A Flood of Applicants Vied for OHSU’s 153 Residency Slots

08/21/09  Portland, OR

OHSU’s highly rated graduate medical education programs drew a record number of applications this year from students completing MD programs across the country

The competition for the 153 open slots in Oregon Health & Science University’s highly rated graduate medical education (GME) programs was the stiffest in OHSU history.

“These results once again demonstrate that OHSU programs are among the very best in the country and attract the most competitive students from around the nation” said Donald E. Girard, MD, OHSU associate dean for graduate medical education and continuing medical education. “It is encouraging this year that the number of graduating medical school students who have decided to pursue careers in the primary care disciplines appears to be on the rise.”

“There are provisions in the newly enacted federal health care legislation that lay a foundation for increasing the number of primary care training positions at institutions with strong primary care programs, like OHSU. While much more must be done to reverse health care workforce shortages, this is a good start,” said Mark Richardson, MD, MScB, MBA, dean of the OHSU School of Medicine.

OHSU’s primary care education program was ranked third in the country last year by U.S. News & World Report.

OHSU has the largest GME training program in Oregon with a total of 582 interns and residents.
After receiving their MD degrees, all physicians go on to participate in an in-hospital GME program known as a residency to train in a specialty of their choice. Each year as senior residents complete their training and leave, slots open up for new residents. In addition, there are 199 physicians at OHSU on postgraduate medical fellowships for training beyond their residencies to hone skills in narrower specialties.      

Twenty-eight of OHSU’s graduating fourth-year MD students will remain at OHSU for their GME training. They will join the scores of newly minted physicians from around the country who have been drawn to OHSU’s nationally respected GME programs.

OHSU’s graduate medical education ranks 10th in the nation for in-state retention of residents and more than half of the new physicians completing their residencies at OHSU – which includes out-of-state physicians drawn here by the quality of its training programs – remain in Oregon to practice.
One-third of all Oregon licensed physicians, in fact, completed all or part of their education at OHSU.

Among the 28 OHSU fourth-year undergraduate MD students remaining at OHSU for his residency is Sharl S. Azar, a Portland native and Lewis & Clark College graduate, who has won an invitation to do his residency in internal medicine at OHSU. He interviewed at nine other medical centers including several in the East. But in the end OHSU was his top choice.  “I was looking for a program that felt right to me. I know the internal medicine department at OHSU. I’ve gotten to work with a broad spectrum of the internal medicine faculty during two rotations and a sub-internship here and I just loved them. I think there’s a lot more I can learn from them. They’re amazing mentors, people I hope to stay in touch with the rest of my life. That’s what sealed the deal for me.”

OHSU’s primary care residencies – those in internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics – drew the most applicants overall. More than 3,900 applications for 63 primary care residency slots came in from graduating medical students across the country. The internal medicine program attracted the largest number –1,443 – for 31 slots. Pediatrics filled 13 slots from 700 applications. OHSU’s family medicine residency program in Portland, which had 10 open slots, drew 873 applications from students attending over 80 medical schools. Of those 116 were granted interviews. The OHSU family medicine program in Klamath Falls winnowed through 856 applications for eight slots. And there were 30 applications for two slots in the combined family medicine and preventive medicine and public health program.

Other residency programs that attracted large numbers of applicants included the general surgery program which drew 917 applications for 18 slots, emergency medicine 854 for 10 slots, psychiatry 840 for eight slots, anesthesiology 805 for 12 slots, diagnostic radiology 595 for six slots, orthopaedics 546 applications for five slots, Ob/Gyn 516 applications for seven slots, pathology 464 for five slots, dermatology 400 for five slots, neurology 326 for five slots,  otolaryngology 298 for three slots, neurosurgery 228 for two slots, and urology 162 for one slot.

Some 16,000 U.S. allopathic medical school seniors – including this year’s 128 OHSU School of Medicine seniors – and 15,000 graduates of osteopathic, Canadian or foreign medical schools were vying this year for approximately 24,000 residency positions across the country.   

About OHSU
Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only health and research university, and Oregon’s only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government). OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.