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More U.S. Medical School Seniors to Train as Family Medicine Residents

Record 16,000 Participate in Annual "Match"

National Resident Matching Program Logo

Washington, D.C., March 18, 2010—The number of U.S. medical school seniors who will enter residency training in family medicine rose 9 percent over 2009, according to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) External Link. These individuals will be among the more than 16,000 U.S. medical school seniors who will learn today at noon where they will spend the next three to seven years of residency training in "Match Day" ceremonies across the country.

In 2009, the number of U.S. medical school seniors placed in family medicine residencies dropped by 7 percent. This year, 2,608 training slots in family medicine were offered 73 more positions than last year. U.S. seniors filled 1,169 of those positions, compared to 1,071 in 2009.

Two other primary care specialties that saw increases in positions filled by U.S. medical school seniors were internal medicine and pediatrics. Internal medicine saw a 3 percent rise over last year in the number of U.S. seniors matched to slots in this specialty. Out of the 4,999 positions available an increase of 77 positions 2,722 U.S. seniors were matched. There was a 2 percent increase in the number of U.S. seniors placed in pediatric residencies. Out of 2,428 positions available, 1,711 U.S. seniors were matched.

U.S. medical school seniors also made gains in overall participation and match rates in 2010. This year, the group made up more than half of the applicants, increasing by 432, and 93.3 percent matched to first-year residencies, a slight increase from 2009. Since 2006, the number of U.S. senior applicants has grown by more than 1,000.

This year, 10,941 students and graduates of international medical schools (IMGs) participated in the Match, 67 more than last year. Although the number of U.S. citizen IMGs was 305 more than last year and up by more than 1,200 since 2006, the number of non-U.S. citizen IMGs declined by 238. This was the first time since 2002 that the number has been lower than the year before. The percentage of all IMGs who matched to first-year positions also declined this year. Only 47 percent of U.S. citizen IMGs and 40 percent of non-U.S. citizen IMGs matched to first-year positions.

Participants
According to the NRMP External Link, this was the largest Match in history: 30,543 applicants participated 655 more than last year and 3,800 more than in 2006.

"This year's Match once again saw great participation across the board. We are pleased with the rise in the number of U.S. medical school seniors, and with the continuing overall growth of both applicants and positions. The release of today's results is a defining moment in the careers of young physicians and a wonderful cause for celebration," said Mona M. Signer, executive director of the NRMP.

Other participants in the 2010 Match included:

  • 2,045 students and graduates of osteopathic (D.O. degree-granting) schools a slight increase of 32 from 2009, and
  • 1,356 physicians who previously graduated from medical (M.D. degree-granting) schools an increase of 134 from 2009.

How the Match Works
Conducted annually by the NRMP, the Match uses a computerized mathematical algorithm External Link, designed to produce a best result by aligning the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs in order to fill the thousands of training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals.

Positions
The 2010 Match offered a record-number 22,809 first-year and 2,711 second-year residency positions. There were 382 more first-year positions available this year than last year, and 1,150 more than were available four years ago. More than 95 percent (21,749) of the first-year positions were filled during this Match. The remaining positions are filled through a process known as " the Scramble External Link," occurring this week.

Match Rate
Slightly more than 93 percent (93.3) of U.S. medical school seniors matched to a first-year residency position this year; 82 percent of those students matched to one of their top three choices. Among all other types of participants, 79.1 percent matched to one of their top three choices, a slight decrease from 80.8 percent in 2009.

Specialty Trends
Match results can be an indicator of career interests among U.S. medical school seniors. Among the notable trends this year:

  • Neurological surgery, orthopaedic surgery, dermatology, and otolaryngology were the most competitive fields for applicants. At least 90 percent of those positions were filled with U.S. medical school seniors.
  • All but five positions were filled of the 1,187 available in obstetrics-gynecology, and 915 positions were filled by U.S. seniors, increasing for the sixth year in a row.
  • The number of U.S. medical school seniors in emergency medicine increased for the fifth consecutive year. They filled 1,182 of the 1,556 first-year emergency medicine positions.

Couples in the Match
There were 808 couples in the Match this year, an all-time high. Participants who enter the Match as a couple External Link agree to have their rank order lists of preferred residency programs be linked to each other to ensure that they match to programs within the same geographic area, for instance. This year, 730 of those couples both matched to their respective residency program preferences. A couple is defined by the NRMP as any two applicants-regardless of the nature of their relationship who participate in the Match as partners.

Using the Match Effectively
Since 2006, the NRMP has provided decision-support data for applicants in the form of research reports and analyses External Link. These reports give applicants the information they need to make better decisions when entering the Match and thus contribute to more successful Match outcomes. Medical schools also use these reports in conjunction with advising services to help students make informed decisions when choosing a specialty and a residency program.

Match Week Schedule
The Match is a week-long process that began on Monday, March 15, when NRMP applicants were informed whether they had been matched to a residency program of their choice, although the name of that program was not revealed. Today, those matched applicants learn where they will spend at least their first year of residency training. For U.S. medical school seniors, this news will be delivered and celebrated during Match Day ceremonies at medical schools across the country.

Applicants who learned Monday that they did not match to a residency position participate in "the Scramble," which began on Tuesday. During this process, the locations of remaining unfilled residency positions are released to unmatched applicants, who then have the opportunity to contact the programs directly to express interest in the open positions. Following the Match this year, there were 1,142 unfilled residency positions available to participants in the Scramble.

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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.

Contact

Lesley Ward
Senior Media Relations Specialist
Telephone: 202-828-0655
E-mail: lward@aamc.org