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'Match Day' reveals many future doctors favor family medicine

March 18, 2011|By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
  • UC Irvine medical student Marco Angulo, 41, hugs his mother Maria Angulo while his father Manuel Angulo cries tears of joy. Angulo found out Thursday on Match Day that he had been matched with the UCI Medical Center.
UC Irvine medical student Marco Angulo, 41, hugs his mother Maria Angulo… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

"Match Day" is a sort of March Madness for med students. It's the time of year when seniors in medical schools throughout the country are matched with residency programs. Though the fine points of the process likely only matter to those craving a spot, the residency offerings do offer a glimpse of our future specialists, if not our general practitioners.

The not-for-profit National Resident Matching Program on Thursday placed more than 16,000 U.S. medical students in a record 26,000 residency programs. The group reports an 11% rise over 2010 in the number of family medicine positions; seniors filled half the 2,708 slots available nationwide.

Pediatrics and internal medicine are specialties that became more popular among students, as well as emergency medicine, anesthesiology and neurology.

And here are some other trends noted in this statement:

Dermatology, orthopaedic surgery, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, radiation oncology, thoracic surgery, and vascular surgery were the most competitive fields for applicants. At least 90 percent of those positions were filled by U.S. medical school seniors.

The number of U.S. medical school seniors in emergency medicine increased by 7 percent and grew for the sixth year in a row, as they filled 1,268 of the 1,607 first-year positions available.

Anesthesiology offered 44 more positions and matched 45 more U.S. seniors who filled 671 positions of the 841 offered."

From the sounds of it, we need these new doctors because we could be facing a shortage. Here's what this Los Angeles Times story says:

"The Assn. of American Medical Colleges has warned of a deficiency of up to 125,000 doctors by 2025. And it isn't the only group voicing concerns. The Health Resources and Services Administration, a federal agency that works to improve healthcare access for the uninsured, has projected that the supply of primary-care physicians will be adequate through 2020, at which point there will be a deficit of 65,560 physicians. The American Academy of Family Physicians estimates the need for almost 149,000 extra doctors by that year."

Now back to the people affected directly by Match Day. This Baltimore Sun story explains howone university, Johns Hopkins' medical school, incorporated a St. Patrick's Day vibe with the event:

"They dipped their hands into the plastic pots at the end of a rainbow made of balloons. The coins they pulled out were made of cardboard but bore secrets more precious than gold. Where would they spend the next three to 10 years of their lives?"

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