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Dermatology Online Journal

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A strategic evidence-based framework for international medical graduates (IMGs) applying to dermatology residence in the United States: a literature review


Dermatology is one of the least diverse medical fields, partly owing to the low number of international medical graduates that apply and match to dermatology residency programs in the United States each year. Our objective was to determine and outline the factors that can increase competitiveness of international applicants interested in applying to dermatology residency in the U.S. Higher match rates for IMGs were associated with several applicant-dependent characteristics, including higher USMLE scores, higher research participation and numbers of publications, strong recommendation letters, and dermatology rotations. Although states with a greater number of dermatology residency positions (New York, Massachusetts, and California) had more IMGs matched from 2013 to 2018, certain states with a smaller number of residency positions, namely Colorado and Georgia, had the highest dermatology match rates for IMGs when adjusted for the total number of matched applicants. Evidenced-based application guidance for international applicants, as outlined in this literature review, may improve the competitiveness of IMGs and increase diversity within the field of dermatology. Rotating and applying to dermatology residency programs in states that have historically accepted a higher number of IMGs may further improve the applicants' chances of matching into a dermatology residency.

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