD, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Box 1030, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029. Current Author Addresses: Drs. Fuster and Nash: Mount Sinai Medical Center, Box 1030, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1997;127(8_Part_1):630-634. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-127-8_Part_1-199710150-00008
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The economic forces that are reshaping the delivery of health care in the United States have led to intense examination of the appropriate roles for specialists and generalists. Resolving this issue has profound implications for the future of U.S. health care and for the economic health of academic training centers and individual physicians. The issues are particularly intense in cardiovascular care, a field that has had dramatic success in the application of new diagnostic and therapeutic technology and rapid growth in specialist practitioners but is now under pressure to shrink its ranks. A new generalist/cardiovascular specialist training track and a parallel reduction in the number of standard fellowship training positions in cardiovascular disease may be a partial solution. The first 2 years of the proposed 5-year program would consist of training in internal medicine, the final 2 would consist of training in cardiovascular disease, and the middle year would be a flexible combination of the two. Graduates would be Board eligible in internal medicine but would have enhanced competency in cardiovascular disease. This plan may improve the balance between generalists and specialists, improve the quality of primary and specialized cardiovascular care, and strengthen departments of medicine and academic training centers while facing new economic realities.





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