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Applying To Dermatology And Backing Up With Im

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Is it possible to match to dermatology while backing up with IM? I realize this is a loaded question and that there is no "right" answer but I thought I may as well ask!


I enjoy both specialties but setting up for 4th year is challenging given that dermatology and IM are considered the same "grouping". 


If any of you have been down this path I would love to hear how you set up your electives and why you chose to do it the way you did (or alternatively, why you didn't back up)



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Yes, it is possible. Dermatology is first or second in terms of competitiveness each year, and programs expect that applicants will also be applying to an alternate specialty. Most people whose preferred discipline is dermatology end up matching to something else. I have even heard of dermatology programs negatively viewing applicants who clearly aren't applying to another specialty, as it shows poor judgment.


The other consideration is what you choose to back up with. As you have probably heard, internal medicine is becoming increasingly competitive for those who are "all in", let alone those who are backing up. You would need to do at least one internal medicine elective (3 weeks would be best) and get a very strong letter from it. That way you have at least 2 internal letters. I think most internal programs are open to a strong general letter from another specialty to round out the 3 required by most programs. Then you would need to apply VERY broadly. Most applicants this year didn't get at least 2-3 interviews they were expecting. Keep in mind that some internal programs prefer candidates who are clearly more "all in" (Toronto/UBC/Mac/Calgary/others), whereas some programs value applicants who have done electives in different specialties (Dal/Queen's/Manitoba/Saskatchewan/Alberta). You'll likely have better luck with the latter programs. 


Another consideration is the fact that if you don't match to dermatology in Canada, you could do a year of internal medicine then apply for the PGY2-entry dermatology programs in the US. You would obviously have to take (and annihilate) steps 1 and 2CK/CS. 

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