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Match Week: Reflecting on the Past, Looking toward the Future

March 04, 2021

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From the President


Robert A. Cain, DO 
President and CEO
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine


Like many of us, there are times when I sit back and reflect on my career and life path. Certainly, on the road to becoming a doctor, there are many standout moments: taking the MCAT, getting my first acceptance letter, celebrating commencement, entering residency training and seeing my first patient. While I look back fondly at these milestones, at the time, they came with a mixture of excitement, anticipation and stress. All our fourth-year medical students about to go through the Match process can certainly relate to that! Let me assure you, no matter the twists and turns that may come later this month, your goal of becoming a physician is in reach.

There is no doubt that the Match process is a major step in one’s medical journey. Some of our students have already gone through the military match, urology match or San Francisco match, but most will be participating in the 2021 National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Main Residency Match. For just the second year, DO graduates will be participating under the fully implemented single graduate medical education system. While these are still somewhat uncharted waters, we are confident that we will continue to build on the success of last year’s inaugural single match. In 2020, the largest number of osteopathic students ever participated in the Match and we saw a match rate of 90.7 percent, with a 99.29 percent placement rate. We already know this year’s Match is going to be even larger and more competitive, but we have every expectation that our DO students will once again achieve success.

For students and their families, it is important to remember that Match stress does not always end Monday afternoon, March 15, when you receive that initial email. Yes, we hope the vast majority of our students will be notified that they’ve matched with a program, but we know that won’t be the case for everyone. Do not panic, do not be afraid and be prepared. For those who do not initially match, the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) is in place to help unmatched applicants find unfilled positions still available.

Throughout the Match process, AACOM will be here as a resource for the osteopathic medical education community. Our Match Resource Center will be frequently updated with information, tips and advice for students navigating Match Week. For those who enter the SOAP process, I encourage you to look for programs with Osteopathic Recognition. These are programs that are committed to providing education and training focused on osteopathic principles and practices. Once Match Week ends, keep checking the resource center page for updates. AACOM will continue to do everything we can to ensure our DO students are set up for a successful residency.

While the days leading up to Match Week are undoubtedly stressful for our students, this is also a time to celebrate their accomplishments. Match Week is a culmination of incredibly hard work during our students’ undergraduate and medical school careers. The current class, especially, has faced unprecedented challenges and obstacles, and yet they have stayed the course. We can all be very proud of their efforts and those of our schools to adapt and adjust during this pandemic year. I am proud of each and every one of you and look forward to all that you will go on to accomplish.


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Vol. 1, No. 4
February 23, 2017