A primary strategic goal for the NRMP Board of Directors is to engage NRMP data independently and through partnership in research that tackles hard questions facing the transition to residency.  Several initiatives already are underway, and findings will inform and support initiatives that improve the experience for all stakeholders.

External Collaborations. Since 2021, the NRMP has established partnerships with a variety of organizations to better understand and clarify the transition process.

+ Preference Signaling. As part of the 2021 Main Residency Match season, Otolaryngology launched a preference signaling pilot to understand how applicant preferences for training programs, as reflected in a “signal” to said programs, might impact interview opportunities.  The NRMP worked with the Organization of Program Directors in Otolaryngology (OPDO) leadership in late 2020 to ensure appropriate structure of and communication about the pilot program so that Match policies were not violated. In fall 2021, the NRMP entered into a research partnership with OPDO leadership and staff from the AAMC to explore the impact, if any, preference signaling has on Match outcomes.  Work is underway to finalize analyses and prepare a manuscript for publication that reveals the applicant characteristics, post interview, most prioritized by programs during ranking.

+ Inappropriate Communication During Recruitment. In late 2020, the NRMP created a partnership with the Alliance of Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM) to examine the prevalence of inappropriate and illegal communication between fellowship programs and applicants during the recruitment process.  

A decision was made to expand that partnership to include leadership of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors (APPD) so that the assessment could include both internal medicine and pediatric fellowship candidates, the two largest combined Fellowship Matches. The partnership continued throughout 2021 and into 2022, and a workgroup is developing a manuscript for publication that will inform program interviewing teams on best practices.

+ Same-state Locality and Match Outcomes. In 2021, NRMP partnered with Thalamus, GME, a cloud-based graduate medical education interview scheduling software platform, to provide Match outcome data for an examination of characteristics driving conversions of interviews to matches in Anesthesiology. Findings indicated that same-state interviewees could reduce their number of interviews while maintaining the same odds of matching. To add to that evidence base, NRMP and Thalamus extended the partnership in 2022 to examine the role of geography in ranking and matching to the three primary care specialties:  Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics. A manuscript has been submitted for publication.

+ IMGS Fulfilling Training Commitments. With the onset of COVID, the ability of international medical graduates, critical contributors to the physician workforce, to gain the clearances needed to enter and remain in the United Sate for training was in jeopardy.  As a result, the NRMP built a partnership with the ECFMG to provide Match outcomes that could be shared with the Department of State and serves to advocate for IMG matriculation for training.

Internal Studies.  The NRMP also is leveraging its own data in new ways to contribute to a better-informed community.

+ Publication about Sustained Partnerships.  In 2021, the NRMP published an article in Academic Medicine commemorating the inaugural Single Match in 2020 and reflecting back on the organization’s history, it’s long-standing partnerships with stakeholders, and its unwavering commitment to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the community.  The article highlighted the NRMP’s efforts in 2012 to create a Scramble Work Group to devise the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®), expand its reporting and modify its Board governance structure between for greater osteopathic involvement, and build modern resources (conference, smartphone app) to keep constituents connected. 

+ Revamp of Applicant and Program Director Surveys. Although usually issued biennially, the NRMP elected as part of the 2021 Main Residency Match to simultaneously issue the Applicant and Program Director Survey to examine virtual experiences as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  A Research Brief outlining findings was published in summer 2021.  In 2022, both surveys were issued again, this time with a section added to the Program Director Survey targeting utilization of holistic review during recruitment.  The two-year Research Brief was published in summer 2022.

+ Implementation of Applicant Demographic Data Collection. In 2022, the NRMP launched applicant demographic data collection from both residency and fellowship applicants.  Collecting the data provides the NRMP with primary source data, consented for use in research and analysis, that allows for a more comprehensive understanding of who is transitioning to residency, what is happening during the recruitment period, and how outcomes might be affected by demographic factors.  The NRMP achieved an 87% consent rate for use of research and is building the inaugural report to present demographic data and Match outcomes by preferred specialty.  As the data mature, NRMP will begin to collaborate with others to incorporate information about applications, interviews, etc., to develop a more complete view of the whole transition.

Looking Ahead.  The NRMP is excited about initiatives on the horizon and how those initiatives will bring forth new collaborations.

+ The Unmatched Applicant. In late 2022, the NRMP will initiate efforts to establish a comprehensive approach to evaluating and understanding the journey of the unmatched applicant. Study design will focus on applicant type, demographic profile, preferred specialty, and Match and/or SOAP outcomes.  

+ Match Outcomes and Performance on ACGME Milestones. Also in late 2022, the NRMP intends to collaborate with the ACGME to better understand the readiness of applicants for training and their trajectory through residency/fellowship.


If you have questions about NRMP matching services or any information contained in this report, please send us an email. We'd love to hear from you!


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