Is the changing landscape of fellowship recruitment during COVID-19 here to stay?

Shreya Gupta, L. Grier Arthur, Nicole Chandler, Paul Danielson, Cynthia Downard, Peter Ehrlich, Barbara Gaines, Brian Gray, Patrick Javid, Michel Lallier, Benedict Nwomeh, Edward Tagge, Richard Weiss, Kuo Jen Tsao, Aaron P. Garrison, Grace Mak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The 2020 Pediatric Surgery (PS) fellowship selection process was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A review of lessons learned can help determine best practices for the future. The purpose of the study was to analyze the virtual interview experience and assess opportunities to improve the post-pandemic fellowship recruitment process. Study Design: Using a 28-question survey of Program Directors (PDs) of PS fellowships as well as a 44-question survey of applicants to PS fellowships in the US and Canada, we gathered information on the recruitment process during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020). Dichotomous, multiple choice and open-ended questions about the changes in process, platforms used, format, comparison to on-site interviews and overall satisfaction were used for objective and subjective feedback. Results: A 95% participation rate was recorded for the PD survey. 24 out of 55 programs (44%) changed their on-site interviews to virtual format due to the pandemic. Most PDs described their overall impression of virtual interviews as satisfactory (66%, 16/24) and did not have an impact on the applicant's success in the match (35/54; 65%). About 50% of PDs preferred to have on-site interviews with virtual screening in the future. While the participation rate from applicants was much less (26 of 70), responses confirmed our survey results. Majority preferred on-site interviews (17/26), 6 of which preferred virtual screening followed by on-site interviews. Conclusion: Components of virtual screening and interviews were found to have benefits financially and from both time and stress perspectives, and thus might survive past the pandemic. Levels of Evidence Level IV:.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-450
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Applicant selection
  • COVID-19
  • Pediatric surgery fellowship
  • Program director survey
  • Ranking
  • Virtual interviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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