Joining Family Medicine via the Scramble

The AOA Scramble Overview

Back in February, Pixie wrote an article about the osteopathic options post-Match, and discussed whether those who found themselves un-Matched should consider pursuing Family Medicine. Afterwards, we reached out to a few fourth year students who experienced the scramble themselves, and Holly was happy to answer our questions.

Holly's ScrambleHolly’s Story

By the end of Match day, I had not only gotten an email stating “You did not match,” but three emails offering me positions in family medicine; I had applied to pediatrics programs. That evening I looked at the pediatrics programs that stated that they had open positions. The next day, I called them and was told either “We moved our open spots to the allopathic match” or “We have filled our spots.”  This meant that I had the option of waiting for the MD match for a pediatrics spot or scrambling into family medicine. At one of the pediatrics programs I interviewed at, that had both DO and MD residents, I was told by a DO resident “This is basically an MD residency. You won’t do OMT here because all of the attendings are MDs.”

I did not want to give up OMT during residency so I decided not to wait for the MD match and pursue my Scramble into Family Medicine.   I looked up Family Medicine Residencies that had open spots, picked a geographic area I was interested in, applied to the residency programs on ERAS and sent emails to them. I also responded to two programs that had reached out to me the previous day. The following morning I spoke with people from three residency programs about their program – and was accepted into another from my ERAS application.

I picked a Family Medicine Program that had many aspects that are important to me, including rural medicine, pediatrics and OMT.

FMS Interviews Holly

Did you consider family medicine prior to pursuing pediatrics? I was going into family medicine initially; I switched to pediatrics third year.

Did you primarily apply to dual-accredited programs? I applied to AOA and dual-accredited programs.

For pediatrics, did you feel you had enough interviews? Was it a surprise or a shock to not Match initially? I only had a few interviews due to a late letter of recommendation. I was not shocked that I did not match because my top pick was an early audition rotation; I was hesitant to commit to the program because I had more audition rotations. I realized how much I liked the program when comparing it to my [later] auditions.

As you’re now finishing fourth year and have had over two months to consider the Match & AOA Scramble is there any advice you would want to give to current third years as they approach the process themselves? If you have an early audition rotation that ends up being your favorite program, stay in contact with the people there. My top pick had no idea I had picked them, since I did not stay in contact after my rotation and interview. Make sure your ERAS application is complete (i.e. letters of recommendation) and that you fill out every section bragging on yourself – if you did community service, list every activity that you did. This advice was given to me at an interview, as I did not list all my activities, but listed my TOUCH award [for completing 50 or 100 hours of local community service during pre-clinical years], which the interviewer did not know anything about.

You mentioned OMT, pediatrics and rural medicine are very important to you – what kind of family practice do you envision yourself pursuing in the future? I plan on doing rural primary care with an emphasis in pediatrics and finding ways to incorporate OMT into my practice.

Any last bit of general wisdom or advice you want to share for upcoming third and fourth years considering Family Medicine as their career path? If you are considering family medicine, there are oodles of residencies out there. Pick a few things that matter to you and talk to the residency programs about [residency exposure] in those things.

Thank you Holly for talking with us!

If you scrambled or SOAP’d into FM this year we’d love to talk to you, too – please contact us!

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