COVID-19’s Impact on the 2020-2021 Resident Match: A Survey of Otolaryngology Program Directors

David A. Kasle, Sina J. Torabi, Said Izreig, Rahmatullah W. Rahmati, R. Peter Manes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the impact coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) will have on the 2020-2021 otolaryngology (OTO-HNS) resident application cycle. Methods: A cross-sectional survey targeting OTO-HNS program directors (PD) was created and disseminated via email to PDs on May 28th 2020. Descriptive analyses of the 19-question survey was performed, and free text responses for certain suitable questions were thematically categorized into groups determined to be relevant during analysis. Results: Twenty-nine of 123 solicited PDs (23.6%) completed the survey. Nineteen (65.5%) respondents indicated they would not host away rotations (AR) in 2020, and 9 (31.0%) reported that they would consider away rotators without home programs. Regarding the historical importance of AR, 21 (72.4%) PDs stated they were either “extremely” or “very” important in evaluating candidates. Sixteen (55.2%) PDs stated that virtual interviews would impact their ability to properly gauge candidates and 12 (41.4%) were unsure. Eight PDs (27.6%) stated their evaluation of candidates will likely change, with a shift toward an increased reliance on letters of recommendation, research involvement, and clerkship grades. The large majority of PDs—25 (86.2%)—were not worried that the COVID-19 pandemic would affect the abilities of new interns beginning in 2021. Conclusion: Virtual interviews and engagement activities will mostly supplant sub-Is and AR for the 2020-2021 OTO-HNS application cycle. Surveyed PDs largely believe these will be insufficient in providing a comprehensive assessment of candidates, and will similarly limit applicants’ ability to gauge residency programs. Criteria utilized to evaluate students is expected to change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-673
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Program Directors Survey
  • medical student education
  • otolaryngology applications
  • virtual interviews


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