The gastroenterology fellowship Match: how it failed and why it could succeed once again

Gastroenterology. 2004 Aug;127(2):658-66. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2004.05.034.


The market for gastroenterology (GI) fellows adopted a centralized Match in 1986, and abandoned it in the late 1990s. We discuss why the Match initially was adopted, how and why it broke down, what differences this has made in the market for fellows, and what would be needed to restart the Match successfully. We assess the effects of the Match by comparing the GI fellows market now with when the Match was operating, and with the fellowship markets for internal medicine subspecialties that continue to use a Match. The breakdown of a well-functioning Match is rare, but may be caused by unusual shifts in market conditions, such as those experienced by gastroenterology in the late 1990s. The problems the gastroenterology Match originally was designed to solve re-emerged with the demise of the Match. The market has become more local and less national, than when there was a Match in place, and program recruitment of fellows occurs earlier and is more dispersed in time than internal medicine subspecialties that continue to use a Match. There is no evidence that the demise of the Match has had any effect on wages. The evidence strongly suggests that the Match could be reintroduced successfully, which would increase the mobility of potential GI fellows, allow potential fellows to compete for the widest range of programs, and allow programs to compete for the widest range of fellows.

MeSH terms

  • Antitrust Laws
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / economics
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / organization & administration*
  • Fellowships and Scholarships / economics
  • Fellowships and Scholarships / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Fellowships and Scholarships / organization & administration*
  • Gastroenterology / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / economics
  • Internship and Residency / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration*
  • Marketing
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits
  • United States