Location, Location, Location: The Geographic Impact of Medical School on the Plastic Surgery Match
Adam D. Glener, MD Michael Lebhar BS J. Andres Hernandez, MD MBA Amanda R. Sergesketter, MD Ronnie L. Shammas, MD Roger W. Cason, MD Sonali Biswas, BS Brett T. Phillips, MD MBA
Division of Plastic, Maxillofacial & Oral Surgery; Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC
Background: This resident application cycle presents academic leadership and applicants with an unprecedented challenge: how to virtually match applicants to mutually beneficial programs. As many aspects of this year’s match remain uncertain, the authors sought to refer to previous years’ data to better inform both program directors and applicants.
Methods: The study was designed as a cross-sectional analysis including all current integrated plastic surgery residents. At the time of data collection (April, 2020) a list of accredited integrated plastic surgery programs was obtained and each programs’ independent website was then queried for the desired demographic resident information. Additionally, geospatial heat maps were generated to better understand geographic trends.
Results: All (n=78) integrated plastic surgery programs and residents (n=953) were included in the study. Geospatial heat maps illustrate the locations of where all current integrated plastic surgery residents attended medical school (Figure 1), and subsequently divided by current region of residency (Figure 2). Nearly half (47.2%) of current residents remain in the same geographic region they obtained their medical degree, with 26% of residents remaining in the same state, and 17% within the same institution; data which is unchanged over the past six years (p=0.58). Odds ratios (OR) predicting the likelihood for students within a given region to stay within that region for training were calculated as follows: Midwest OR = 2.09 (95% CI 1.17-3.74), South OR = 2.39 (95% CI 1.39-4.11), North OR = 2.59 (95% CI 1.42-4.71), and West OR = 3.80 (95% CI 1.67-8.68)
Conclusion: While integrated plastic surgery applicants come from around the country, they are more likely to continue their training at institutions in closer geographic proximity to their medical schools. Students graduating from medical schools without affiliated integrated plastic surgery programs appear to be at a disadvantage during the match process. We strongly believe this study offers program leadership and prospective applicants actionable data regarding the recent trends within the plastic surgery match. We hope this will allow both parties to make informed and efficient decisions, especially during the difficult impending application cycle.
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