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ERAS® Data Policy

ERAS® Data Policy

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®) recognize the importance of responsibly collecting and guarding the information we receive from our users. The AAMC has developed these data policy (PDF) guidelines to prevent the exposure of confidential personal data without the prior permission of the individual.

Use of ERAS Source Documentation

ERAS strives to transmit source documentation via the ERAS system. This requires that Designated Dean’s Offices receive supporting documents that are created by the original author/owner. Designated Dean’s Office staff who transmit these documents to training programs via ERAS should receive, for example, provide medical school transcripts and MSPEs issued directly from the medical school. Reproductions of Program Director’s Workstation (PDWS) documentation from prior ERAS application seasons, do not qualify as acceptable source documentation. Designated Dean’s Offices have been instructed not to accept printed PDWS documents for transmission via the ERAS system.

ERAS prohibits the use of ERAS documents received through the PDWS for any other purpose. These documents may not be printed, faxed, e-mailed or otherwise transmitted to any individual or organization that is not associated with securing the applicant’s training position at your institution. Documentation received via the PDWS may only be used for the review and evaluation of an applicant for a training position.

ERAS Integrity Promotion Program

The AAMC is dedicated to promoting integrity in graduate medical education, and advocates high standards during the application process. ERAS has developed an Integrity Promotion Program to encourage these high standards for those engaged in the residency and fellowship application and selection process. As such, ERAS has developed this program to educate users regarding expectations of behavior and to investigate allegations of fraudulent or unethical behavior.

Over the past few years, an increasing number of fraudulent application allegations have been reported to ERAS by applicants, Designated Dean's Offices, and training programs. Neither applicants nor programs benefit from unethical behavior in the application process; and to the extent possible, ERAS discourages this behavior. ERAS Integrity Promotion Program was created to promote integrity in the process among all participants.

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ERAS Integrity Promotion

ERAS Integrity Promotion - Education Program

The Education Program is designed to educate ERAS users about behaviors considered fraudulent or unethical; to discourage such activity; and to encourage reporting of these activities where warranted. Examples of irregularities and activities targeted for investigation include, but are not limited to:

  • Omission of education extension
  • Omission of previous graduate medical education (GME) training
  • Submission of fraudulent publication citations
  • Submission of fraudulent letters of recommendation (LoRs)
  • Plagiarism of personal statements

As part of our education plan, we share audience specific information about the Integrity Promotion Program.

ERAS Applicants

The ERAS Investigations Program information outlines the steps in the process and delineates specific infractions that can trigger an investigation and the consequences of a positive finding.

An increasingly common issue with applications is personal statement plagiarism. Here are a few of the Web sites that applicants have used to obtain text for personal statements:

Each year ERAS sends reminders to the ERAS School contact at U.S. medical schools explaining the ERAS® Integrity Promotion Program and encouraging distribution to applicants.

Designated Dean’s Office staff is obligated to report any fraudulent or unethical behavior to ERAS® for investigation.

ERAS Programs

ERAS disseminates information about the Integrity Promotion Program at specialty meetings and in distributed literature to programs participating in ERAS. ERAS also sends periodic correspondence directly through the PDWS software to inform programs of Web sites that applicants frequent for plagiarism material and other relevant information.

If you are aware of any activity by an applicant that might be considered irregular behavior, please contact ERAS® Investigations at erasinvestigations@aamc.org.

ERAS Integrity Promotion - Investigation Program

ERAS is committed to supporting a high standard of integrity throughout the application process for residency and fellowship positions. Unethical behavior is strongly discouraged and will be thoroughly investigated and addressed appropriately. To ensure fairness in the application process, ERAS has developed a formalized investigations policy.

ERAS Investigations Process

Step One

A complaint is initiated by providing relevant information to ERAS in writing (erasinvestigations@aamc.org) regarding the alleged unethical behavior.

Step Two

ERAS staff investigates the allegation by collecting information pertaining to the complaint from parties alleging irregular behavior.

Step Three

The applicant is informed of the allegation in writing and is given two (2) weeks to respond in writing to the allegation, providing relevant supporting information and facts.

Step Four

A Preliminary Report is created and AAMC's legal counsel reviews the findings and approves distribution of the Preliminary Report.

Step Five

The Preliminary Report is distributed to the applicant with two (2) weeks to respond in writing to the findings "for the record." Applicant may provide additional information to include in Final Report.

Step Six

A Final Report of findings is distributed to interested parties (applicant, designated dean's office, applied to programs) and includes any written response provided by the applicant.

Step Seven

The applicant is added to the ERAS database of violators to the Integrity Promotion Policy and reports are distributed to each program to which the applicant applies - in the current season, as well as in the future. This information is also shared with ERAS' sister program FindAResident (FAR).

Note: If an applicant is considered a violator in ERAS, he/she will be identified as an ERAS violator in FAR system. Applicants with an outstanding ERAS balance will not be permitted to use FAR until the balance is paid in full.

The AAMC Policies and Procedures for Investigation Reported Violations of Residency/Fellowship Application Standards outlines the details of the Investigations Policy.

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