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Comment & Response
January 2019

Reducing the Disclosure Effect in the Vitreoretinal Fellowship Match

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Ophthalmology, Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
  • 2Departments of Ophthalmology and Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania
  • 3Roger Williams Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Boston University, Providence, Rhode Island
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2019;137(1):119-120. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2018.4990

To the Editor We read with interest the study by Christiansen et al1 that suggests that disclosure of an applicant’s most preferred vitreoretinal fellowship program was associated with that program’s ranking of the applicant. We do not believe that this phenomenon, which is called the disclosure effect, is ideal or fair either to applicants or training programs. There may be an unfair advantage for those applicants who do voice their preferences (as opposed to applicants who do not, either because they do not think to do so or are unsure if it is appropriate to do so). The disclosure effect also creates pressure on applicants to voice a prematch commitment. Ultimately, the lack of standardization across all applicants regarding disclosure of a preferred program has the potential to bias the matching process.

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