More students than ever before were offered residency positions on this year’s annual Match Day on March 16, 2018. There were 37,103 applicants for 33,167 positions, and 96.2 were filled — a .2 percent increase from last year. Among the most popular specialties was Integrated Interventional Radiology, which completely filled up. All positions in Neurological Surgery, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Thoracic Surgery were also filled.
Although resident programs collectively added 1,383 positions, clinics and hospitals across the country are experiencing a drastic physician shortage. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), in 2030, the U.S. is expected to have a shortfall of 40,800 to 104,700 physicians. The AAMC is working to push a bill that would create 3,000 more residency positions each year for five years in order to decrease the physician gap.
Despite a few specialties experiencing 100 percent match rates, others with high community needs didn’t have the same level of success. For example, obstetrics and gynecology only filled 52.4 percent of slots, surgery filled just 65.2 percent, and pediatrics matched 73.7 percent. Some subspecialties only offered 21 or fewer positions.
Similar to last year, the National Resident Matching Program noted a drop in international trainee applicants. “We also remain concerned that uncertainty surrounding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and physician immigration introduced new challenges into this year’s residency application process, as evidenced by a 22.7% drop in applicants from countries named in the three immigration executive actions last year,” said AAMC president and CEO Darrel G. Kirch, MD, in a statement. “We urge the administration and Congress to increase federal support for the physician pipeline, support a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers, and ensure academic medicine’s ability to meet the increasing health care needs of a growing, aging population.”