Selection criteria for the integrated model of plastic surgery residency

Jeffrey R LaGrasso, Debbie A Kennedy, James G Hoehn, Salmon Ashruf, Adrian M Przybyla
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2008, 121 (3): 121e-125e

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to identify those qualities and characteristics of fourth-year medical students applying for the Integrated Model of Plastic Surgery residency training that will make a successful plastic surgery resident.

METHODS: A three-part questionnaire was distributed to the training program directors of the 20 Integrated Model of Plastic Surgery programs accredited by the Residency Review Committee for Plastic Surgery by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education. The first section focused on 19 objective characteristics that directors use to evaluate applicants (e.g., Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society membership, United States Medical Licensing Examination scores). The second section consisted of 20 subjective characteristics commonly used to evaluate applicants during the interview process. The third section consisted of reasons why, if any, residents failed to successfully complete the training program.

RESULTS: Fifteen of the 20 program directors responded to the questionnaire. The results showed that they considered membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society to be the most important objective criterion, followed by publications in peer-reviewed journals and letters of recommendation from plastic surgeons known to the director. Leadership capabilities were considered the most important subjective criterion, followed by maturity and interest in academics. Reasons residents failed to complete the training program included illness or death, academic inadequacies, and family demands.

CONCLUSIONS: The authors conclude that applicants who have achieved high academic honors and demonstrate leadership ability with interest in academics were viewed most likely to succeed as plastic surgery residents by program directors of Integrated Model of Plastic Surgery residencies.

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