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Attitudes Toward Allopathic and Osteopathic Candidates in the Dermatologic Residency Application Process

      Abstract

      Since the recent establishment of a single Graduate Medical Education organization, there has been a declining match rate of osteopathic students to competitive specialties, particularly dermatology residency, despite the increasing number of osteopathic medical students in the United States. The aim of this study is to investigate attitudes and potential sources of bias affecting osteopaths in the dermatology residency application process. This was an online survey-based study to analyze dermatology faculty and resident considerations. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Sixteen percent (3/18) of allopathic residents and 73.68% (14/19) of osteopathic residents experienced bias based on their allopathic or osteopathic status (p<0.002). Compared to allopathic graduates, the main barrier for osteopathic graduates was research (p=0.00105). Being an osteopathic candidate was associated with a lower likelihood of consideration for mentorship by both allopathic and osteopathic faculty (p=0.044). Faculty members who mentor osteopathic candidates are 1.83 times more comfortable with knowledge of osteopathic schools and their respective curricula (p=0.029) and 1.77 times more comfortable with reviewing letters of recommendation written by osteopathic faculty (p=0.037). Limitations include self-selection bias, small sample size, and overrepresentation of faculty and residents who participate in research studies. Additional research opportunities for osteopathic students, more diverse mentorship programs, and education for faculty on osteopathic concepts may promote equity during the residency application process and professional diversity within the field of dermatology.
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