The following questions were compiled from inquiries sent to the SIR office from SIR trainee members and the SIR RFS Governing council. The responses were prepared by the Association of Program Directors in Interventional Radiology (APDIR) Communications Committee. The FAQs will be updated as new information is learned. Make sure to check this page and the RFS Community on SIR Connect site for up-to-date information.
1. How many positions will be available in the first independent IR residency match for programs starting on July 1, 2020?
Based on ACGME estimates, there will be between 150-160 total positions available in the first independent IR residency match. The estimate’s higher range is close to the average number of VIR fellowship positions available over the past 6 years.
2. Will there be more ESIR independent residency applicants in the match than there are available independent IR residency positions?
The number of available ESIR positions does not equate to the exact number of trainees in ESIR. Programs will fill or not fill their available ESIR positions year-to-year based on a variety of factors, including interest from DR residents and program training capacity. There may be ESIR applicants who do not match into an independent program. However, this is no different from the current situation with VIR fellowships, when a certain percentage of applicants do not match either.
3. Will there be one match or two separate matches for ESIR and Non-ESIR independent IR residency positions?
There is only one Match for both ESIR and Non-ESIR independent positions. It will run similar to the current VIR fellowship Match from the applicant standpoint. The match timeline will follow the December Cycle Specialties Match.
4. Do programs prefer ESIR applicants as opposed to non-ESIR applicants?
Although some programs may prefer ESIR or non-ESIR applicants, based on recent survey data, over 50% of programs participating in the first independent match are open to either an ESIR or non-ESIR candidate depending on the applicant’s qualifications.
5. Will DR residents at institutions without an independent IR residency have limited independent IR residency program availability because of internal filling/matching at independent programs?
Independent IR residency positions will be filled through the NRMP Specialties Match. Although there could be some programs that place an internal candidate at the top of their rank list, candidates at DR programs that do not and will not have any IR residency should still be able to find positions for 2020.
6. How are independent IR residency programs able to fund 2-years of residency training when they only fund 1-year of fellowship training?
Funding for new independent residency spots varies by institution. Some positions are converted from existing diagnostic radiology residency positions, while others receive department or institutional funding. IR departments will preplan year-to-year to ensure adequate funding for all their independent residency positions.
7. When competing for first jobs, will independent IR residency graduates be viewed in any way less favorably than integrated IR residency graduates?
Independent IR residency graduates will not be viewed less favorably. IR training is meant to be equivalent regardless of what training pathway you complete.
8. At least one DR program listed a separate ESIR pathway directly in the match. Is this a violation of ESIR policy?
Programs can request separate Match numbers from NRMP for various tracts. (Currently programs use this for research, military, and other special circumstances). This is not a violation of ESIR policy.
However, using a separate Match number to select candidates is not how ESIR was originally designed. The intent was that DR programs would select ESIR candidates sometime after the candidate had already matched into DR, which is the selection process for the clear majority of DR programs.
9. Can independent IR program directors hold back ESIR independent IR residents and make them complete 2 years of training?
Program directors in any residency have discretion on whether a resident meets all the requirements for graduation from their program. This is also true for the independent residency. Because ESIR training should prepare residents for advance placement, holding back a candidate for a second year should be an exception to the norm.
10. Will integrated IR residents and/or independent IR residents be given a preference over ESIR DR residents in performing procedures? Fellows were traditionally given procedure preference over residents.
IR residents will not be given any preference over ESIR DR residents. Training in PGY-5 year should be equivalent regardless of your training pathway. ESIR PGY-5 and IR/DR PGY-5 have similar program requirements. Although training may differ from institution to institution, this should not differ from within the same program.
11. Will doing a surgical intern year (rather than medicine or TY prelim) give me a competitive advantage in selection for ESIR?
Preferences for preliminary year training will vary by program, but a strong clinical intern year (regardless of specialty type) will be an asset in the new training paradigm. Programs will determine their own criteria for ESIR selection.
12. Can ESIR qualified residents still advance place if they don't enter their independent residency immediately following the PGY-5 year (i.e. they don't match or extenuating circumstances requires a one or two year delay)? It is up to the accepting independent IR program director to determine whether a resident in this situation qualifies for advace placement into the 2nd year of the independent IR residency.
13. I’m will complete ESIR but am willing to train for two years as an independent resident, should I apply to programs under the ESIR Applicant track and the Non-ESIR Applicant track in my ERAS application? The two tracks do not represent separate ESIR and Non-ESIR positions at independent programs. They represent two applicant categories so programs are able to tell which applicants are ESIR and which are Non-ESIR. Most programs will rank ESIR and Non-ESIR candidates in the same rank order list, so applying through both tracks confers no benefit. Additionally, program directors could be confused if they see the same application in both categories. If a program is offering both an "ESIR Applicant" track and a Non-ESIR Applicant" track, you should only apply through the "ESIR Applicant" track. If you are willing to train for 2 years as an independent IR resident, you could include this information in your personal statement. If a program is only accepting applications through a "Non-ESIR Applicant" track, you can apply through this track; just make sure you indicate in your personal statement that you are willing to train for 2 years as an independent IR resident, so program directors are not confused by your application.
14. My DR program’s ESIR curriculum won't be approved until after I apply for the independent IR residency. My program director has already told me that I will be able to do ESIR if approved, should I apply in my ERAS application as an ESIR Applicant or a Non-ESIR applicant? When you apply, if you are not accepted into an ACGME approved ESIR curriculum, you should apply through the Non-ESIR Applicant track. You can include information about your DR program’s upcoming ESIR curriculum review in your personal statement so program directors know you will likely complete ESIR. If a program is only accepting applications through an ESIR Applicant track, you can apply through this track. However, it will be up to individual programs to determine whether they will consider you.
The questions above were compiled from inquiries sent to the SIR office from SIR trainee members and the SIR RFS Governing council. The responses were prepared by the Association of Program Directors in Interventional Radiology (APDIR) Communications Committee. The FAQs will be updated as new information is learned. Make sure to check this page and the RFS Community on SIR Connect site for up-to-date information.