A record 15,206 U.S. medical school seniors participated in Match Day, an annual ritual to determine where they will spend three to five years of post-graduate training in residency programs, officials with the National Resident Matching Program announced today. The private, not-for-profit organization said the number increased by more than 200 over last year because of recent increases in medical-school enrollment.
The number of available first-year residency positions21,845is also a new high. Officials said 27,944 applicants vied for those positions. In addition to medical-school seniors, other applicants include previous U.S. graduates who did not match in earlier years, international medical-school graduates and osteopathic doctors.
The success rate for U.S. students matching one of their top three choices is about 94% and has remained unchanged for the past quarter-century. This year, 14,201 seniors made their match. Meantime, only about 45% to 50% of graduates of international medical schools match to a residency program, officials said.
The number of family medicine residency positions continues to fall, a growing concern among groups like the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians. The total of 2,603 jobs this year is about 100 below last years and more than 500 fewer than in 2000, officials said. -- by Michael Romano