Here’s a quiz: which of the following five medical specialties was most in demand in New York State in 2015:

  1. Neurology
  2. Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  3. Radiology
  4. Family Medicine
  5. Emergency Medicine

It’s a tough one, but if you answered family medicine you got it right. But don’t feel bad if you missed this one. This is the first time family medicine has topped the demand list since the Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS) began compiling a “demand index” of medical specialties in the late 1990s.

Back when the CHWS began measuring demand by surveying residents and fellows—factoring in things like the number of offers received by respondents, trends in starting income and the percentage of respondents having difficulty finding a satisfactory practice position—family medicine was far closer to the bottom of the list. Since 2008, however, family medicine has seen increasing demand. Efforts to reform healthcare delivery, such as the Affordable Care Act, are seen as likely factors in the changing demand index.

Because about 15 percent of all residents and fellows in the US (including graduates of Saba University School of Medicine) do their training in New York State, the rise in demand for family doctors there is seen as an indicator of the growing importance of family medicine.

Overall, the survey found that demand for generalists—family medicine, emergency medicine, adult, psychiatry, dermatology, and general internal medicine—appeared very strong.

See the Health Affairs Blog for a summary of the report, co-authored by one of the original designers of the demand index. And you can read the full report here.