Fellowship Selection Criteria in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery


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Abstract

Introduction:Competition for subspecialty fellowship positions in ophthalmology continues to grow, and there is increasing interest regarding the factors considered important in fellowship selection. While a previous report evaluated the characteristics and criteria used by ophthalmology subspecialty program directors to select fellows in retina, cornea/external disease, and glaucoma fellowship programs, to the authors' knowledge no such study has evaluated Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (OPRS) fellowships.Methods:The authors surveyed the program directors of all American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS)—sponsored fellowships in the United States and Canada. The survey contained 16 criteria related to the selection of fellows. A Likert scale ranging from 1 (not important) to 9 (very important) was used for prioritizing the criteria. Opportunity was afforded for comment on other measures, and program directors were also asked to select their most important factor used for fellow selection.Results:The return rate of the completed surveys was 35 of 48 (73%). The 3 criteria with the highest mean Likert scale scores were the interview process (8.7), the ability to work and communicate with others (8.5), and letters of recommendation from subspecialty faculty (7.8). Likewise, the criterion selected as the single most important by respondents was the interview (58%), the ability to work and communicate with others (15%), and letters of recommendation from subspecialty faculty (15%).Conclusions:The authors' findings demonstrate that OPRS program directors place greater emphasis on qualities assessed during the interview, letters of recommendation from same specialty faculty, and the ability of the applicant to work and communicate with others. While not identical, our findings were similar to those noted for other ophthalmology subspecialties. The results support the suggestion that residents interested in fellowship training may benefit from faculty mentors in their area of interest early in their training. With the high interest in OPRS and other ophthalmology subspecialty fellowship training, the authors hope that this report will be useful to applicants, residency programs, and fellowship directors.

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