In their core curriculum guidelines, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine has recognized the importance of training family physicians in caring for persons with mental retardation. We mailed surveys to all family practice residency directors in the United States, questioning them about experiences and methods used to teach residents about health care needs of adults with mental retardation and the importance of this education. We found that 84% of programs provide residents with one or more experiences, and 60% instruct residents in this area. Most directors ranked this education as very important or important. There was no relationship between type or age of residency program and likelihood that residents were educated about mental retardation. The importance of this education is discussed.
The authors gratefully acknowledge Kathryn Gaughan for her secretarial assistance.