In 2012, 31,355 applicants vied for 24,034 available first-year residency positions, according to data released in March by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Of the U.S. senior medical students who were matched, 81.6 percent matched to one of their top three program choices. For students at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School who selected otolaryngology as their specialty, the rate was 100 percent: all five graduating seniors matched to one of their top residency program choices.

“Otolaryngology remains one of the most competitive specialties. Only about 40 percent of graduating seniors who apply will actually match into an otolaryngology residency program,” says Soham Roy, MD, FACS, FAAP, associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and director of undergraduate medical education for otolaryngology at McGovern Medical School. “The application process is arduous, time consuming and extremely stressful. The fact that all five of our graduating seniors matched speaks volumes about their dedication, drive and hard work. It also is a tribute to the quality of our mentoring process. We start working with our medical students in their third year, helping them select their rotations and guiding their research projects. I meet with our seniors weekly, providing guidance as they compile their academic credentials and accomplishments and write their essays and personal statements. We also review their applications. The fact that we’re beside them every step of the way improves their match outcomes.”

Last year, all nine graduating seniors who selected otolaryngology matched at their top choices, making this the third consecutive year the department had a 100 percent match rate. Conducted annually by the NRMP, the match uses a computerized mathematical algorithm to align the preferences of applicants to the preferences of residency programs to fill the residency training positions available at hospitals in the United States.

This year’s UTHealth student matches to otolaryngology residency programs are Irving Basanez, MD, Vanderbilt University; Roxanne Cano, MD, San Diego (Military); Johnny Mai, MD, George Washington University; Jaecel Shah, MD, McGovern Medical School; and Stefan Shuaib, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.