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NRMP Data Indicate a Rebalancing of Specialty Interests Among U.S. Medical Students

Non-Citizen IMG Participants in the Match Continue to Decline

Washington, D.C., March 22, 2001—At noon today, as part of the annual Match Day rite of passage, U.S. medical school seniors will learn which residency programs they will enter. Match results this year show a shift away from trends of recent years where new physicians showed greater interest in family practice programs and less interest for certain specialties, including anesthesiology. This year, the total percentage of filled first-year family practice positions decreased by 4.9 percent. Conversely, such specialties as anesthesiology and pathology showed increased fill rates of 5.8 and 8.1 percent respectively. Data were released today by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), managed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Despite the decline in family practice, half of graduating U.S. medical school seniors, 49 percent or 6,629, matched to a first-year residency position in one of the generalist disciplines, defined as internal medicine, family practice and pediatrics. Nearly 25 percent of matched U.S. seniors, or 3,369 individuals, will enter internal medicine, internal medicine-pediatrics, or internal medicine-primary residency programs, a decrease of 50 (or 1.5 percent) over last year. Nearly 13 percent of matched U.S. seniors, or 1,755 individuals participating in the Match, will enter pediatrics and pediatrics-primary residency programs, an increase of 60 individuals from last year.

Non-citizen IMGs NRMP reports a continued decrease in the total number of non-U.S. citizen international medical school graduates (IMGs), (i.e., foreign physicians who attended medical schools outside the United States and Canada), participating in the Match. Data show that the number of non-U.S. citizen IMGs—applicants who submitted program choices—in 2001 declined to 5,116, a drop of 1,171 over last year. Given the decline in active applicants coupled with an increase in the number of positions offered, IMGs matched at a rate of 44.8 percent, 6.3 percent higher than last year.

Of the 1,999 U.S. citizen graduates of foreign medical schools (U.S. IMGs) who participated in the Match this year, 1,048 students, or 52.4 percent, matched. The Match rate for U.S. IMGs has increased from 1.4 percent over last year.

The Match Process The Match Week process started on Monday, March 19, when applicants found out whether they had been matched to a residency program, although the program was not identified at that point. On Tuesday, March 20, locations of all unfilled positions were released to unmatched applicants at noon, EST. Unmatched applicants then had two days to contact programs with open residency positions. On Thursday, March 22 at noon, Match participants learned where they will spend their years of residency training. A resident is defined as an educated, licensed physician who has finished four years of medical school and now begins specialized training in a medical specialty.

According to the NRMP, 23,981 individuals actively participated in the Match by submitting program choices, a decrease from the 25,056 that participated in 2000. Of the total active applicants, 18,354 (or 76.5 percent), were matched to a first year position, a 3.1 percent increase over 2000.

A total of 20,642 first-year residency positions were offered in the Match, an increase of 44 positions from last year. Eighty-nine percent of the first-year positions available in the Match were filled this year, the same percentage as last year. Approximately 65.6 percent of the first-year positions were filled by U.S. medical school seniors. In addition, there were 2,236 positions offered in specialties that begin training in the second year of residency. This was an increase of 122 (or 5.3) percent more than last year. The match rate for the second year positions also increased from 88.6 percent to 91.9 percent. A total of 20,410 positions were filled, an increase from 2000, when 20,272 positions were filled in a first or a second-year program.

Of the 14,455 active U.S. medical school seniors (applicants who submitted program choices) who participated in Match 2001, 93.7 percent (or 13,542 individuals) received a first-year residency training position. The number of osteopathic physicians receiving a match has increased dramatically from 480 matched applicants in 1995 to 876 in 2001.

For copies of selected NRMP data tables and charts, please contact Nicole Buckley, AAMC Office of Communications at 202-828-0551.

The National Resident Matching Program External Link was established in 1952 to provide an orderly and fair mechanism to match the preferences of applicants for U.S. residency positions with residency program choices of applicants. The program provides a common time for the announcement of the appointments, as well as an agreement for programs and applicants to honor the commitment to offer and accept an appointment if a match results.


The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) is a private, not-for-profit organization established in 1952, at the request of medical students, to provide an orderly and fair mechanism to match the preferences of applicants to U.S. residency positions with the preferences of residency program directors for those applicants.