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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 154-159

Trends in the performance of Syrian physicians in the National Resident Matching Program® between 2017 and 2019

1 Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA
2 American Muslim Health Professionals, Chicago, Illinois, USA
3 Mayo Evidence Based Practice Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Muhammad Alsayid
Division of Gastroenterology, Rush University Medical Center, 1725 W. Harrison St. Suite 207, Chicago, IL 60612.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ajm.AJM_140_19

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Purpose: International medical graduates (IMGs) make up one-fourth of the physician workforce in the US and a significant proportion of them come from Syria. The aim of this study was to assess the performance of Syrian physicians seeking residency positions in the US and to examine the effects of visa restrictions on their Match outcome. Methods: An online survey administered to IMGs from Syria was used to probe their residency application characteristics as well as their experiences with visa restrictions. We evaluated the factors that affected their Match outcome and number of interviews offered to applicants. Results: A total of 223 IMGs from Syria completed the survey with an average match rate of 70.4% (76.6% in 2017 vs. 69.9% in 2018 vs. 64.4% in 2019). The proportion of applicants who required visas was 29.2%. In a multivariate analysis, higher USMLE Step 2CK score increased the match rate, whereas requiring a visa and failure in any USMLE exam decreased the match rate. Among those requiring visa, the match rate decreased from 78.6% in the cycle before the travel ban (2017) to 64.9% in the cycles following the travel ban (2018 and 2019) (P = 0.22). Similarly, the total number of interviews offered to these applicants decreased significantly following the travel ban (9.4 [7.5] vs. 6.2 [5.3], P = 0.04). Conclusion: Syrian IMGs seeking residency positions in the US have a higher match rate than non-US IMGs. Requiring a visa and failing any USMLE exam negatively impacted the match rate and number of interview invitations to Syrian applicants.

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