A novel way to rank residency applicants based on college sports ranking systems

To create a more accurate rank list of residency applicants and to address variability across faculty interviewers, an associate program director of Yale's Psychiatry Residency Program suggests a unique approach based on collegiate sports rankings.

Each year the National Resident Matching Program determines where medical school graduates and transferring residents will continue their medical training in one of nearly 50 specialties, including psychiatry. After training programs conduct applicant interviews, the applicants submit ranked lists of their preferred training programs and residency programs submit rank order lists of their top applicants.

Despite the importance of this process and inherent limitations with traditional approaches to creating rank order lists, minimal research has been conducted to examine the accuracy of different approaches that programs use to prepare these lists.

The article appears online ahead of print in Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Medical College. David A. Ross, MD, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry, is the corresponding author.

Yale's Psychiatry Residency Program explored this new approach to creating rank order lists in response to faculty interviewers who consistently rated applicants more positively or negatively than their peer interviewers. The simple substitution of one faculty interviewer for another during an applicant's visit could lead to a rank shift of more than 30 places on the program's list of 150 applicants.

The suggested approach is based on the college hockey concept of pairwise rankings, which is outlined in detail in the published article.

Edward Z. Moore, PhD, assistant professor of engineering at Central Connecticut State University, is a co-author.

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This article was submitted by Shane Seger on September 11, 2013.