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(670) The Summer Match: A Potential Solution to the Burden of Increasing Residency Applications


Authors:

Mike Dacre – Medical Student, Stanford University School of Medicine

Stefanie Sebok-Syer, PhD – Instructor, Stanford University

Jeremy Branzetti, MD – Residency Program Director, New York University School of Medicine

Laura R. Hopson, MD – Associate Professor, University of Michigan

Linda Regan, MD, MEd – Vice Chair for Education and Residency Program Director, Johns Hopkins Hospital

Holly Caretta-Weyer, MD – Assistant Program Director, Director of Evaluation and Assessment, Stanford University School of Medicine

Michael A. Gisondi, MD – Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Education, Stanford University

Mike Dacre – Medical Student, Stanford University School of Medicine

Abstract:

Background and Objectives: The US residency application process intensified over the last decade, with a 73% increase in the number of applications submitted per US senior medical student. In emergency medicine there has been a 90% increase in the number of applications received per program. The purpose of this research is to explore the possibility of adding an earlier, optional “Summer Match”, similar to the early decision programs used by many colleges, to mitigate this increase.

Methods: This IRB-approved qualitative study followed a constructivist paradigm. We conducted 30 minute semi-structured interviews of key stakeholders in the residency application process, exploring perspectives on the current process and the feasibility and value of a Summer Match. Recruitment was purposeful sampling via email. Participation was voluntary and based on participant availability. Each transcript was coded by two study authors with disputes mediated by a third. The resulting codes were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results: We completed 34 interviews with stakeholders from 18 institutions: 6 assistant deans, 4 designated institutional officials, 12 program directors, 4 residents and 8 medical students. Preliminary analysis revealed several key themes related to the current residency application process and a potential Summer Match including 1) agreement among all stakeholder groups that reform is needed, 2) interest in a trial of a Summer Match, with strongest support from program directors and applicants, 3) fear about unintended consequences of a Summer Match, particularly potential disadvantage to weaker applicants.

Conclusion: There is general agreement among all stakeholders that the ongoing escalation of the residency application process is harmful to both applicants and programs. A majority of participants believe that a well-implemented Summer Match could be part of the solution, but there is some fear of unintended consequences. These findings support the need to reassess the current residency application process.

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