The number of unmatched U.S. citizens is unprecedentedly high with more than 15,000 unmatched candidates last year. This is a human resource that is ready to join residency programs and practice medicine. Many of our unmatched American MD’s are devastated with huge amount of student loans and years invested to go through many years of education without being matched to a residency program.
I am a Fulbright alumnus and graduate of a medical school in Afghanistan with Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of Arizona. I have fulfilled all requirements of USMLE step exams and ECFMG certified. I am well integrated and working in the U.S. healthcare system as a clinical research specialist handling multiple clinical trials. Previously, I worked with Southern Arizona Gastroenterology as Clinical Assistant involved in phase-1 clinical trial and Colorectal cancer surveillance screening. I also assisted the GI specialist in reviewing biopsy results and communicating with patients regarding lab results and follow-ups. Despite all the efforts and experience in clinical research and working in the healthcare system, I did not match last year.
Unfortunately, the majority of residency programs focus on limited and specific criteria to filter out all other candidates who bring many other skills to the healthcare practices; such as evidence-based research skills, leadership, better communication, and culturally sensitive skills. As U.S.citizens, we have no other options other than working and serving our country in healthcare.
We strongly urge the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to conduct a fair research and reassess the selection criteria and matching system given the fact that many unmatched U.S. citizens are left unsupported and lack alternative career options who have invested their precious years of life and dollars to become physicians in their own country. This is a great opportunity to address the shortage of physicians in our country and integrate them in the healthcare system as they are ready with fully accomplished residency requirements.