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The choice of a specialty by medical students is a complex one that has significant implications for the future supply of physician manpower. The study by Weissman et al. portrays this choice as reflecting the degree of congruence between a student’s needs and values and his or her perception of the characteristics of the various specialties. The existing shortages in the supply of various specialists in Israel may be interpreted as signifying a lack of alignment of student needs and perceptions. This commentary will extend the implications of this work to include the connection between students’ choices and the physician manpower needs of society, and will focus on primary care physician shortages in the United States as but one example of the implications of these relationships.

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