19.06.2020 | Sleep Breathing Physiology and Disorders • Short Communication
Fellow selection protocols in sleep surgery: a national survey of sleep surgery program directors
Ricardo Engel, Michael T. Chung, Jared Johnson, James Stathakios, Edward T. Chang, Jonathan Waxman, Ho-Sheng Lin
Sleep and Breathing
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To determine the factors that sleep medicine/surgery fellowship program directors look for in applicants.
Program directors from 9 sleep medicine/surgery fellowship programs in the USA were sent an anonymous online survey. They were asked to select the five most important academic factors (of a list of 17) when evaluating potential fellowship candidates, then rank those five in order of importance. They were then asked to do the same for the most important subjective criteria (of a list of 12).
Eight of 10 survey responses met inclusion criteria. Of the academic factors, strength of letters of recommendation, reputation of letter writer, and letters from sleep surgeons ranked highest. As for the subjective criteria, faculty assessment of the applicant on interview was ranked highest, followed by initiative and personality “fit” with the program. The reputation of an applicant’s residency was ranked as more important than the reputation of their medical school. An applicant’s performance in residency was assessed as more predictive of their performance in fellowship than performance during the interview process or position on the rank order list for the match. Only one program has a United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step, and a different program has an Otolaryngology Training Examination (OTE) score cutoff.
Letters of recommendation and interview are the most important factors in the selection process for hybrid sleep medicine and surgery fellowship programs, followed by research and residency program reputation. Sleep surgery-specific experience is helpful.