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June 4, 2020

Otolaryngology Residency Match During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Happens Next?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2020;146(8):687-688. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.1078

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged health care in unprecedented ways, and its effects on the 2021 residency application and match cycle are likely to be significant. In these uncertain times, we identify pitfalls and areas of concern for aspiring otolaryngology–head and neck surgeons and otolaryngology departments across the US and suggest potential solutions for this year’s residency match process.

Medical student education has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Some medical schools are graduating fourth-year students early to join the fight against this novel disease.1 Clinical rotations for both home and away students have been suspended, and the timeline for students’ return to the wards is unknown. To comply with social distancing, medical educators are rapidly developing new curricula around virtual education and telemedicine; however, in-person patient experiences are a fundamental aspect in educating future physicians. As students are currently unable to gain firsthand experience in clinical patient care, medical schools will need to adapt and provide more clinical opportunities over a shorter period of time after resolution of the pandemic.

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