Future work will seek to correlate the severity of brain malformation with severity of dysphagia, as well as look at the prevalence and progression of hearing loss in both symptomatic and asymptomatic ZIKV infants.
Explore This IssueJune 2018
Program-Specific Paragraph in the Otolaryngology Residency Application
Call it otolaryngology’s version of unintended consequences. The mandatory program–specified paragraph (PSP) within a residency applicant’s personal statement, introduced in the 2015-2016 application cycle, aimed to help program directors hone in on which applicants truly wanted to join an institution. But the PSP became controversial during the otolaryngology match process, because some saw it as imposing a required standard into one of the “only truly customizable elements” of an application, said Katelyn Stepan, MD, of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
A retrospective cohort analysis undertaken by Dr. Stepan and her colleagues sought to assess the degree of variability among PSPs by looking at 181 applications to Icahn School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. The results suggest that applicants customize PSPs. Using a five-point scale and Levenshtein distance function, the researchers found the applications to be “mildly similar.” Each contained at least three unique points about the institution to which it had been submitted.
Dr. Stepan noted that, in recent years, there are more applications per otolaryngology applicant (and fewer overall applicants), because people perceive the specialty as competitive. The value of the PSP could be further studied to see what role it plays in that trend.
Richard Quinn is a freelance medical writer based in New Jersey.