‘Virtual interviewing may have significantly reduced the barriers that applicants face when deciding whether to apply for fellowship.’
The 2022 C-L Psychiatry fellowship Match on January 5 demonstrated the durability of gains that were achieved during the first all-virtual recruitment season the prior year.
In this year’s C-L Psychiatry Match, 90 applicants enrolled, and 126 positions were offered by 61 certified programs. Of these, 83 positions were filled, with 33 programs completely filling their complement of positions, representing a fill rate of 66% for positions and 54% for programs.
These results tracked very closely with the results from the 2021 Match, in which 88 applicants enrolled, and 33 (55%) of 60 certified programs completely filled, with a total of 83 (66%) of 124 positions filling.
Both the 2021 and 2022 all-virtual interview years’ Match results represented a significant increase from the last in-person interview Match year in 2020, where 75 applicants enrolled and 58 programs entered, comprising 41% of programs and 61% of positions filling.
“Although the COVID-19 pandemic has presented enormous challenges to C-L Psychiatry fellowship programs, the sustainability of these recruitment gains over two years of virtual interviewing suggests that these challenges have also allowed for innovations in fellowship recruitment, creating new opportunities to attract applicants and fill positions,” says Mark Bradley, MD, MS, FACLP, chair of the Academy’s Fellowship Education Subcommittee.
“It appears that virtual interviewing may have significantly reduced the barriers that applicants face when deciding whether to apply for fellowship. Such barriers may include competing time pressures for residents; family and other personal obligations; and the significant financial investment required for travel and accommodation to accomplish in-person interviews.
“This is consistent with previous work by the Fellowship Education Subcommittee which found that financial pressures represent a major barrier for psychiatry residents to fellowship training.
“As we approach the 2022-23 selection season, ACLP, the Fellowship Education Subcommittee (FES), and other organizations that oversee graduate medical education such as the American Association of Directors of Residency Training will examine the relative benefits and disadvantages of fellowship recruitment using in-person, virtual, and hybrid models.
“Factors that have already begun taking shape in these discussions include the ongoing and unpredictable nature of the pandemic, the advantages to applicants and programs alike of being able to evaluate each other in person, and the financial and other demands placed on applicants by the in-person interviewing process.
“Of paramount concern are the equity issues foregrounded by the increased number of applicants who felt able to apply to our subspecialty during these past two virtual interview years. As we make plans for the coming year, we must consider the disadvantages that in-person interviewing, and possibly hybrid interview models, may place on those potential applicants with less access to financial and other supports for in-person visits to programs.
“It is notable that other medical subspecialties have begun to wrestle with these questions. ACLP and the FES will continue to work to provide guidance on fellowship selection processes that optimize recruitment into our subspecialty while ensuring equity for applicants.”