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Pediatrics fill rate dips during 2024 Match; AAP leaders highlight workforce issues, need to recruit more to field

March 15, 2024

The percentage of offered pediatric positions that were filled during Match Day 2024 decreased when compared to the year prior, a trend that AAP leaders call concerning.

This year’s Match Day, when graduating medical students received their residency placements, included 44,853 active applicants and 41,503 certified positions in 6,395 residency training programs. The number of active applicants increased by 4.4% over last year, surpassing last year’s record of 42,952.

Categorical pediatrics — programs that provide the full training for specialty board certification — filled 91.8% of positions offered. The rates have been at 97%-98% since 2017. Internal medicine-pediatrics filled 100% of positions after filling 99% last year.

In the 2024 Match, pediatrics offered 3,139 categorical and primary positions, an increase of 93 over the 2023 Match, and filled 2,887. The nearly 92% rate is a decrease compared to the 97.1% fill rate in 2023.

“The large number of unmatched positions is concerning for our general pediatrician and pediatric subspecialty pathways,” said Harold K. Simon, M.D., M.B.A., FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Pediatric Workforce. “It raises increased challenges for meeting the pediatric workforce needs in the foreseeable future. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s recent report on pediatric subspecialities addresses many long-term workforce concerns. However, the large number of unfilled positions emphasizes the need to address the pipeline as early as possible. Making medical students aware of the tremendous benefits and joy of treating the most deserving among us should be reinforced through early mentorship and highlighting pediatrics as a wonderful career choice.”

In all, 252 pediatrics positions were unfilled, an increase of 164 over last year. Notably, the percentage of U.S. M.D. seniors that matched to pediatrics in categorical positions was 47.6%, a decrease of 7.2 percentage points from last year.

The number of categorical pediatric positions offered during Match Day has steadily increased in recent years, from 2,864 in 2020, 2,901 in 2021, 2,942 in 2022 and 2,986 in 2023. In those years, the number of categorical pediatrics positions filled has also increased, from 2,812 in 2020, 2,860 in 2021, 2,861 in 2022 and 2,900 in 2023.

AAP President Benjamin D. Hoffman, M.D., FAAP, welcomed those future pediatricians in a video message as medical students and graduates learned where they matched in pediatric residency programs.

“Congratulations on Match Day and welcome to the family,” Dr. Hoffman said. “Ever since I became a pediatrician, the American Academy of Pediatrics has been my home. This is where I learned to be an advocate, where I found strength, where I found mentorship and partnership, and we couldn’t be more happy to welcome you to the family.”

A former residency program director himself, Dr. Hoffman called on future pediatricians to help further the AAP’s mission and continue to be strong advocates for future generations of children everywhere.

“I know how wonderful residency training can be, but I also know how hard you’re going to work,” Dr. Hoffman said. “You have an opportunity over the next three years to learn everything you possibly can about being an amazing pediatrician. You’re also going to see some things, and it’s really important that we embrace our roles as advocates for kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics is here to help support you all along the way regardless of where you feel like your career is going to take you — primary care, subspecialty care, research, clinical work — every one of us needs to be there to make a difference for kids.

“My personal motto, my North Star, is to do what’s best for kids and we know that you as the next generation of pediatricians and the next leaders in the American Academy of Pediatrics are going to be there to do what’s best for kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics and especially our Section on Pediatric Trainees, which you’re going to become a member of, is always going to be here to help support you in your journey no matter where you go and what you do.”

A total of 50,413 applicants registered in the 2024 Main Residency Match, an all-time high and an increase of 2,257, or 4.7%, over last year. The rise in applicants was driven largely by an increase of 1,986 non-U.S. citizen international medical graduates and 623 osteopathic (DO) seniors over last year.

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