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Chancellor Collins, colleagues propose reforms to medical residency matching program

UMass Medical School Communications

March 25, 2019

Chancellor Michael F. Collins and UMass Medical School colleagues have called for reforms to ensure the integrity of the medical residency program selection process.

Reforms are needed to ensure the integrity of the medical residency program selection process, according to commentary in the journal Academic Medicine by Chancellor Michael F. Collins and colleagues at UMass Medical School. The authors cite violations of National Residency Matching Program policy during residency interviews, such as women being asked whether they are on birth control and if they have a partner who will support them financially, and applicants being prodded to disclose what order they ranked programs of interest.

“These ‘match games’ reveal how the current process falls short of medicine’s high standards. The match process should not place future physicians in ambiguous or awkward situations and, rather, ought to serve as a model of the honesty, transparency and integrity that patients expect from their care providers,” Chancellor. Collins said. “Residency training is pivotal in a physician’s medical career—determining where they will live and work, often for the duration of their medical careers; the populations they will care for; and the specialty in which they will develop deep skill and expertise.”

The commentary was written by Sonia Chimienti, MD, associate professor of medicine, vice provost for student life and enrollment and associate dean for student affairs; Deborah DeMarco, MD, professor of medicine, senior associate dean for clinical affairs and associate dean for the graduate medical education; Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine; and Collins. They recommend a series of reforms, including:

  • stronger enforcement of NRMP rules restricting questions about how students and residency programs rank their choices;
  • a prohibition on any post-interview communication between students and programs;
  • the elimination of second-look days for residency programs, which students are often pressured to attend, causing them to incur an unnecessary financial burden; and,
  • the creation of an anonymous system by which violations of its own policies could be reported to an objective ombudsman to help students navigate challenging situations.

Read the full commentary at: Assuring Integrity in the Residency Match Process