An Open Letter to APMA Members: Podiatric Residency Positions

April 9, 2013

Dear APMA Members,

Our profession is justly dismayed that 104 qualified graduates were unable to match with a residency program this spring. APMA leaders share your frustration. As an attending physician and active participant in the residency program at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, I personally know how heartbreaking it is to see the youngest members of our profession struggling.

This situation is unacceptable, and APMA recently shared with you the ways in which the association and CPME are working to address the problem. I am writing to share with you how you can—and must—be part of the solution.

Let's take a look at the numbers: More than 50 positions already approved by CPME were not filled during the 2013 match because those programs, for various reasons, chose to fill fewer positions than their maximum capacity. In addition, CPME in February authorized 108 new positions at existing programs that have the capacity to expand their programs. So far, only six sponsoring institutions have accepted the authorization to create new positions. All told, that's more than 158 additional positions that could be available now!

So here is the call to action for APMA members and, in fact, every member of the profession:

  • If you are part of a program that has already approved positions that are not filled, work with your administration to ensure those positions are filled as soon as possible. Again, there are more than 50 already approved residency positions in established CPME–approved programs that for various reasons were not included in the match this year. It's time to get tenacious with our administrations in demonstrating the value of those positions.
  • Bring your cases to established residency programs to drive demand for those programs' services and thereby help to increase their capacity for residency positions.
  • Investigate whether your institution could support a new podiatric residency program. Consider whether becoming a residency director could be a positive step for your career (learn more in this article from Edwin Wolf, DPM). Contact Dr. Wolf at the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine for help in the residency genesis process at ewolf@aacpm.org. Remember to underscore for your administration that the Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Residency is approved for full Graduate Medical Education funding by CMS and that podiatric residency programs are uncapped, unlike allopathic and osteopathic programs, meaning they can generate new revenue for a hospital.
  • If CPME approved your residency program for additional positions, please seriously consider adding those positions! Remember, CPME has waived the application and application fee for those programs the council has pre-approved.

For more than a century, our profession has overcome challenges by uniting in the face of adversity. Now is not the time to point fingers. Now is not the time to abandon the goals of educational parity with allopathic and osteopathic medicine. Now is the time for every member of the profession to redouble his or her commitment to the future of podiatric medicine.

Please join me and do what you can to help eliminate our residency shortage.

Sincerely,

Matthew G. Garoufalis, DPM
President


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