Medical ‘Match Day’ Hampered by Travel Ban

For some medical students, getting a yes or no today is more important than finding the right life partner.

Today was Match Day, the annual day of the year when medical students found out which medical institution accepted them for a residency program. It’s the step that follows four years of undergraduate work at medical school, and provides practical training in one of 21 specialties over three to five years.

This year, the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) that organizes the match, said the program was impacted by President Trump’s Executive Order that bans citizens from six Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the U.S.

“The consequences of the [January 27] Executive Order are far reaching for match applicants, and the upheaval it is causing is extensive,” stated NRMP Chair Maria C. Savoia, M.D., and Chief Executive Officer Mona M. Signer in a statement. “The affected applicants have worked hard for many years to achieve their goal of becoming physicians, and they should not be denied that opportunity because of a blanket policy that does not consider the individual.”

While federal courts have put a temporary halt to the travel ban, immigrants or student holding visas have been delayed or rejected at the border.  Students who travel home on holidays or breaks fear they won’t return in time to the U.S. for school or programs. Medical programs typically start July 1.

“U.S. training programs should be able to select applicants based on their excellent character and qualifications, without regard to nationality. Both applicants and programs benefit from an orderly process for entry into graduate medical education,” said Savoia and Signer. “The Executive Order disrupts that process very considerably.”

Institutions who have a specific number of slots for these students worry their matches will be unable to start the program on time, said NRMP’s Signer.

“It seems likely that residency program directors will be reluctant to rank J-1 visa applicants because they may not be able to enter the country to begin training,” she said.

Almost 36,000 U.S. and international medical school students and graduates competed for the approximate 32,000 Match Day positions.

Fewer non-U.S. citizen “international medical school graduates,” or IMGs, submitted program choices this year: 7,284 in 2017 vs. 7,460 in 2016. However, a greater percentage (52.4 percent) were matched with institutions, said NRMP, the highest match rate since 2005.

About 1,800 IMGs enrolled in accredited residency and fellowship programs in the U.S. are impacted by the travel ban, according to Thomas J. Nasca, M.D. and  CEO for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

“These physicians are providing much needed medical care to a conservatively estimated 900,000 patients in urban, suburban and rural communities across the country annually. They are a too valued and welcomed group of colleagues,” he wrote in a statement.

“Many communities, including rural and low-income areas, often have problems attracting physicians to meet their health care needs. To address these gaps in care, IMGs often fill these openings,” wrote American Medical Association CEO CEO, Dr. James Madara last month. “These physicians are licensed by the same stringent requirements applied to U.S. medical school graduates.”

“The medical education community must support all international medical graduates and their families during these difficult times,” echoed NRMP’s statement.



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Kathleen Struck


  1. May 16, 2013 another Clinton wanting to establish another Clinton administration declared “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere,” Clinton told Banco Itau, a Brazilian bank, on May 16, 2013. The American nationalists defeated her campaign in our national election. Today international globalists are mounting a vicious negative campaign to rob us of our dignity and sovereignty through and with hatred and fear mongering. We have the right to choose representation and a leader. We have the right to petition those representatives or vote them out of office. BUT we also have the right to be protected from civil disobedience and violence and violations of federal laws including immigration law. . States are still subject to the constitutional supreme law of the land. Monitor the government all you can, comment all you like, but leave the congress and justice department to investigate allegations of criminal wrongs and bad actors. No students with valid appropriate identification and a visa are banned by our Presidents E.O from joining my daughter at a U.C. campus where she enjoys mentoring for any and all newbies she meats.

  2. We welcome these students to take advantage of our schools, then they don’t want to leave to take jobs at home, they want to stay here forever, most of them taking jobs from citizens. It’s bad enough that a quarter of the students are non-citizens, but then there are enough positions for only 89% of the students. There are 7200 non-citizens vying for them! There are 4,000 students who will not be placed. If citizens & non-citizens are selected proportionately, 3,000 of the citizens will not be placed. What happens to their careers after all that schooling? The non-citizens can just go home and take jobs (like they probably agreed to when they were allowed into the U.S.) But our own kids? It sounds like a dead end. Isn’t it time we took care of our own first?! This is one of the things Trump supporters are complaining about, non-citizens coming here and taking our jobs.
    Now if hospitals were forced to take ALL applicants, there would end up being more doctors. If there were more doctors, perhaps their salaries would come down a little and people could afford to see them!

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