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The Fellowship Match in Pediatric Neurosurgery
Considering Pediactric Neurosurgery
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American Board Pediatric Neurological Surgeons

SF Match
Pediatric Neurosurgy Fellowship

The Conduct, Rules, and Regulations
of the Fellowship Match in Pediatric Neurosurgery

There are currently thirty-three fellowships in Pediatric Neurosurgery in North America which are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pediatric Neurosurgical Fellowships ("ACPNF"). Successful completion of one of these fellowship programs fulfills candidacy requirements for the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery (ABPNS) and marks the beginning of a fulfilling career in Pediatric Neurosurgery.

Only those neurosurgeons who complete a fellowship in Pediatric Neurosurgery that is ACPNF approved and who obtain their fellowship position through the San Francisco Matching Program (SFMP) process will be approved for tracking for ABPNS certification.

Enroll in the SFMP via their web page (www.sfmatch.org) to obtain a match number. Applicants must meet the deadlines established by the San Francisco Match. Applicant registration generally opens in early June each year, and the deadline for submission of rank lists occurs in late October; applicants should confirm the exact deadlines at SFM-Match Calendar.

Most programs require an interview as a part of the application process, and applicants should contact the fellowship director for the program(s) in which they are interested during the spring and summer prior to the anticipated match to obtain a program application and to arrange an interview. The fellowship program directors' contact information is listed on the ACPNF Program Profiles page.

It is not necessary for the applicant to contact the ACPNF directly, but its members are available to discuss any match issues or other relevant question with applicants as the need arises.

The ACPNF requires the highest professional standards in the conduct of the match and in all interactions of fellowship match participants, including applicants, program directors, and institutional officials. The ACPNF expects all match participants to conduct their affairs related to the match in an ethical and professionally responsible manner.

Rules and Regulations of the Pediatric Neurosurgical Fellowship Match:

Fellowship programs:
  1. Application timeline:

    June 1st: Applicant registration with SFMatch begins.

    July 1st: Applicants may begin interviewing.

    The last Monday in October: Program rank lists are due to the SFMatch.

    Match Day will occur 7 days after the last Monday in October.

  2. Program duties:

    Must notify applicants of receipt of their application for fellowship training in a timely manner. The program administrator must remain available by e-mail or phone contact with the applicant to allow the applicant to access information regarding the status of his/her application.

    Must conduct all interviews in a virtual format. There will be no formal or informal in-person visits, hospital or program tours, or individual/group social gatherings between applicants and program faculty/fellows prior to the match. For programs where an applicant is applying from their institution, any explicit contact or conversation regarding match ranking is forbidden.

    Shall conduct a fair and deliberate virtual interview process in which the applicant has opportunity to meet the faculty, the current fellow, and key clinical personnel. Contact information (email and telephone) for current and past fellows should also be provided, if requested.

    Shall not initiate communication with the applicant after the interview to discuss the applicant's position on the program's match list or to require a verbal commitment to rank the program in a specific spot on the applicant's match list. However, programs may contact an applicant to emphasize the program's interest in the applicant or to respond to a candidate's queries regarding additional information about the training program.

    Shall not, prior to the match date, guarantee that the applicant will match at that program.

    Shall contact the ACPNF with concerns about infractions affecting the integrity of the match process.

    Shall comply with any other rules specified by the SFMP.

Fellowship applicants:
  1. Timeline:

    June 1st: Applicant registration with SFMatch begins.

    July 1st: Applicants may begin interviewing.

    The last Monday in October: Applicant rank lists are due to the SFMatch.

    Match Day will occur 7 days after the last Monday in October.

  2. Application duties:

    Are responsible for the completion of their application packets, for scheduling of interviews, and registration with the SFMP.

    Should schedule interviews only for those programs in which the applicant has a serious interest. Last minute interview cancellations may prevent another candidate from having an opportunity for an interview and interfere substantially with the fellowship application process. If an interview needs to be cancelled, it should be done at the earliest possible time and the applicant should ensure that the program is aware via receipt of email or telephone call to that effect.

    Are not to inquire about their position in the rank list from any member of the training program faculty or staff or their agent.

    Are not to request any personnel of their training program to contact program(s) to determine the applicant's position on any particular program's match list.

    Agree not to seek simultaneous fellowship training in another Neurosurgical subspecialty.

    Participation in the match process commits the fellowship applicant to complete the fellowship to which he/she matches. Applicants, program directors, and institutional officials should report suspected violations of the matching process, anonymously, if necessary, directly to the current ACPNF secretary. The ACPNF may survey participants of the match to assure compliance with these rules and regulations.

Penalties for Violation of the Match Process Rules and Regulations:

Upon receipt of notification regarding a possible infraction of these rules and regulations, the Chair of the ACPNF or his/her designee will contact the fellowship applicant or the program director of the involved program for clarification of the events in question. An inquiry and investigation, directed by the Chair of the ACPNF or his/her designee, will commence within 14 days if deemed necessary. A preliminary report will be prepared that will be shared with board members of the ACPNF. The timing of this review will be at the discretion of the Chair of the ACPNF.

If there is a Program Infraction:

The Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowship Program Director, the Neurosurgery Department Chair, the Dean of the School of Medicine, and the Chair of the institution's Graduate Medical Education Committee of the offending program will be notified of the infraction and forwarded a copy of the final report of the ACPNF.

The chair of the ABPNS will be notified of the infraction by a copy of the final report.

The party who initially reported the violation will be forwarded a copy of the final report.

Penalties will be determined at the discretion of the ACPNF board of directors and may include:

  • a suspension of participation in the match program for one or more fellowship selection cycles, and
  • a censure of the fellowship program on the ACPNF web site.
If there is an Applicant Infraction:

A copy of the final report will be forwarded to the applicant's medical school and neurosurgery residency director, as well as to the secretary of the ABPNS, with a request that the report be placed in the applicant's permanent resident file.