Monday, February 22, 2021

Some medical students can't get matched into residency?

 Via the New York Times, this interesting comment about a specific step in physician training: 

...Dr. Cromblin is one of as many as 10,000 chronically unmatched doctors in the United States, people who graduated from medical school but are consistently rejected from residency programs. The National Resident Matching Program promotes its high match rate, with 94 percent of American medical students matching into residency programs last year on Match Day, which occurs annually on the third Friday in March. But the match rate for Americans who study at medical schools abroad is far lower, with just 61 percent matching into residency spots.

Last year, the Association of American Medical Colleges released a study that found that the country would face a shortage of 54,100 to 139,000 physicians by 2033, a prospect made all the more alarming as hospitals confront the possibility of fighting future crises similar to the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet each year thousands of graduates emerge from medical schools with a virtually useless M.D. or D.O.; without residency experience, they do not qualify for licensure in any state....

...The pool of unmatched doctors began to grow in 2006 when the Association of American Medical Colleges called on medical schools to increase their first-year enrollment by 30 percent; the group also called for an increase in federally supported residency positions, but those remained capped under the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act in 2019 to increase the number of Medicare-supported residency positions available for eligible medical school graduates by 3,000 per year over a period of five years, but it has not received a vote. In late December, Congress passed a legislative package creating 1,000 new Medicare-supported residency positions over the next five years.

Well, it seems to me that we should have sufficient spots for close to 100% of medical school graduates, but the problem really seems to be that the Caribbean medical schools don't have nearly a good enough placement record. How do these schools justify charging enormous tuitions if that is the case?

UPDATE: Changed headline, because you really shouldn't write headlines when you're half asleep. Also, more awake thoughts: There is no similar process for chemical academia, i.e. "what is the unemployment rate, underemployment rate and employment rate of PhD chemists immediately after graduation?" Each school should be required to print the postdoc and full-time employment trajectory of their last 5-7 years of PhD graduates on their grad school enrollment forms.


  1. I know of a few pre-meds that barely scraped by in their science requirements but were able to get accepted to medical school. They were all accepted at these Caribbean institutions.

    I don't know much about those schools but it sounds like they are simply fraudulent. The students they accept just shouldn't become doctors. Clearly, hospitals have determined this but have failed to communicate it to the desperate pre-meds that have no where else to go.

  2. I guess the CAribbean schools can justify high tuitions because ppl will pay them. selling false hope is not a bad product.

    I do think having schools publish employment data for its graduates is a good idea, but I'm guessing they'd argue their goal is to educate students not be trade schools.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20