Orthopedic residency applications up during the pandemic, Yale study finds


More medical students have applied for orthopedic surgery residencies during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they had more research items compared to past years, according to a study from Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

The study, published in the North American Spine Society Journal, reviews trends in orthopedic residency application cycles from a single Northeast program between 2015 to 2021. Nearly 5,000 applications were analyzed.

Four findings:

1. The total number of applicants rose 7 percent from 2020 to 2021.

2. There weren't any significant changes in female or Black and Hispanic applicants during the pandemic. Between 2020 and 2021, Black and Hispanic applicants dipped from 18 percent to 17 percent. Female applicants rose from 20 percent to 22 percent during the same time.

3. Applicants had more research items on average in 2021. The number of research items an applicant had doubled since 2015. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of research items rose from 16 to 19.

4. Researchers concluded: "The current study of orthopaedic surgery residency applications demonstrates an increase in applicant number and research items per applicant, but reveals no other significant deviations in application trends in 2021 despite interruptions due to COVID-19. It may require several cycles before we see the full effects of COVID-19 on orthopaedic surgery residency and spine fellowship applications, but at present the orthopaedic spine trainee and spine fellow pipeline appears maintained."

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