Characteristics of Successful Integrated Plastic Surgery Applicants from US Allopathic Medical Schools Without a Home Integrated Program
Maheen F. Akhter, BS1; Charles A. Keane, BS1; Benjamin A. Sarac, MD2; Jeffrey E. Janis, MD2
1Central Michigan University College of Medicine, Mount Pleasant, MI, USA 2The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Columbus, OH, USA
Background: While integrated plastic surgery (PS) is one of the most competitive residency programs, current literature lacks data specific to matched applicants from medical schools with no home integrated PS residency program (NHP). NHP residents constitute only 18.7% of the total integrated PS resident pool. There is a need to further examine this demographic of applicants and to identify key factors that produce a successful match
Methods: An anonymous survey was sent to current PS residents who graduated from US allopathic medical schools without a home program between 2015 and 2020. Survey questions focused on NHP applicants’ objective statistics (USMLE scores, research experiences, etc.), as well as various other factors, including letters of recommendation and accessibility to PS-related resources. Averaged data from matched NHP applicants was compared to data from all matched US allopathic applicants in 2016, 2018, and 2020
Results: The survey was distributed to 178 residents from May to June of 2021. A 55.1% response rate was achieved. Average USMLE Step 1 and 2 scores were 248 ± 10.1 and 256 ± 9.7, respectively. Respondents listed an average of 9.8 ± 9.5 abstracts, presentations, and publications on their residency applications. NHP applicants reported having an average of 1.5 letters of recommendation written by away rotation faculty. Thirty-seven percent of respondents attended an institution with an independent, but not integrated, residency program. Of this subset, 45% said they accessed resources externally at institutions with home integrated residency programs (HP), 55.6% of whom “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that this significantly helped with matching. Eighty-nine percent of those with a home independent program managed to access PS resources within their institutions, while only 64% of those without a home independent or integrated program did so
Conclusion: The USMLE scores and research experiences of NHP residents are similar to those reported among all matched US allopathic applicants. NHP respondents optimized on opportunities by utilizing PS-related resources at their own institutions, while frequently seeking resources at other HP institutions. Our study concludes that successful NHP applicants have found effective ways to parallel those who otherwise have additional support and resources from a HP.
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