Considerations when applying for residency next year

Hello all! Hope everyone had a great Christmas and some well-deserved time off. As this year’s residency interview season comes to a close, there are a couple of observations I wanted to pass along to those of you who will be applying for residency in the next year or two…

First one is for family medicine hopefuls: The ACGME is changing the requirements for OB next year if all goes as planned. This is in response to the trend of less and less FM docs incorporating OB in their practices. Starting in 2012, the requirements will be on a two-tier system. All FM residents will be required to complete level 1 OB training, and residents who intend to do OB in practice will go on to level 2 training. The buzz I’m hearing from our various associations is that not every FM residency program will be offering both levels, so if you intend to pursue family medicine and do OB in practice, do your homework before you apply. There are still a few grey areas that I’m hoping will be worked out by the time the official documentation hits our desks, i.e. how does this affect FM docs who will be covering ERs, hospitalists, etc.

The second bit of info is advice for DOs: please consider applying through both matches! The extra effort will be worth it in the long run. For those not familiar with my previous postings, I’m MD, family med, associate program director at a dually-accredited residency (and of course OPM). This year I have the unenviable task of having to exclude several top-notch candidates who applied only through the DO match, because my program does not have enough designated slots. Next week I’m going to my dept chair and beg for one more position, but it still means we’re not going to be signing at least two of our top candidates, and I hate that. Had they applied through both matches, it wouldn’t be an issue.

The problem is apparently nationwide; osteopathic schools are meeting the challenge of educating the next generation of primary care physicians, but residency programs cannot accommodate them. Right now the limiting factor is lack of DO faculty at dually-accredited programs (which now make up more than half of all US family med residencies), a problem which will hopefully be rectified in a few years when this first wave of new DOs gets through residency and assumes faculty positions. At that point maybe we will be able to offer a more equitable process.

I’m curious how osteopathic schools are dealing with this issue. For the DO students, are your schools encouraging you to apply through both matches? If so, when is it addressed?

Good thoughts - especially on the OB rotation. For RFP, I’m thinking one would need to have both levels of training as the nearest hospital with an OB trained physician on staff might be 30+ miles away.

I’m a long way away… trotting down the path.

I’m a second year at a DO school. We’ve had two presentations this year about applying to residency and are being encouraged to apply to both. Since the DO match occurs first, this is a real advantage. We also had a hospital day that we were required to go to as first years and second years, where many residency programs had representatives. Many of those representing dually accredited programs said the same thing “we’ve got 5 DO slots and a total of 10 slots and this year we signed 7 DO students – some of them applied thru both matches so we were able to take them…” So at least in my neck of the woods, the word is out


Thanks Kate. That’s good to know that WV is not only encouraging dual applications but addressing it early in the 2nd year. Gives you plenty of time to strategize and plan your audition rotations for the fourth year.

I am a ways off on this but will likely only be applying through the MD match even though I am at a DO school because apparently if I ever want to get back to Canada to practice I need to have completed an ACGME approved residency. I wonder if I could apply to dually accredited programs through the DO match as well? If I got a residency that way it would still be ACGME approved. I’ll have to dig into that. Thanks for the heads up though.

Linda -

I asked several dually accredited programs at our hospital day. ALMOST all of them accepted applications thru the DO match and the MD match, but a few only used the MD match. So, it’s a question for the individual programs you are interested in.


Agree with Kate; it’s up to the individual programs whether to participate in both matches, but most dually-accredited programs do. Linda, since Canada wants you to train at an ACGME program, do they also require you to pass the Step exams in addition to COMLEX?

It doesn’t appear that I absolutely have to take the USMLE’s if I can get into a dually accredited program with my COMLEX scores, however, right now I am planning on taking both COMLEX and USMLE’s. I will likely also have to take the Canadian boards as well (MCCQE) although the timing on these is apparently a bit different. Fun - wow!!! This is when I start to think, perhaps I should just stay in the US, but then I have a different set of visa hurdles to jump as well.

Wow, I can’t wait to see how the OB requirements shake out. It won’t affect our program, as our class got bitten by the changes in hours requirements and we actually do SIX OB rotations. I was happier when we only had four and a half. But residency, like life, is full of surprises.

Liked your thoughts regarding educating the next generation of primary care physicians…Hope for the best from you all!!

As someone who was debating between IM, FP and OB/Gyn (if I ever get into med school), this is interesting news. There are very few OBs practicing in the rural areas, and many pregnant and nursing women have to travel long distances to find an OB – something not always possible or quite arduous, due to distance, weather (snowstorm), or other factors.