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  • Writer's pictureFred Fishback

GME Program Survey Results: Plans and Challenges Leading up to Virtual Match

Recently, our team conducted a brief survey to gather and share the plans and challenges of GME programs for the upcoming Virtual Match 2020-2021.

We received a total of 148 completed surveys---large enough to capture some broad themes.

Actually, what astounded me was the number who responded to the open-ended text item, "In thinking about the upcoming Match season for your program, what are your greatest concerns and worries?" Normally, open text box questions for online surveys get a 5-10% response rate. 77% took the time to type a response into the text box. That, by itself, makes a statement!

This was my personal favorite: "Showcasing unique aspects and having applicants "feel the love" of our program without having in person option" Some clear themes emerged in those open-ended comments…the top worry is that programs won’t be able to represent their programs accurately/successfully. Other key worries include technology glitches during virtual interviews, and getting the information they need from remote interviewing. 20% indicated they were planning a mix of synchronous and asynchronous, which was higher than I expected, especially since 96% indicated no experience with asynchronous. I suspect their curiosity was peaked and they want to learn more.

On a 5-point scale, where 5=extremely important and 1=not important, here is the rank order of factors that are important to programs who responded.

In a study from Duke several years ago, the top 4 factors in terms of students' ranking of a program were all “relationship” factors: 1) current resident satisfaction; 2) relationship between faculty and residents; 3) collegiality of residents; and 4) quantify and quality of faculty contact/mentoring. While location emerged in their qualitative analysis, my sense is that it is a hurdle the program has to overcome as opposed to a calculus.

For more information about this study, please contact me at

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