Neurosurgery residency match for international medical graduates in the United States

Anudeep Yekula, Sattwik Sreeram, Sanjay Dhawan, Mayur Sharma, Carolina Sandoval-Garcia, Jared D. Huling, Ashish Suri, Kumar Belani, Michael C. Park, Bob S. Carter, Clark C. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Training of international medical graduates (IMGs) offers opportunities for the US neurosurgery community to engage the global talent pool and impact national and international healthcare. Here, the authors analyzed the time trend of IMGs matching into US neurosurgery programs and identified potential opportunities for enhancing IMG engagement. METHODS The authors analyzed the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) match results, NRMP program director (PD) surveys, and applicant surveys from 2013 to 2022. Regression methods were used to analyze time trends. RESULTS Between 2013 and 2022, the number of US neurosurgery residency positions increased by 17.6% (from 204 to 240). During this period, the percentage of IMGs matching into neurosurgery increased from 3.5% to 7%, translating into a 6.8% increase in the likelihood of a successful IMG match per year (95% CI 0.3%–13.8%, p = 0.042). The likelihoods of a successful match for US MDs and IMGs scoring > 260 on the USMLE Step 1 were > 90% and approximately 55%, respectively. In PD surveys, approximately 90% of PDs indicated that they seldom/never interview or rank IMGs. In terms of factors that influenced the PD decision for interviewing/ranking, IMGs are disadvantaged in several categories, including the ability to secure an audition elective/rotation, and proper letters of recommendation, as well as the influence of the culture on the preconceived perception of poor interpersonal skills. CONCLUSIONS The number of IMGs matching successfully in neurosurgery has increased marginally during the past decade. The authors outline the challenges that IMGs encounter in this process and suggest strategies for considerations of IMG training in NRMP-associated institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-298
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©AANS 2024, except where prohibited by US copyright law.


  • Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates
  • NRMP
  • National Resident Matching Program
  • Neurological surgery residency
  • foreign medical graduate
  • international medical graduate


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