Dermatology Residency Applicants’ Concerns Due to COVID-19

Main Article Content

Kayla A. Clark, BS
Dr. Virginia M. Miori, PhD
Dr. Virgina A. Jones, MD, MS
Dr. Maria M. Tsoukas, MD, PhD


Dermatology Residency, ERAS, COVID-19, Virtual Application Cycle, Dermatology Residency Applicants, Medical Education, social media



The COVID-19 pandemic caused substantial disruptions to medical education. We hypothesized that these disruptions may affect students applying to competitive residencies such as dermatology.


A 24-question IRB-exempt, online, anonymous survey was distributed to 240 eligible medical students via social media to assess dermatology residency applicants’ concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to collect student-proposed solutions to assist with the virtual application cycle. Eligibility consisted of US MD students applying to dermatology residency in the 2020-2021 or 2021-2022 application cycles. Statistical significance was calculated using the Chi-squared procedure, T-test/ANOVA, Mann Whitney test, and Kruskil Wallis tests with post-hoc Tukey and Mann Whitney tests.


Of 240 eligible students, 77 students attempted the survey whereas 69 students completed it (response rate 32%, completion rate 89%). Salient findings include students without home dermatology departments (WHD; n=24) who demonstrated concerns about research project changes (p=0.00). Students under-represented in medicine (UIM; n=34) concerned about lack of in-person interviews (p=0.00; p=0.04). MS3 (n=14), concerned about test cost (p=0.00), and effect on test scores because of COVID-19 (p=0.03). WHD and UIM applicants showed concerns about changes in clinical experiences (p=0.03, p= 0.03, respectively). Lastly, WHD, UIM and MS3 expressed concerns about obtaining quality recommendation letters (p=0.00, p=0.04, and p=0.03, respectively).


Our findings demonstrate the various concerns shared by dermatology residency applicants because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The suggested solutions offered by participants in our study can be used to improve processes for candidates in the 2021-2022 residency application cycle.


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