On Match Day 2020, pediatrics filled 97.9% of all offered positions in the Main Residency Match, up from 97.3% in 2019. In the era of social distancing and coronavirus disease 2019, most celebrations moved online.
Categorical pediatrics filled 98.2%, and internal medicine-pediatrics filled 97.7% of all offered positions. In 2019, the numbers were 97.6% and 98.2%, respectively.
This year’s Match Day — when medical school students and graduates learn in which U.S. residency program they will train — was the largest to date, with 40,084 applicants for 37,256 positions. It also marked the first combined match of allopathic (M.D.) and osteopathic (D.O.) applicants.
AAP President Sara “Sally” H. Goza, M.D., FAAP, offered a message to future pediatricians.
“Due to coronavirus, medical school graduations and Match Day ceremonies are canceled, so I’d especially like to tell all newly matched pediatricians today that we are thrilled to welcome them to the pediatrics family,” she said.
Future residents held virtual group celebrations, some opening their notification emails in unison.
One tweeted: “Laptops are the new envelopes.” Another posted pictures of her apartment decorated with Match Day streamers and signs.
When Match Day festivities were cancelled at the University of South Carolina Greenville, the student government set up online features like Google Slides so participants could upload their news.
“It was all done in real time,” said Alexander Hartman, M.D. “Everyone was commenting on each other’s matches, frantically calling and messaging each other. We managed to maintain a lot of the communal celebration of it.”
Dr. Hartman matched to a program farther away than anyone else in his class: University of California San Francisco/Benioff Children’s Hospital. He applied to medical school determined to become a pediatrician when his daughter was born 4½
“It’s been pediatrics every step of the way,” said Dr. Hartman, who is advocacy co-chair for the AAP Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT). “Pediatricians are just the most important people in the world, in my opinion.”
No less excited, Rachael Cannon, M.D., at Trinity School of Medicine in the Caribbean had a different experience because her school doesn’t host a Match Day party. Third- and fourth-year students typically are away on clinical rotations or electives in Georgia or Maryland.
“We kind of communicate among ourselves, with Facebook, texts, etc.,” said Dr. Cannon, who is SOPT’s executive coordinator of Learning and Growth.
On Match Day, Dr. Cannon was home with her daughter when she learned her match. She texted her parents, posted a screenshot on Facebook and emailed friends about her upcoming residency at the Children’s Hospital at Palms West in Loxahatchee, Fla.
More first-year positions, growth in D.O.s
In this year’s match, the number of available first-year positions (PGY-1) climbed to 34,266, or 2,072 more positions than in 2019. This was partly due to the migration of osteopathic program positions into the Main Residency Match. The 6,581 D.O. seniors from the U.S. who submitted program choices represented an increase of 1,103 over last year. Of those, 90.7% matched to PGY-1 positions.
Increase in pediatrics positions
Pediatrics programs offered 2,864 categorical positions, 17 more than last year. There were 2,812 (98.2%) positions filled, and 60.4% were filled with U.S. M.D. seniors.
Primary care specialties
Of 34,266 first-year positions in the match, 17,135 were in the primary care specialties of family medicine, internal medicine, internal medicine-pediatrics, internal medicine-primary, pediatrics and pediatrics-primary. This marked a 7.4% increase over 2019. Of those, 95.4% were filled.
Specialties with more than 30 positions that filled allavailable positions were dermatology, medicine-emergency medicine, neurological surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation (categorical), integrated plastic surgery and thoracic surgery. The last three were in this category last year.
Specialties with more than 30 positions that filled more than 80% with U.S. M.D. seniors included medicine-pediatrics (81%).
Specialties with more than 30 positions that filled less than 45% with U.S. M.D. seniors were family medicine (33.1%), internal medicine-categorical (40.2%), pathology (33.8%), pediatrics-primary (39.1%) and surgery-preliminary (24.7%). All of these specialties were in this group in 2019 and 2018.
International students see jump
The number of U.S. citizen international medical school students and graduates (IMGs) submitting program choices climbed to 5,167, which was 87 more than in 2019. Sixty-one percent (3,154) matched to PGY-1 positions — the highest match rate since 1991.
There was a slight increase in non-U.S. citizen IMGs, which broke a three-year decline. This year, 6,907 IMGs submitted program choices, 38 more than in 2019. In addition, 4,222 IMGs (61.1%) matched to first-year positions; this was 2.5 percentage points higher than in 2019 — and the highest match rate since 1990.
This year, 1,897 applicants were offered participation in the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program to obtain an unfilled position, with results coming later in May.