The Association of Professors of Dermatology Program Directors Task Force and Residency Program Transparency Work Group Guidelines on Residency Program Transparency

November 2020 | Volume 19 | Issue 11 | Editorials | 1117 | Copyright © November 2020

Published online October 30, 2020

David Rosmarin MDa, Adam J. Friedman MDb, Nicole M. Burkemper MDc, Kristin M. Nord MDd,e, Andrea T. Murina MDf, Jennifer T. Huang MDg,h

aDepartment of Dermatology, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA
bDepartment of Dermatology, George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC
cDepartment of Dermatology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
dDepartment of Dermatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA
eDermatology Service, VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, Palo Alto, CA
fDepartment of Dermatology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA
gDepartment of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
hDermatology Program, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA

Socioeconomic and racial disparities continue to plague the house of medicine and importantly the current generation of trainees. One clear area in need of reform is the U.S. dermatology residency application process.1,2,3 The charge of the Transparency Work Group, a subcommittee of the Association of Professors of Dermatology Program Program Directors Task Force, is to improve the dissemination of relevant program-specific information to applicants. Enhanced program transparency may improve the ability of applicants to make informed choices regarding the selection process and increase trainee and program satisfaction with the match. In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic which has significantly impacted the opportunity for applicants to experience programs firsthand, the need for more transparent communication between programs and applicants has heightened exponentially.

The Work Group distributed a survey to medical students, residents and program directors to assess perceptions of dermatology residency program transparency.4 The survey found that the majority of both trainees and program directors feel there is currently inadequate transparency. The main barrier to transparency cited by program directors was lack of guidelines. To address this deficit, the Transparency Work Group has created the following recommendations for residency programs based on the data generated from the aforementioned survey (Table 1):

1. Maintain an up-to-date program website.
First and most importantly, residency programs should keep an up-to-date website as over 90% of trainees utilize this source for program-specific information.4 In addition to the items listed in Table 1, changes to the selection and recruitment process due to the COVID-19 pandemic should be outlined on each program’s website. It is preferable to have an updated website before applications can begin to be submitted.