While the process of applying to residency can be very stressful, there are resources available through the American Osteopathic Association (AOA®) that make finding residencies a breeze. Researching residencies can be a fun way to kill time. I have found that it gives me something to work for, giving test taking and studying some semblance of purpose. With a fresh batch of third years in the hospitals, I was surprised to see how many didn’t know about various web sites and search engines for AOA-approved residencies. So, this post is just a friendly reminder of what resources are available to make your life a little easier.
The AOA website maintains an “opportunities database” that you may use to search for AOA residencies and internships. You can elect to search by both specialty and location. Another really nice feature of the Opportunities page is that is allows users to search only dual AOA/ACGME accredited programs. Search results include an information page for each program that includes all of the program specifics like salary, call schedules, and first-time board pass rates. Each program page also houses contact information for the program as well as a link to that program’s website. This Opportunities search is a one-stop shop for searching residencies. But, it would not be from the AOA if there were not at least one trick – before you click search, be sure to select residency and not internship. Clicking internship will return results for only traditional rotating years.
The AOA website also has a list of all the new AOA-approved residency programs that are opening for the year. Some of these programs do not have a page yet on the Opportunities search. Those that do are automatically linked from the new residency page to the Opportunities website. What I like about this list is that it really shows the direction in which osteopathic residencies are going. The AOA is making a large push to start fellowships for osteopathic graduates, and this page lets you browse the work that is being done.
The AOA site also offers a Post-Match index. This page is the osteopathic version of the scramble. This site allows programs with unfilled positions to advertise. Many students rely on this page to gauge what residencies are more competitive than others. Specialties like family medicine have openings from PGY-1 to PGY-3 whereas urology and orthopedic surgery are full throughout the country. While hopefully all you will match into you first choice programs, it does not hurt to take a look at this page before match day. It is set up in a way that allows you to search by specialty, location, and program year openings. The specialty search lists both residency and fellowship openings.
Hopefully most of you already knew about these web pages and this article serves as a little review. For those of you that didn’t already know these pages existed, take some time to look over what they have to offer. I promise they make searching for an osteopathic residency much easier than Googling “medicine residency.” Don’t let the process of looking at residencies add stress to your life; it should be fun. Use these pages as the carrot at the end of a stick.