The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) is pleased to announce plans to collect applicant demographic data beginning with the 2022 Main Residency Match. This decision, approved by the NRMP Board of Directors at its January 2021 meeting, supports the current strategic planning efforts of the organization to build a robust research agenda, improve the value of the Match for participants, and advance the NRMP’s mission to provide meaningful and transparent data on Match outcomes and workforce trends.
The decision to collect applicant demographic data involved careful and judicious consideration by the Board with pursuit of feedback from the GME community. At its May 2020 meeting, in response to calls from the community to consider the matter, the NRMP Board engaged in a robust discussion about the merits of broadening NRMP’s current data collection methods to include demographic data. Given the highly consequential nature of the decision, the NRMP then administered a public comment survey in September 2020 to elicit community perceptions about the risks and benefits associated with the data collection. More than 500 individuals responded to the survey, uniformly voicing support. Lastly, in October 2020, the NRMP reached out to a dozen national learner organizations including the AAMC Organization of Student Representatives, Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, and the Student Osteopathic Medical Association to solicit their perspectives given the learner groups they represent. Again, responses were uniformly positive, with many citing the need for NRMP to lead efforts that present the current state of diversity in medicine and promote more equity in the matching process.
It must be stated clearly that while the collection of demographic data can inform the current and future state of the transition to residency, such data shall
- never be incorporated in any way into the matching algorithm;
- never be identifiable or disaggregated for the public;
- never be provided directly to programs;
- never be required with no opt-out provision, as part of Match registration
The NRMP has a distinguished record of collecting and reporting data that informs the graduate medical education community, and we believe this new endeavor will only strengthen the service we provide. Applicant demographic data collection will commence in September 2021 when registration opens for the 2022 Main Residency Match, and we will expand demographic data collection to the fellowships under our Specialties Matching Service in late 2021 and beyond.