Current perspectives of and potential reforms to the dermatology residency application process: A nationwide survey of program directors and applicants


      The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated discussions about reforms needed in the dermatology residency application process. We sought to evaluate the perspectives of dermatology program directors (PDs) and applicants regarding changes implemented during the 2020-2021 application cycle and measure support for potential reforms. Two online surveys were distributed to PDs and applicants who participated in the 2020-2021 dermatology residency match. Responses were collected from a total of 79 PDs (73.8% response rate, 83.5% complete responses) and 232 applicants (83.6% complete responses). The top 3 reforms supported by PDs were application caps (89.4% in favor), interview caps (86.4% in favor), and token preference signaling (81.8% in favor). The top 3 reforms supported by applicants were coordinated interview invite release (89.7% in favor), national webinars with PDs and/or faculty to discuss the application process (86.6% in favor), and formalized mentorship programs with PDs and/or faculty (78.4% in favor). This study was limited by the inability to capture responses from more dermatology applicants, possibly affecting the generalizability of the results. We identified broad support for multiple proposed reforms to the dermatology residency application process, particularly to improve the efficiency of application review and strengthen communication between programs and applicants.
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