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ERAS Comes to Pulmonary and Critical Care

Molly Osborne, MD, PhD
Chair ATS Education Committee
Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Oregon Health & Science University


ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) is an on-line application program developed about six years ago by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for medical students applying to residency programs. ERAS is a service which transmits applications, letters of recommendation, MSPE (Dean's letters), transcripts, photographs and other supporting credentials from medical schools to program directors via the Internet. It is used in conjunction with the AAMC National Residency Match Program (NRMP). However, ERAS (application) is NOT NRMP (match). Each on-line system operates separately, with a separate charge to the applicant.

What does the applicant do?

The applicant completes the ERAS application or the 'common application form' (CAF) on-line at the MyERAS website.

This is a lengthy (tedious) process, since the application includes curriculum vitae information, a personal statement (no spell check), etc. Nothing is sent to fellowship programs until the applicant completes the application, selects programs AND pays the fee. The applicant orders the USMLE scores sent with the ERAS application (CAF) (for a small fee.). The applicant may need the following to be scanned in: a photograph, a transcript.

The Applicant's Role in ERAS

  • Contact each fellowship program to which they will apply for requirements, deadlines, and program information.
  • Contact the designated staff (EFDO) for an electronic password (token) and instructions.
  • Complete the ERAS residency application on-line using MyERAS.
  • Request and assign USMLE and/or COMLEX transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal statement(s) using MyERAS.
  • Follow up with recommendation writers.
  • Make sure the application is complete and deadlines are met.
  • Pay ERAS, and NBME fees for applications and transcripts processed.

What does the fellowship program do?

The Pulmonary and Critical Care staff person, (administrative assistant) who processes the fellowship materials would be the "EFDO" (ERAS Fellowship Document Office, i.e., the Dean's office equivalent).  That person receives the on-line information to disseminate to applicants, including the ERAS application form (CAF) and the student password (called a "token") to access the secure on-line site. That person will be responsible for scanning in documents including the letters of recommendation, photographs, etc. That person also has access to aggregate data about the application process for the applicants, e.g. who has or has not completed the application process.

The Pulmonary and Critical Care staff person (EFDO) uses several ERAS software programs including the

  • Dean's office workstation (DWS). This creates the ERAS password (token) for the applicant
  • Program Director's workstation (PDWS) to receive, sort, review, evaluate, and rank applications.
  • ERAS "postoffice" (ERASPO) a central bank of computers that sends the ERAS application materials (CAF etc) to fellowship programs
  • The Applicant Document Tracking System (ADTS) that monitors disposition of the files.


Need help? Contact AAMC

I suggest that the EFDO (designated staff person) contact the local medical school Dean's office "EFDO" for advice, usually linked to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, or contact the AAMC directly. Each medical school Dean's office has a staff person or two well experienced with ERAS and NRMP.

Please note: Most but not all Pulmonary, Pulmonary and Critical Care, and Critical Care programs are joining AAMC ERAS this year. Please check the list to find which programs are affiliated.


  1. Encourage applicants to submit their applications in a timely manner, e.g. 12/1/03. The final deadline for fellowship applications is later, but I strongly suggest sending them in by the end of December.
  2. Applicants should spell check and edit the personal statement carefully - there is no spell check for ERAS
  3. I suggest the applicant pay via credit card to speed the application process (one of the few times I endorse plastic)
  4. Letters of recommendation scanned from letters on letterhead stationery seem to carry more weight than unvarnished email letters
  5. Encourage those writing supporting letters, e.g. Residency Directors, to submit their letters (to the Pulmonary and Critical Care staff person "EFDO") by December.
  6. NOTE: The applicant can send the ERAS application (CAF) to all chosen programs without waiting for letters of recommendation to be scanned in.


AAMC Association of American Medical Colleges
CAF Common application form (the ERAS application)
EFDO ERAS Fellowship Document Office - The Pulmonary and Critical Care staff person who processes the fellowship materials (e.g., administrative assistant) would be the virtual "EFDO"
ERAS Electronic Residency Application Service (AAMC based)
ERASPO ERAS "post office"
MSPE Medical Student Performance Evaluation (Dean's Letter)
MyERAS for the applicant
NRMP National Residency Match Program (AAMC based)
USMLE United States Medical Licensing Examination from the NBME - National Board of Medical Examiners



Last reviewed: February 2015