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What does "MD in the Black" mean?

“In the black” is a financial idiom meaning “making a profit.” This is in contrast to “in the red,” which means operating at a loss. For most trainees, the transition from medical school to residency marks an important switch from years of operating “in the red” (due to education debt) to collecting a salary that puts them “in the black.” Helping residents manage this transition is the focus of our efforts. Therefore, this new income status is reflected in our name: MD in the Black.

While doctors of medicine (MDs) are mentioned in our name, we believe this information is also relevant to many other groups of medical trainees, including doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs), dentists, and pharmacists.


MD in the Black is a personal finance curriculum designed specifically for medical residents.

Personal finance resources

Medical residents have special financial circumstances: modest training salaries, high anticipated future earnings, and, for many, high education debt. MD in the Black is designed to help residents in these circumstances make informed financial choices.

This curriculum was created for medical professions, by medical professionals.



Shappell, Eric_edited_edited_edited.jpg
Eric Shappell, MD, MHPE

Creator, Editor-in-Chief

Assistant Director, BWH/MGH HAEMR

Director, EM Student Programs at MGH

Massachusetts General Hospital

Harvard Medical School

James Ahn, MD, MHPE

Co-Creator, Associate Editor

Director, Medical Education Fellowship

Associate Director, Residency Program

Assistant Professor

University of Chicago

Michael Ernst, MD

Author, Contributor

Attending Physician

Emergency Medicine Consultants

Dallas, Texas

Matthew Pirotte, MD

Author, Contributor

Assistant Director, Residency Program 

Assistant Professor

Northwestern University

Ryan McKillip, MD


Resident Physician

Advocate Christ Medical Center

Additional Contributors

Ilene Harris, PhD

University of Illinois at Chicago

Aalok Kacha, MD, PhD

University of Chicago

Mohammed Minhaj, MD, MBA

UChicago Medicine

Yoon Soo Park, PhD

University of Illinois at Chicago

Ara Tekian, PhD, MHPE

University of Illinois at Chicago

James Woodruff, MD

University of Chicago



We (the authors, editors, and publishers) are not financial professionals. The content provided on this website is for informational purposes only. This content should not be considered financial, legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If you have any financial, legal, accounting, or other questions, you should consult a licensed professional in your state. Neither the authors, the editors, nor the publisher shall be liable for any damages resulting from actions taken related to the content on this site. MD in the Black may receive payments from some affiliate partners.

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