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Table of Contents
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-4

Community medicine - A specialty of choice?

Department of Community Medicine and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Date of Submission05-Apr-2021
Date of Acceptance12-Oct-2021
Date of Web Publication30-Jun-2022

Correspondence Address:
Bimal Kumar Sahoo
Department of Community Medicine and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijcfm.ijcfm_25_21

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How to cite this article:
Nair J, Pal DK, Das K, Sahoo BK, Taywade M. Community medicine - A specialty of choice?. Indian J Community Fam Med 2022;8:3-4

How to cite this URL:
Nair J, Pal DK, Das K, Sahoo BK, Taywade M. Community medicine - A specialty of choice?. Indian J Community Fam Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 May 28];8:3-4. Available from: https://www.ijcfm.org/text.asp?2022/8/1/3/349378

  Introduction Top

In India, yearly, more than 80,000 students are enrolled in the course of MBBS. The course offers 5½ years of training in all the core medical specialties. After completion of undergraduate medical education, most of our young budding doctors opt for specialization. For majority, it would be core clinical subjects such as surgery, medicine, or orthopedics. The founding root of decision making for choosing any speciality is the 1-year period of compulsory internship. Regardless of significant time being allotted for the specialty of community medicine during internship and undergraduate education, students who prefer it as their first choice are very few.[1] It somehow fails to have the charisma and glamor the clinical specialties offer. From the data available from counseling for postgraduate seats of Institutes of National Importance, it was seen that of 66 eligible seats, nine seats remain vacant even after open round of counseling.

During the undergraduate training, in most of the colleges in India, students are exposed only to the tip of the iceberg when it comes to community medicine.[2] The dilemma of what the subject actually tries to do stay unanswered. Hence, how do we address this issue? Change has to be brought about from the beginning itself when the subject is first introduced in the undergraduate days. The concept of community medicine and community health needs to be introduced in such a way that the students remain connected to the subject. Here, we are trying to discuss how we could bring about a change in the perception regarding the subject and what all it offers as a career.

  Emphasis on Real-Time Exposure Top

For a subject that is deep rooted in the community, the specialty has remained to be more of a theoretical subject with more emphasis on the classroom learning. To understand the subject in its true sense, the teaching should be practical oriented through community and field visits. Students should understand the concept of primary health-care (PHC) and should be involved with the activities based on PHC right from their undergraduate days.[3] They should have integrated knowledge and understanding of basic health-care needs of the community so that it aids in framing appropriate plans and managing health services needed for the community. Moreover, this will give the students an opportunity to work closely with the community as well as to make changes within the community, which will in turn leave an impact and keep the students connected with the specialty.

  Why you Should not Hesitate to Choose Community Medicine as a Career? Top

The options are numerous following your postgraduation in the subject. The subject offers you opportunities with regard to what you want out of it. Your work could be based on administrative, research, or teaching specialties. You could be a part of remarkable work carried out by renounced nongovernmental organizations. In case you are interested in teaching as well, you could join a medical college. Other numerous opportunities offered include working as a medical officer, or programme officer/policy maker of any national programme or as administrative cadre. If research is your arena, then you could join research centers such as the Indian Council of Medical Research. You could also very well work as an independent researcher. Hesitancy with recognition of the subject should never be one of the sole reasons for moving in opposite direction while selecting the subject. The level of satisfaction obtained when you see the change you wanted in the life of the people of your community from whom you learned it all gives all the more different dimension to the specialty indeed.

  Way Forward Top

The scope of community medicine is not limited to the four walls of the classroom. From an academic point of view, along with strengthening existing infrastructure, the focus should also be in engaging young and dynamic brains in the subject as well. The design should be in such a way as to generate interest and enthusiasm regarding the subject in maximum number of students and to make them opt for it. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have started looking up to public health specialties with much interest. The subject is now brought back to the limelight, and so now, the time has arrived to take a decisive step in investing our resources in a meticulous way for the specialty which has given us a lot.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Kar SS, Ramalingam A, Premarajan KC, Roy G. Do medical students prefer a career in community medicine? Int J Prev Med 2014;5:1468-74.  Back to cited text no. 1
Sharma AK. Community medicine: Beyond boundaries. Indian J Public Health 2017;61:65-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Filho SC, Miguel TS, dos Anjos NK, de Oliveira Reis M, Miguel BS, Miguel VS, et al. Importance of primary health care in medicine: Simultaneous analysis of two colleges, under the vision of teachers and students. J Biosci Med 2017;5:6-12.  Back to cited text no. 3


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