EM Match Advice: The EM Rotation, ERAS, and Am I Competitive?

Source: AliEM

Today launches a series of Google Hangout videos, which was created and expertly facilitated by Dr. Michael Gisondi(@MikeGisondi) from Northwestern. In this series, he recruited an amazing panel of program directors from around the country, who have kindly volunteered their time to share their insights and expertise. In these videos, you get a sense of each panelist’s personalities while they outdo each other with behind-the-scenes advice and stories, which would normally be shared only at the institutional level. Our videocasts are a unique must-see for medical students interested in and applying into Emergency Medicine (EM). Keep a look out for more videos in the future!


Dr. Gisondi facilitates a great discussion about the EM clerkship rotation featuring esteemed residency program directors Dr. Lainie Yarris (Oregon Health Sciences University), Dr. Maria Moreira (Denver Health), and Dr. Jan Schoenberger (LAC-USC), with the occasional outburst/question by Dr. Michelle Lin (UCSF-SFGH).


  • 00:00  Dr. Mike Gisondi introduces the series and talks about 3 key publications to review for the EM medical student and how to succeed in the EM rotation.
  • 05:11  Dr. Lainie Yarris discusses “what defines an honors level performance?”
  • 08:23  Dr. Maria Moreira discusses the differences between an away and a home rotation.
  • 11:24  Dr. Maria Moreira discusses the art of getting a Standardized Letter of Evaluation(SLOE) from their EM rotation.
  • 13:43  Dr. Jan Schoenberger discusses how to be a stellar stand-out in a rotation with only a pass-fail system in the EM rotation.
  • 14:45  Dr. Michelle Lin poses the question to the PD’s about — “I didn’t get an honors, now what?!”
  • 16:28  Dr. Schoenberger addresses advising/counseling approaches.
  • 17:35  Dr. Lin asks about the “departmental SLOE” letter.
  • 18:10  Dr. Schoenberger talks about her departmental SLOE.
  • 18:45  Dr. Yarris talks about her departmental SLOE and the value of intangible, behavioral characteristics in applicants.
  • 19:45  Dr. Moreira talks about her department’s SLOE approach and reminds us that programs want diversity in the program.
  • 22:48  Dr. Yarris – pearls and pitfalls
  • 24:05  Dr. Moreira – pearls and pitfalls
  • 26:36  Dr. Schoenberger – pearls and pitfalls
  • 29:18  Dr. Gisondi wraps things up by asking the 3 program directors to share something awesome that we might not know about their program.




  1. Mahadevan S, Garmel GM. The outstanding medical student in emergency medicine. Acad Emerg Med. 2001 Apr;8(4):402-3. PMID: 11282680.
  2. AAEM Rules of the Road for Medical Students (2003), a free PDF.
  3. Davenport C, Honigman B, Druck J. The 3-minute emergency medicine medical student presentation: a variation on a theme. Acad Emerg Med. 2008 Jul;15(7):683-7. PMID: 18691216.



Dr. Gisondi (Northwestern) facilitates a great discussion featuring star residency program directors Dr. Gene Hern (Highland-Alameda), Dr. Laura Hopson (Univ of Michigan), and Dr. Josh Broder (Duke), with an occasional question by Dr. Michelle Lin (UCSF-SFGH).


  • 00:00  Dr. Gisondi introduces the series and talks about 3 key publications to review about the ERAS application.
  • 09:37  Dr. Hern talks about his perspectives about the ERAS and what matters to him and his program at Highland.
  • 15:00  Dr. Hern discusses what parts of the ERAS application the student should focus more time on.
  • 16:25  Dr. Hern reviews what doesn’t matter as much on the ERAS.
  • 17:41  Dr. Hopson drops pearls about what to do and where to focus your time on the ERAS application.
  • 21:38  Dr. Hopson shares her perspectives about looking for the well-rounded, multitasking applicant.
  • 22:15  Dr. Hopson talks about red-flags in filling out the ERAS application.
  • 26:00  Dr. Broder shares his thoughts about how a non-superstar applicant can shine on his/her application.
  • 28:37  Dr. Gisondi and Dr. Hern talk about how some red flags in the application can be addressed.
  • 31:20  Dr. Hopson recommends teaming up with your mentor/advisor in addressing any red flags in the SLOE.
  • 32:10  Dr. Broder shares his comments on how he approaches any red-flags in a file.
  • 33:07  Dr. Lin shares her thoughts about the personal statement and concerns about honesty on the application.
  • 34:58  Dr. Hern talks about his 2005 BMJ Med Educ study about errors/omissions on the ERAS applications (BMJ Med Educ 2005).
  • 36:16  Dr. Hopson talks about poor integrity, in the form of inconsistent information within the application packet, being a huge red flag in applications.
  • 37:33  Dr. Broder and Dr. Gisondi banter about application misrepresentation.
  • 39:04  Dr. Hene shares about final thoughts – pearls and pitfalls
  • 41:38  Dr. Hopson shares about final thoughts – pearls and pitfalls. In a nutshell: Be yourself.
  • 42:11  Dr. Broder shares about final thoughts – pearls and pitfalls.
  • 43:13  Dr. Lin shares about final thoughts – pearls and pitfalls.
  • 44:16  The panel talks about the “drop dead” deadline for the ERAS application.
  • 45:10  Dr. Lin challenges the panel by asking about the few programs who may offer interviews before the Dean’s letter comes out.
  • 47:46  Dr. Hern shares why one should apply to Highland.
  • 49:28  Dr. Hopson shares why one should apply to University of Michigan.
  • 50:22  Dr. Broder shares why one should apply to Duke.




  1. Hayden SR, Hayden M, Gamst A. What characteristics of applicants to emergency medicine residency programs predict future success as an emergency medicine resident? Acad Emerg Med. 2005 Mar;12(3):206-10. PMID: 15741582.
  2. Breyer MJ, Sadosty A, Biros M. Factors Affecting Candidate Placement on an Emergency Medicine Residency Program’s Rank Order List. West J Emerg Med. 2012 Dec;13(6):458-62. PMID: 23359215Free PDF.
  3. Green M, Jones P, Thomas JX Jr. Selection criteria for residency: results of a national program directors survey. Acad Med. 2009 Mar;84(3):362-7. PMID: 19240447.
  4. Katz ED, Shockley L, Kass L, Howes D, Tupesis JP, Weaver C, Sayan OR, Hogan V, Begue J, Vrocher D, Frazer J, Evans T, Hern G, Riviello R, Rivera A, Kinoshita K, Ferguson E. Identifying inaccuracies on emergency medicine residency applications. BMC Med Educ. 2005 Aug 16;5:30. PMID: 16105178Free article link.



Dr. Gisondi (Northwestern) kicks off a great conversation and debate about knowing how competitive you are, as an applicant. This panel features star residency program directors Dr. Andrew Perron (Maine Medical Center), Dr. Madonna Fernandez (Harbor-UCLA), and Dr. Kevin Biese (UNC Chapel Hill), with comments by Dr. Michelle Lin (UCSF-SFGH).


  • 00:00  Dr. Gisondi launches this panel discussion on determining your competitiveness in the application process.
  • 03:19  Dr. Gisondi delves right into a great PDF that summarizes some recent statistics about How Competitive is the EM Match that he and Jill Craig compiled. FYI, “SOAP” meansSupplemental Offer and Acceptance Program. For a more complete listing of all the statistics, see the NRMP website [1].
  • 07:26  Dr. Lin discusses what her take-away points are after looking at the trends.
  • 09:08  Dr. Biese follows up with his take-away points from these trends.
  • 09:31  Dr. Gisondi weighs in on these trends as well. “There’s a home for (almost) every EM applicant.”
  • 11:00  Dr. Gisondi discusses relevant papers [2-4].
  • 15:58  Dr. Lin fields the first question about — how many programs should I apply to?
  • 18:00  Dr. Perron makes a grand entrance and stresses the importance of a knowledgeable advisor.
  • 19:03   Dr. Perron shares stories about application numbers.
  • 21:32   The panel debates about how many programs to interview at. What is the interview-canceling etiquette? What about couples matching? Tax-break tips?
  • 26:40  Dr. Biese talks about how applications are screened once their submitted into ERAS.
  • 30:09  Dr. Gisondi shares his perspectives on the numbers game (i.e. USMLE scores).
  • 32:40  The panel rapid-fires about how to address stumbling blocks in one’s application (e.g. below average scores or poor shelf exam scores).
  • 37:34  Dr. Biese shares a story about why a “creative” personal statement that stands out maybe isn’t a good idea.
  • 40:04  Dr. Fernandez shares how to find a great advisor about matching into EM, especially if there’s no home EM residency department to help advise. Think about SAEM/CDEM’s e-Advisor system (application system).
  • 43:40  Dr. Fernandez and Dr. Biese describe what makes a quality advisor.
  • 47:30  Dr. Gisondi and Dr. Fernandez share who/what might be questionable resources for advice and why.
  • 51:18  Dr. Lin summarizes it all up with her bottom line – Get a good advisor.
  • 52:43  Dr. Biese clarifies that there are two games afoot – get an interview vs get ranked highly on rank day.
  • 54:27  The panel each leaves a short take-away pearl/pitfall.
  • 57:30  The panel shares something that one might not know about their residency program.




  1. NRMP Match Results and Data 2014 (PDF)
  2. Crane JT, Ferraro CM. Selection criteria for emergency medicine residency applicants. Acad Emerg Med. 2000 Jan;7(1):54-60. PubMed PMID: 10894243.
  3. Girzadas DV Jr, Harwood RC, Delis SN, Stevison K, Keng G, Cipparrone N, Carlson A, Tsonis GD. Emergency medicine standardized letter of recommendation: predictors of guaranteed match. Acad Emerg Med. 2001 Jun;8(6):648-53. PMID: 11388941.
  4. Lotfipour S, Luu R, Hayden SR, Vaca F, Hoonpongsimanont W, Langdorf M. Becoming an emergency medicine resident: a practical guide for medical students. J Emerg Med. 2008 Oct;35(3):339-44. PMID: 18547776.