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Daily Bulletin

Holistic Recruitment Process Boosts Numbers of Female Radiology Residents

Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022

Standardization of radiology residency recruitment processes with an emphasis on diversity in faculty participation and a holistic application review was associated with increased proportions of matched female residents, according to research presented Monday.



Female radiology residents are persistently under-represented in U.S. radiology residency programs, despite parity in medical school admissions. Standardized recruitment processes have been described as a tool to reduce biases and increase diversity in admissions processes.

Mai A. Elezaby, MD, associate professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues developed a standardized holistic recruitment process and evaluated its impact on the matching of female radiology residents into an academic diagnostic radiology residency program.

The standardized process was devised and implemented in the summer of 2020 to increase residency program diversity. The plan included implementation of a holistic application review process, standardized behavioral interview questions and a more diverse faculty selection committee.

"We updated our recruitment goals and values, and we used those updated metrics to mirror our metrics for scoring our applicants," Dr. Elezaby said. "We also built a more diverse search committee with representation from the entire department."

With the new process in place, the researchers collected and compared recruitment process data pre- and post-implementation.

New Protocol Leads to More Interviews for Women

A total of four years of recruitment data were included. There were no statistically significant differences in the percentage of female applicants before and after implementation of the recruitment process. However, the proportion of female applicants interviewed after the implementation climbed from 26.7% to 44%. Before implementation of the standardized recruitment process, two out of 16 matched applicants (12.5%) were female. Post-implementation, eight out of 16 matched applicants (50%) were female, a statistically significant increase.

"Standardization of our radiology residency recruitment processes focused on increasing the visibility of female faculty and a holistic application review was associated with a statistically significant increase in female matching applicants," Dr. Elezaby said.

Among the measures implemented, Dr. Elezaby credited conducting virtual interviews with helping to expand the number of female applicants.

"Virtual interviews have really helped us in improving the interview cycle," she said. "They allow us to increase the participation of residents and faculty members from diverse backgrounds."

While the study results are encouraging, Dr. Elezaby emphasized that boosting female representation in radiology will require much more work.

"Continued efforts to promote earlier exposure to radiology in medical school are still needed to increase the pipeline of female applicants to radiology programs," she said.

Access the presentation, "Impact of a Standardized Holistic Radiology Residency Recruitment Process on the Matching of Female Radiology Residents," (M1-SSNPM01-4) on demand at