Rationale and Objectives: Anecdotal reports have recently surfaced of an increase in the number of US senior diagnostic radiology (DR)–bound residency applicants who did not secure a preliminary year position through the Main Resident Match (the Match) of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), so-called “partial matches.” This study sought to determine the scope of this phenomenon and address potential causes and solutions. Materials and Methods: Publicly available and proprietary data from the National Resident Matching Program were analyzed from 2005-2016 to determine the number of partially matched US senior applicants, selectivity of DR residency training, availability of preliminary year positions, number of unique preliminary year applicants, distribution of preliminary year matches by successfully matched applicants in relevant specialties (DR, anesthesiology, dermatology, neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and radiation oncology), and percentage of categorical training programs participating in the Match. Results: Since 2012, there has been a trend toward an increase in the number of partially matched US senior DR applicants, with a transitory recovery in the 2015 Match. Although possible explanations for this increase are proposed, a definitive etiology remains elusive. Strategies to offset this phenomenon include advising perceived at-risk applicants to apply more broadly to preliminary year positions, creating more categorical training positions, abolishing the preliminary year requirement, and drawing high-caliber medical students to the field. Conclusions: Although a definitive explanation for a recent increase in partial matches remains elusive, strategies exist for DR applicants, residency programs, and the DR academic community to minimize this risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging