Newswise — ATLANTA – The American College of Rheumatology is pleased to announce another successful recruitment season and welcomes this impressive pool of applicants to the field of rheumatology. 75 percent of the eligible candidates interested in adult rheumatology and 96 percent of eligible applicants interested in pediatric rheumatology were matched to fellowship programs for the 2023 appointment year as part of the annual National Residents Matching Program (NRMP).
Rheumatology leaders again noticed a stark contrast when looking at the percentage of available adult and pediatric fellowship slots that were filled. Whereas the adult programs filled 97.8 percent of their available slots, the pediatric programs only filled 62.8 percent, signaling a need to increase interest in pediatric rheumatology. While the number of adult fellowship matches has seen a steady increase over the past five years, interest from candidates has continued to exceed the number of available positions, suggesting ongoing opportunity to expand fellowship training opportunities. Continuing to make progress in these areas will be important given the workforce shortage projections identified in ACR’s 2015 workforce study.
“This year was the first time that the adult and pediatric fellowship Match dates aligned, allowing participants the opportunity to apply to and rank both adult and pediatric training programs in a single rank list by a dual-trained applicant or by a couple. This change has been welcome, as it facilitates the application process for a number of candidates,” said Beth Marston, MD, chair of the American College of Rheumatology’s (ACR) Committee on Training and Workforce Issues (COTW).
“Unfortunately, we continue to see limited numbers of applications for pediatric rheumatology fellowship positions, with 27 applicants filling only 26 of a possible 43 total positions. Other pediatric specialties such as pediatric pulmonology, nephrology, infectious disease, and endocrinology also had a significant number of unfilled positions; in contrast, the relatively new field of pediatric hospital medicine filled nearly all open positions, which may hint at the goals and training interests of current pediatric applicants. Many potential barriers have been suggested, including inadequate exposure and mentorship within these specialties, long periods of required training, and lower ultimate compensation for pediatric specialists, which might be targets for future work to improve our pediatric specialty workforce,” continued Marston.
“The adult rheumatology workforce also remains threatened, with ongoing national efforts by the ACR’s Workforce Solutions Committee to increase fellowships and fellowship positions, particularly in geographically underserved areas. Because a substantial number of applicants have remained unmatched over the last several years, any increase in the number of available fellowship positions is likely to continue to directly affect the future physician workforce within rheumatology,” Marston concluded.
In addition to efforts to continue to increase fellowship positions, the ACR continues to work to create new mechanisms to increase exposure to rheumatology earlier in training, to understand barriers to training in pediatric and combined internal medicine and pediatrics rheumatology, and to support programs and program directors as they navigate curricular and regulatory changes.
The NRMP, established in 1952 at the request of medical students, uses a computerized, mathematical algorithm to align the preferences of applicants and program directors to fill training positions available at teaching hospitals in the United States. Full details of the 2022 Match Day results for adult and pediatric fellowships can be found online here.
About the American College of Rheumatology
Founded in 1934, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is a not-for-profit, professional association committed to advancing the specialty of rheumatology that serves nearly 8,500 physicians, health professionals, and scientists worldwide. In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatology professionals are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. For more information, visit www.rheumatology.org.