Disparity in Opportunities: Is It Harder to Match Into Plastic Surgery Residency without a Home Plastic Surgery Division?
Mohsen Baghchechi, BS1; Parisa Oviedo, BS2; Paige McLean, MD3; Riley Dean, MD3; Marek Dobke, MD3
1UC Riverside School of Medicine, Riverside, CA, USA, 2UC San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, CA, USA, 3Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, UC San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego, CA, USA
Background: Medical students pursuing plastic surgery training must overcome multiple challenges to successfully match in such a highly coveted subspecialty. This adversity is amplified in applicants from medical schools without a home plastic surgery residency program and academic division. There is a paucity of data on the advantage of medical students applying from an institution with a home residency program
Methods: Applicant data from the past 5 years was accessed from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Electronic Residency Application Services (ERAS) statistics form. Individual home programs of successfully matched applicants were collected from plastic surgery residency websites. A survey was distributed to 32 students pursuing specialty residencies from home medical schools without a plastic surgery residency
Results: Evaluation of a subset of incoming plastic surgery interns revealed that 72% of matched applicants attended home medical institutions with plastic surgery residency programs, while only 3% came from an institution without a PRS division at all. 77% of survey respondents felt strongly that students at institutions with home residency programs had a significant advantage
Conclusion: The current COVID pandemic is changing the landscape of sub-internships and bringing to light the disadvantage students face without home residency programs. The development of virtual sub-internships, online mentorship, and selection of students for sub-internships from geographic areas without home programs may help to address some disparities in educational opportunities. Continuing these virtual programs and offering preferential help to disadvantaged medical students permanently is an avenue for the field of plastic surgery to be a leader in diversity and inclusion.
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