In Reply We appreciate the thoughtful responses by both Oussedik and Gross to our article, which raise important questions regarding the emphasis on research and standardized testing in the dermatology resident selection process.
Research fellowships are important, providing medical students with a year of full-time research and publication opportunities. Emphasis on publication numbers is growing, with the mean number of abstracts, presentations, and publications for matched US seniors in dermatology steadily increasing (7.2 in 2009, 9.5 in 2014, 11.7 in 2016).1 From this trend, medical students may feel compelled to take a research year to increase their chances to match. Indeed, a 2016 survey2 found the most common reason among medical students to take a research year was to increase the competitiveness of their residency applications, with over one-third reporting that they would not have taken a research year if residency were not a consideration. The authors concluded that students who pursue research years often do so despite a lack of interest.
Chen A, Shinkai K. Important Considerations for Diversity in the Selection of Dermatology Applicants. JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(9):949. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.1812
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