Most Medical School Graduates Get The Resident Education Required For Licensure

Henry Sondheimer, MD Senior director of student affairs American Association of Medical Colleges

Dr. Sondheimer Interview with:
Henry Sondheimer, MD

Senior director of student affairs
American Association of Medical Colleges

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Sondheimer: The background for this study in JAMA’s Med Ed issue of December 8th is that a group of the medical schools’ deans asked us (AAMC staff) in 2014 whether there was a differential in placement of African-American, Hispanic, and Native American graduates into Graduate Medical Education at the time of their graduation from medical school. In fact, as shown in this short paper, there is a difference with more current graduates from the under-represented in medicine graduates not beginning their GME immediately post-graduation. However, over time this difference diminishes substantially but does not disappear completely.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Sondheimer: As we looked at this issue, we uncovered data that showed that overall, and within subgroups, that in spite of the growth in U.S. M.D. graduates, the percent of graduates not beginning their GME the year they graduated has remained very stable around 3%. In addition, by following the graduates out for 8-10 years more than 99% enter GME or begin practice in some other way (e.g. the MD/DDS graduates get their GME in the dental GME programs but appear as practitioners after their training although we never see them in traditional medical GME). However, this study does not evaluate either the technical, cultural, or knowledge capacity of our graduates, only their placement into GME. Further research will hopefully allow us the ability to capture their skills as practitioners.

I believe that practitioners and clinicians should be reassured from his study that very few M.D. graduates are not getting the GME they need for licensure after they graduate from medical school at this time. We have taken a look at those graduates who never appear in GME or in the practice data bases, but more about that in another paper.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Sondheimer: For future research, we need to expand this work to include the graduates of the U.S. D.O. schools as these schools have also experienced significant growth over the past decade. By 2019, the AAMC estimates that MD-granting schools will increase enrollment by 30 percent over 2002, while DO-granting schools will experience a 162 percent increase in enrollment. Ultimately, it would be ideal to expand the research even farther to include both U.S. citizen and non-citizen graduates of international medical schools who aspire to do their GME in the United States.


Sondheimer HM, Xierali IM, Young GH, Nivet MA. Placement of US Medical School Graduates Into Graduate Medical Education, 2005 Through 2015. JAMA.2015;314(22):2409-2410. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.15702.

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Henry Sondheimer, MD (2015). Most Medical School Graduates Get The Graduate Education Required For Licensure 

Last Updated on December 9, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD