Fellow selection protocols in sleep surgery: a national survey of sleep surgery program directors

Abstract

Purpose

To determine the factors that sleep medicine/surgery fellowship program directors look for in applicants.

Methods

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).

Results

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Correspondence to Michael T. Chung.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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All studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Detroit Medical Center and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Engel, R., Chung, M.T., Johnson, J. et al. Fellow selection protocols in sleep surgery: a national survey of sleep surgery program directors. Sleep Breath (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11325-020-02132-y

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Keywords

  • Sleep surgery
  • Fellowship
  • Selection criteria
  • Protocol