More should be done to make the residency match process easier for those medical students who must apply to separate preliminary postgraduate year 1 (PGY-1) and categorical postgraduate year 2 (PGY-2) positions, according to action by the House of Delegates at the 2019 AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

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Highlights from the 2019 AMA Annual Meeting

Medical students enter ophthalmology and urology residency programs through a process that is not part of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Main Residency Match. The matches in those two specialties, unlike those overseen by the NRMP, take place in January.

The NRMP offers candidates entering the Main Residency Match process a chance to match to preliminary and advanced positions—in 11 specialties—at the same time.

A report at the 2017 AMA Annual Meeting called for the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology, the American Urological Association (AUA) and other appropriate stakeholders to move ophthalmology and urology, which have early matches, into the NRMP. That report also encouraged the NRMP to consider a sequential match process for applicants in specialties that require a preliminary year.

Citing recent revisions to the program requirements for ophthalmology and urology that have changed the dynamics of the early match, an AMA Council on Medical Educations report adopted by the AMA HOD says that some concerns about participating in two separate matches have been addressed. One notable exception highlighted throughout testimony in reference committee hearings was the “couples match.” In light of that, delegates directed the Association to:

  • Encourage appropriate stakeholders to explore options to decrease the burden upon medical students who must apply to separate preliminary PGY-1 and categorical PGY-2 positions.
  • Work with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to encourage programs with PGY-2 positions in the NRMP with insufficient availability of local PGY-1 positions to create local PGY-1 positions that will enable coordinated applications and interviews for medical students.
  • Encourage the NRMP, the San Francisco Match, the American Urological Association, the Electronic Residency Application Service, and other stakeholders to reduce barriers for medical students, residents, and physicians applying to match into training programs, including barriers to couples matching, and to ensure that all applicants have access to robust, informative statistics to assist in decision-making.
  • Encourage the NRMP, San Francisco Match, American Urological Association, Electronic Residency Application Service, and other stakeholders to collect and publish data on the impact of separate matches on the personal and professional lives of medical students, and the impact on medical students who are unable to successfully couples match with their significant others due to staggered entry into residency, utilization of unlinked match services, or other causes.
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