Implementation of a Specialty Society‒Sponsored Wilderness Medicine Fellowship Match

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Introduction Previously, wilderness medicine (WM) fellowships offered spots to applicants using an offer date. Due in part to increases in the number of WM fellowships and applicants, in 2021, the WM program directors (PDs) agreed to conduct the first WM fellowship match through the Wilderness Medical Society graduate medical education committee. This article outlines the process used and demonstrates its feasibility.

Methods To create an independent matching process, a simulation was performed using imaginary programs and participants. Using the same algorithm utilized by the National Resident Matching Program, this process was completed manually and by computer to ensure accuracy.

The PDs shared an email with the applicants they interviewed and submitted their names. Applicants registered for the match and generated a match list. The PDs then submitted a rank list of applicants they interviewed through a similar Google form.

These lists were used to run the matching algorithm both manually and by computer. Any programs that did not “fill” or applicants who did not “match” were contacted to participate in a secondary match.

Following the match, a survey was sent to PDs and participants for process improvement.

Results The match filled 11 of 14 participating programs and 15 of 19 applicants. The results obtained via a computer algorithm were consistent with multiple human validations. The survey results were mostly positive, with 2 neutral responses and no negative responses.

Conclusions The inaugural WM fellowship match was successful in matching the majority of programs and participants and was well-received by both directors and applicants.

Graduate medical education, Specialties matching service, National Resident Matching Program