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Thread: Residency Match Day 2017 Sets More Records

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    Residency Match Day 2017 Sets More Records

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    Residency Match Day 2017 Sets More Records
    by Megan Brook​s


    The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) celebrated its largest Residency Match Day ever today.

    Residency Match Day 2017 Sets More Records-mrm-match-day-infographic.jpg

    A record-high 35,969 US and international medical school students and graduates vied for 31,757 positions, the most ever offered for Match Day. The number of available first-year (PGY-1) positions increased to 28,849 — 989 more than in 2016. The total number of positions filled was 30,478, up 906 from last year, and the total number of PGY-1 positions filled was 27,688, an increase of 852 over 2016.

    Celebrated around the world, Match Day is when applicants learn the location and specialty of the US residency programs where they will call home for the next 3 to 7 years.

    This year, "a number of the results stand out," Mona M. Signer, NRMP president and CEO, told Medscape Medical News.

    "The number of US allopathic seniors who submitted program choices is an all-time high. The number of students/graduates of osteopathic medical schools who submitted program choices, as well as their match rate, are all-time highs," she noted.

    The number of US seniors entering family medicine also continues to rise, "a good sign for primary care," said Signer.

    Program Positions (n) Increase Over 2016 (n) Positions Filled, n (%) Positions Filled by US Allopathic Medical School Seniors, n (%)
    Internal medicine 7233 209 7101 (98.2) 3245 (44.9)
    Family medicine 3356 118 3215 (95.8) 1513 (45.1)
    Pediatrics 2738 49 2693 (98.4) 1849 (67.5)
    Emergency medicine offered 2047 first-year positions, 152 more than in 2016, and filled all but 6 slots. The overall fill rate was 99.7%; 78.2% were filled by US seniors. Since 2012, the number of emergency medicine positions has increased by 379, or 23%, the NRMP notes.

    Psychiatry offered 1495 first-year positions this year, 111 more than last year, and filled all but 4. The overall fill rate was 99.7%; 61.7% were filled by US seniors. The number of psychiatry positions has increased by 378, or 34%, since 2012, and the number of positions filled by US allopathic seniors has increased by 307.

    Specialties with more than 30 positions that achieved the highest percentages of positions filled by US allopathic seniors, which is a key measure of competitiveness, were integrated plastic surgery (93.1% US seniors), orthopedic surgery (91.9% US seniors), and otolaryngology (91.5% US seniors).

    Dip in International Applicants

    While the 43,157 Match registrants set a record this year, the increase was due largely to growth in US allopathic medical school seniors and students/graduates of US osteopathic medical schools, the NRMP says.

    The number of US allopathic medical school senior registrants was 19,030, 362 more than last year; of those, a record-high 18,539 submitted program choices, and 17,480 (94.3%) matched to first-year positions. The 94% PGY-1 match rate for US seniors has held steady for several years.

    The number of US osteopathic medical school applicants this year was a record high 5000, with 3590 submitting program choices, an increase of 608 over 2016; 2933 (81.7%) matched to PGY-1 positions, also a record high.

    This year, the number of US citizen international medical school students and graduates (IMGs) who submitted program choices declined by 254 to 5069; however, 2777, or 54.8%, matched to PGY-1 positions, the highest match rate since 2004.

    The number of non–US citizen IMGs who submitted program choices also went down, from 7460 in 2016 to 7284 this year, but 3814 (52.4%) matched to first-year positions, 45 more than in 2016 and the highest match rate since 2005.

    "Although the numbers of US citizen and non–US citizen IMGs declined, their match rates were the highest in more than a decade," Signer told Medscape Medical News.

    "We do not know whether the declining number of non-US IMGs resulted from the executive order [by President Trump] because NRMP does not collect citizenship information during the Match registration process," she said.

    Applicants who did not match to a residency position could participate in the NRMP's Match Week Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP). This year, 1177 of the 1279 unfilled positions were offered during SOAP. The SOAP results will be unveiled in the full Match report published in May.

    More information on the results of Match Day 2017 are available on the NRMP website.
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    After future doctors finish medical school, they go on to residency programs to wrap up their training in hospitals. Both American and foreign medical-school graduates can apply to American residency slots, and among this year’s foreign applicants, there are currently 260 people from the seven nations—Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen—banned from coming to the U.S. for 90 days under President Trump’s executive order, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

    Because the total number of residency slots are limited, many of these individuals might not become American doctors. The typical primary-care doctor sees 3,000 patients, so the AAMC is estimating those 260 future doctors would have been able to take care of more than three-quarters of a million American patients.

    Foreign medical students typically come to the U.S. under J1 or H1 visitors’ visas, which are subject to Trump’s 90-day ban. Residency matching typically happens in March, and residents start in June. That’s more than 90 days away, but “the uncertainty is throwing people off,” said Atul Grover, the director of the AAMC, which oversees the residency matching program.

    “The program directors are like, ‘what do I do?’” Grover told me. “If there’s someone who I think is going to make a fantastic doctor from Sudan, are we going to be able to take them?”

    Only foreign medical graduates whose colleges are recognized by the U.S. and who pass U.S. qualifying exams are eligible to apply for American residencies. Typically, only half of all foreign medical students secure an American residency spot, so the true number of potential future doctors who would be excluded from the program is around 130. Still, those people would have been able to take care of nearly 400,000 Americans upon graduation.

    As a twist, it’s the most needy Americans who will lose out if the doctors are barred from entry. There’s a major shortage of doctors, even though nearly a quarter of all practicing American physicians are foreign-educated, Grover said. One way foreign medical graduates can negotiate to stay in the U.S. after their residency is through a visa waiver under which they agree to practice in underserved areas for several years. That’s why some studies estimate that foreign medical graduates are more likely than Americans to work in these doctor deserts.

    Grover said residency program directors are still frantically trying to sort out the rules, but in some ways, the chilling effect has already begun. As ProPublica reported over the weekend, one Cleveland-Clinic medical resident who had a Sudanese passport was forced to return to Saudi Arabia hours after her plane landed in New York.

    “I’m only in this country to be a doctor, to work and to help people — that’s it,” the woman, Suha Abushamma, told ProPublica. “There’s no other reason.”
    never give up

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