The Graduate Medical Education Compliance Project (GMECP)

Divergent Paths

Page created: 16 May 2018

Updated: 10 June 2018


Under construction





The typical placement into a residency program occurs towards the end of medical school, via a computerized ranking system that considers both the prospective resident’s ranking of programs and the program’s ranking of those that have interviewed with it. This is “The Match.” After that initial match and the beginning of residency, if there is an interruption in training before the 3-5+ year residency program has been completed, the yet-to-be board certified physician needs to finish a program somewhere, in some specialty, in order to become board eligible (qualified and able to sit for the board certification exams). While one may typically obtain a medical license after one year of residency training (two years for foreign medical graduates) and be a “general practitioner (GP),” the options for practice and income are limited.

On this page, we will explore taking a path that diverges from the norm, whether that is finding another residency program, taking a year to “do research,” finding work as a GP, working as an Assistant Physician, or other. (Please feel free to email stories, ideas, links and resources in order to help others.)

How do you find a different residency program when the one you matched into is no longer a viable option? (e.g. it’s toxic, it’s closing, you’re terminated, you want to change fields,…)


Residency search for Open Training Positions:

Association of Residency Program Directors, e.g. the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS)

This is a pay site. ?<$100 for 90 day access.

From their site: “Most comprehensive database of unfilled residency vacancies. In addition to openings that are posted directly on, or reported by the members, ResidentSwap continually monitors over 50 websites that publicly advertise openings. This makes ResidentSwap the largest single database of residency vacancies.”


ACGME program search at the top of the home page look for unfilled positions by specialty and program.






<links to articles/sites to physicians who have followed atypical paths to residency completion>



Assistant/Associate Physicians

What do you do if you can’t get into a residency at all – unable to “match” as apparently hundreds are unable to do, and thus unable to finish the one to two years (for FMGs) of residency required in order to acquire a state medical license to even work as a GP? <insert statistics, references>

Missouri is the first state to offer a practice track to non-residency trained, medical school graduate physicians.


The Association of Medical Doctor Assistant Physicians

From their site: “An Assistant Physician (In some states called an Associate Physician) is a new breed of provider.  These highly educated Doctors were specifically made to tackle the tasks of Primary Care in Medically Under Served Areas and work with a collaborating physician.  They have completed medical school, are nationally ECFMG/ACGME Certified, and are a great asset to any hospital, clinic, or urgent care facility.”


Missouri State Medical Association statement on the Assistant Physician Law. 

Excerpt: “Missouri’s Assistant Physician law, the first in the nation, allows medical school graduates who have passed the prescribed medical examinations and who have not entered into postgraduate residency training to serve as Assistant Physicians. The law took effect August 28, 2014, and rules were promulgated in early 2017.”



News coverage, Kansas City, Dec 2017.


Check out residencyrehab‘s page:




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