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News Article

ENARM Approved Centers Showcase Medical Priorities

By Alfonso Núñez | Fri, 10/22/2021 - 14:55

Following delays and technical difficulties, the number of residency spaces available to Mexico’s medical students will be released on October 31. These 27 different specialties showcase which areas of medicine the government is prioritizing.


This year’s National Exam for Aspiring Medical Residents (ENARM), through which Mexico’s general doctors can apply to study a specialty of their choosing, saw an assortment of changes from the way specialties are selected to the supposed number of spots available.


Unlike previous years, the ENARM test takers did not select their specialty until after taking the exam on September 28-30. Once they finished the test, they were given a score sheet with a QR code through which a medical specialty would be chosen. Because there are only so many hospitals in which students can practice medicine are limited, the order of selection is based on exam scores. As such, students with the highest scores were able to select their specialties first and had a higher chance of entering their chosen specialty. Those with lower scores may have to select a less desired specialty, if spaces are even still available.


Last year was the first time the number of residency spaces available were doubled, jumping to almost 18,000 and increasing the acceptance rate to 42 percent. This year, the government had announced that 30,000 spaces would be available for the over 80,000 registered students. But the lack of hospital openings throughout the year has left many wondering if this promise will be fulfilled, a concern backed up by real-time results that show only up to about 17,000 claimed residencies.


The final report was supposed to be released by October 24, but a statement by the Interinstitutional Commission for the Formation of Human Resources for Medicine (CIFRHS) clarifies the release date has been changed to October 31 in order to give test takers more time to select their specialty from the remaining options. But a student-created bot keeping track of specialties chosen and those still available shows which sectors of medicine the government is prioritizing.


Of the 17,000 occupied spaces, the fields with most spots offered seem to be family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine and anesthesiology with each crossing the 1,000 spot mark. Meanwhile, those with the least spots are legal medicine, preventive medicine, nuclear medicine as well as physical activity and sports medicine, all under 15 spots. Various specialties listed as no longer available such as general surgery, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, physical activity and sports medicine, preventive medicine and orthopedic medicine. Meanwhile, anesthesiology, emergency medicine and family medicine all have plenty of spots still open.


The seeming discrepancy between desired residencies and those most offered suggests that the Mexican government is prioritizing those three areas over those with the least available spots, some of which were amongst the quickest to fill up. For example, a lack of availability for physical activity and sports medicine despite a high demand and a national obesity epidemic shows a lack of prioritization for the field while family and internal medicine receive the most attention. However, full conclusions will have to wait for the October 31 results.

Photo by:   Unsplash, Pirome Guillaume
Alfonso Núñez Alfonso Núñez Journalist & Industry Analyst