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International Medical Graduates and the NRMP 2007-08

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UPDATE, 2nd April 2008: This post is now open-access.

Now that the 2007–08 US Residency Match is over, let’s review some interesting statistics. Preliminary/Transitional programs will not be reviewed in this post. All programs covered are Categorical.

2008 NRMP Match data imply data gathered from the 2007–08 Match session for residency programs beginning in July 2008. FYI, programs and seats are not equivalent. Any given program will typically have >1 seat.

For your reading pleasure, this article has been framed in a Q&A format . Let’s begin right away:

  • What specialty do I stand a reasonable chance at?
    • Based on the number of unfilled programs (number in brackets indicates number of unfilled programs as opposed to the total number of unfilled individual seats),
      • Family Medicine (105)
      • Pediatrics (40)
      • Internal Medicine (31)
      • Pathology (27)
      • Psychiatry (27)
      • Emergency Medicine (11)
    • The above specialties also have more seats than the number of US seniors applying for them.
  • How is this relevant?
    • Well, typically if there’s a (>=) 1:1 US senior:Seat ratio, that means in order for you to secure a position you will need to displace a US senior. That can happen if the program views you as a superior enough candidate to justify hiring you over a US senior. And this is not all hunky dory for the average IMG Joe.
  • What about General Surgery?
    • For a total of 1069 seats, the number of US seniors competing was 1161. That gives us a US senior:Seat ratio = 1.1 . Therefore, seats in Surgery are far fewer than the number of US senior applicants competing for them, let alone non-US-senior applicants, and finding a position is going to be difficult as per the aforementioned Firas’s Law of ‘Displacement’ . Only 2 seats went unfilled for 2008.
  • How many applicants competed for Internal Medicine in comparison?
    • The US senior:Seat ratio was 0.6 . Not only that, a significant number of programs went entirely unfilled by any group.
  • Has there been a renewed interest in any of the above ‘high yield’ specialties?
    • Emergency Medicine saw an increase in the number of positions being offered, by 10% between 2004 and 2008. The number of US seniors filling EM positions has also increased by the same number during this period.
  • Has interest in US residency training or competition increased or decreased?
    • Increased. Overall, there has been a 13.4% increase in the number of Active Applicants (meaning applicants who did not withdraw their applications for some reason or the other) between 2004 and 2008. The increase in Active IMG Applicants (both US citizen and non-US citizen) has been even greater than this number during the same period. This could possibly be due to shrinking opportunities for quality training in other parts of the world.
  • Is Internal Medicine really that disliked by US seniors?
    • Match data indicate that IM is still where more US-seniors end up than in any other specialty.
  • Is an average, run-of-the-mill non-US citizen IMG more likely to succeed than not?
    • No. Although this will depend on the specific specialty in question. In general, by random chance alone, a non-US citizen IMG is more likely to be unsuccessful. Not only that; success rates have dropped from previous years. The match success rate for Non-US citizen IMGs and US-citizen IMGs for 2008 were 42.4% and 51.9% respectively.

That end’s my wrap-up for the NRMP 2008 data. For more in-depth coverage, the NRMP stats are available on NRMP’s website. Another great resource is Charting Outcomes in the Match: Characteristics of Applicants who Matched to Their Preferred Specialty in the 2007 NRMP Main Residency Match published by the AAMC available for free on its website.

Please feel free to leave behind your comments! They aren’t gonna cost ya anything !


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