The Integrated Plastic Surgery Match For International Medical Graduates
Joseph M. Firriolo, MD, Laura C. Nuzzi, BA, Catherine T. McNamara, BS, Brian I. Labow, MD.
Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
PURPOSE: Plastic Surgery continues to be one of the most competitive specialties in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) Main Residency Match, particularly for international medical graduates (IMGs). The purpose of this study is to determine the factors critical for IMGs to successfully match into Integrated Plastic Surgery programs.
METHODS: We performed a literature review and sought official statistics from the NRMP. As a research group with recent success in matching an IMG, this information was augmented with our own experience.
RESULTS: Sixty English language articles were identified from a PubMed query, of which no articles met inclusion criteria. We did however include a recent abstract from a national Plastic Surgery meeting, NRMP Data Reports from 2010-2018, and NRMP Charting Outcomes reports from 2016 and 2018. From 2010-2018, the median number of matched IMGs was 3 (range, 0-7) for a total of 168 potential spots. The majority of successful IMGs were European. In comparison to US Allopathic seniors, successful IMGs tend to be older and more likely to have completed postgraduate clinical training and/or dedicated research time. Per the NRMP, the average number of abstracts, presentations, and publications was 55.7 for successful IMGs in 2016 - more than double that of matched American applicants. Interestingly, successful IMGs tended to have lower USMLE Step 1 scores.
CONCLUSIONS: Although a difficult process, each year a few IMGs match into US Plastic Surgery (Integrated) programs. Mentorship, US clinical experience, USMLE performance, and research experience represent avenues by which IMGs may strengthen their applications.
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