Medical EducationOriginal Article

Evaluating the Influence of Research on Match Success for Osteopathic and Allopathic Applicants to Residency Programs

Christopher N. Matthews, OMS III, MBA; Danielle C. Estrada, OMS IV, MS; Mindy George-Weinstein, PhD; Kerin M. Claeson, PhD; and Michael B. Roberts, PsyD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: June 11, 2019

Accepted: July 15, 2019

Published: September 1, 2019

J Osteopath Med; 119(9): 588-596

Context: Analyzing factors that may enhance osteopathic applicants’ likelihood of matching is warranted given that United States osteopathic and allopathic residency programs will have a single accreditation system in 2020.

Objectives: To determine the impact of research accomplishments and experiences on osteopathic and allopathic residency matching.

Methods: Analysis of variance, t test, and odds ratios were used to examine data from the National Resident Matching Program Charting Outcomes from 2016 and 2018. Relationships between match status and medical degree, specialty matching, and mean numbers of research accomplishments and experiences in the Main Residency Match were analyzed.

Results: Matched osteopathic and allopathic applicants had significantly greater numbers of research accomplishments (mean [SD], 5.18 [4.34]) than unmatched applicants (3.66 [2.87]) (P=.006). Applicants who matched (mean [SD], 2.81 [1.64]) had similar numbers of research experiences to those who did not match (2.43 [1.26]) (P=.068). Matched and unmatched allopathic applicants’ research accomplishments (5.91 [3.72]) were significantly greater than that of osteopathic applicants (2.60 [2.90]) (P<.001). Significant differences also were found between the means of research experiences of matched and unmatched osteopathic (mean [SD], 1.73 [1.21]) and allopathic applicants (3.36 [1.25], P<.001). Matched and unmatched osteopathic applicants’ had similar means for research accomplishments (mean [SD], 3.00 [3.64] and 2.20 [1.84], respectively; P=.242) and experiences (1.79 [1.31] and 1.66 [1.12], respectively; P=.664). By contrast, significant differences were found between the numbers of research accomplishments for matched (mean [SD], 6.97 [4.07]) vs unmatched (4.86 [3.02]) allopathic applicants (P=.007). The only subspecialty for which research experiences of osteopathic applicants correlated with matching was physical medicine and rehabilitation (OR, 2.75; 95% CI, 1.30-5.84).

Conclusions: Research seems to have a greater influence on matching for allopathic than osteopathic applicants. Although both osteopathic and allopathic programs have standards pertaining to scholarly activity, allopathic medical schools may place a greater emphasis on research. Increasing osteopathic medical students’ exposure to research is predicted to enhance their competitiveness for matching and help develop skills relevant to the practice of evidence-based medicine.

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