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2018 Residency Match Update

The National Resident Matching Program Advance Data Tables for the 2018 Main Residency Match again show an increase in the number of first-year positions offered, going from 28,849 in 2017 to 30,232 this year.

Of the 18,818 seniors graduating from US allopathic medical schools, 17,740 (94.3%) matched, 1078 (5.7%) did not match, and 474 withdrew or did not submit a rank list. The 5.7% who went unmatched was identical to last year’s figure.

The 1511 graduates of US allopathic medical schools from previous years did not fare as well with 43.8% matching and 56.2% going unmatched—slightly worse than the 2017 percentages.

Osteopathic medical school applicants numbered 4617 with 81% matching. However 1227 withdrew from the match and 210 did not submit a match list. Note that there is also a separate osteopathic match.

The number of US citizen international medical graduates (IMGs) who matched improved by almost 2.3% with 57.1% of the 5075 applicants matching, 2175 (42.9%) did not match, and another 1911 either withdrew or did not submit rank lists.

The figures for non-US citizen international medical graduates were similar to those of US IMGs with 56.19% of the 7067 US IMG applicants matching.

There were 281 general surgery residency programs offering 1319 categorical (five-year) positions. Both numbers are increases from last year’s match which consisted of 267 programs offering 1281 positions. US seniors matched in 76.2% of the categorical positions, down by just over 2% from last year. As in 2017, five slots among three programs did not fill.

The total number of all PGY-1 positions filled through the match was 29,040 leaving 1192 unfilled slots, 475 of which were preliminary surgery PGY-1 positions. Compared to last year, the latter figure represents 33 fewer unfilled surgery prelim slots.

For the entire 2018 PGY-1 match, 8063 people went unmatched, 3121 withdrew, and 3685 did not submit a rank list. That means 14,869 graduates of US allopathic, US osteopathic, and international med schools failed to match. Assuming all of the 1192 unfilled slots were filled by some of those who did not match and some DO graduates secured positions in the osteopathic match, at least 13,500 people have no residency training positions and will not be able to obtain medical licenses.

This is a worrisome situation which I have blogged about several times in the past.

What does it all mean?

The squeeze continues to affect both US citizen and non-US citizen IMGs. New US medical schools and increased class sizes of established schools will make the situation for IMGs even worse. A post I wrote in October 2017 called “The lost sheep: They’re MDs but can’t find residency positions” highlighted the problem. It attracted many comments but no realistic solutions.

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