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September 25, 1997

Econ professor helps to change residency matching system

The mathematical system used to match new doctors with available residency positions has been redesigned to be as fair as possible by Pitt economics professor Alvin Roth and Elliot Peranson of Toronto.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) is the way the vast majority of medical students and physicians secure residency positions.

In the match process, residency program directors choose and rank preferred candidates, while at the same time residency applicants are choosing and ranking their preferred programs. The two preferences are then matched using a mathematical formula or algorithm.

The NRMP has suffered a crisis of confidence in recent years, as participants became concerned about its fairness and efforts by some students and hospitals to beat the system.

"We changed the algorithm from one that basically favored hospitals, to one that favors applicants," Roth said. "There were many student organizations that had pressed for change."

Filed under: Feature,Volume 30 Issue 3

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