J Arthroplasty 2020 Sep 28;35(9):2676-2681. Epub 2020 Apr 28.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Novant Health, Charlotte, NC; Hughston Clinic, Jacksonville, FL.
Background: No data evaluate the impact that an applicant's residency program reputation has on the outcome of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) fellowship match. This study sought to determine if an applicant's residency program ranking was associated with where the applicant matched on their rank list.
Methods: We included all the US applicants from the "San Francisco Match" regarding AAHKS applicant data and match results from 2014 to 2018. Residency programs were divided into 5 tiers based on 2018 Doximity ranking of Orthopedic Residency Programs. Statistical analysis consisted of descriptive statistics, chi-squared tests, and analysis of variance.
Results: In total, 656 applicants met inclusion criteria (620 males; 36 females). Tier 1 applicants applied to an average of 10 fewer programs than applicants from all other tiers. Eighteen percent of applicants from tier 1 residencies were offered interviews at 80%+ of their applied programs compared to 5% or less of the applicants from all other tiers. Applicants from top tier residencies matched at a significantly higher place on their rank list than other tiers (P < .05) and ranked into one of their first 2 choices 72% of the time. The mean fellowship rank position for tier 1 applicants was 5.96 compared to 7.04, 7.85, 7.78, and 8.10 for subsequent tiers, respectively (P < .05).
Conclusion: The fellowship match process represents a high-stakes and expensive process. This study found that applicants from more prestigious residency programs apply to fewer programs, gain more interviews, and match higher on their rank list than applicants from other residency programs.