Match report sheds light on credentials needed to secure residencies
Osteopathic medical students who are wondering whether they have the credentials and scores to match into particular AOA-approved specialty residencies now have a resource they can tap—Osteopathic GME Match Report 2009, published this fall by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM).
For each of 21 specialties, the report presents data from 2009 on graduates who matched into their first-choice residencies and those who did not snag their first choice. The measures include scores and passing rates on the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX)—USA and the depth of research, volunteer and other experiences logged by those who matched.
Graduates who secured first-choice matches into diagnostic radiology residencies, for example, had the highest mean score on COMLEX-USA Level 1—570. In contrast, those matching into psychiatry had the lowest mean score for Level 1—441. Family medicine residents had the broadest range of scores on this exam component: a low of 231 to a high of 722.
Source: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
While 92.9% of graduates matching into either family medicine or internal medicine passed COMLEX-USA Level 2-Performance Evaluation (PE) on the first attempt, only 70% of the psychiatry residents did so. Those matching into the two most competitive specialties as defined by the number of first-choice applicants per position—ophthalmology and anesthesiology—had perfect first-attempt passing rates for all three components of COMLEX.
Trainees who matched into neurological surgery had the most research and publishing experience but the least volunteer experience. In comparison, those matching into opthlalmology residencies volunteered the most.
“The report is a great tool for students to see the relative competitiveness of each specialty and what scores and experiences they would need to match into certain specialties,” notes Cristin John Mathew, OMS IV, who attends the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine—Virginia Campus in Blacksburg.
Mathew says that the report reinforced his decision to specialize in orthopedic surgery and provided guidance on the relative weight orthopedic surgery residencies place on research and volunteer experience.
The report will be even more useful for students in the first two years of osteopathic medical school, as they allocate their time toward studying for COMLEX-USA, volunteering for community service projects and medical missions, and other activities, Mathew says.
Not just primary care
Beyond the statistics on graduates matching into particular specialties, “the OGME match report provides a positive glimpse of the profession’s big picture,” says Joseph L. Borup, OMS III, a student at the A. T. Still University of Health Sciences-Kirksville (Mo.) College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Before entering med school on a naval scholarship, Borup served the U.S. Navy as a hospital administrator, liaison for graduate medical education, and point of contact for all active-duty personnel interested in becoming physicians. “Many people I dealt with had the mistaken idea that all osteopathic physicians go into primary care,” Borup points out. “In the match report, the profession has an excellent resource for promoting the profession to premed students because it shows the number of DOs entering a wide range of specialties, from anesthesiology to otolaryngology and facial plastic surgery.”