I've already asked questions like this on the research forums, but it would help to get some input from the other side, i.e people who have been through the IM match process/residency. How much does a basic science PhD actually help towards matching into the top IM programs (and especially east coast programs MGH, BW, JHU, Duke, Penn, etc.)? What sort of things can it compensate for, i.e. if you have a good 250+ board score, great recommendations, and a good number of clinical and pre-clinical honors grades and a PhD, can this compensate for lack of AOA? In other words, can a PhD compensate for some sort of deficiency such as lack of AOA, lower Step 1, not as many clinical honors grades, or is it more of an added credential that can boost you above the competition, given the med school credentials are roughly equal?