Current state of the fellowship hiring process: Are we in 1957 or 2007?

By Anil Ranawat, MD; Ryan M. Nunley, MD; James W. Genuario, MD; Alok D. Sharan, MD; Samir Mehta, MD; and the Washington Health Policy Fellows

In 2005, approximately 90 percent of the 620 graduating orthopaedic residents matriculated into an orthopaedic subspecialty fellowship program. In January of that same year, the match process for two of the largest orthopaedic fellowship subspecialties—sports medicine and spine surgery—was dissolved by the National Resident Match Program (NRMP).

Both sports medicine and spine surgery matches collapsed due to factors that afflict most failing match programs: widespread cheating (such as offering and accepting positions outside the match), poor oversight, and ill-defined compliance regulations. Both matches fell well below the 75 percent program participation that the NRMP has set as the cutoff necessary for a match to be considered fair and effective.

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