Prospects of a Fellowship Match for Abdominal Imaging: A National Survey by the Society of Abdominal Radiology

J Am Coll Radiol. 2020 Jun;17(6):804-811. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2020.02.003. Epub 2020 Feb 24.

Abstract

Purpose: After the Society of Chairs of Academic Radiology Departments timeline and guidelines were released for the 2021 through 2022 fellowship application cycle, the Society of Abdominal Radiology conducted a survey of residents, fellows, and abdominal imaging fellowship program directors (PDs) to assess stakeholders' perceptions of changes in the fellowship application process.

Methods: Eligible study participants included fellowship PDs of all US abdominal imaging programs and Society of Abdominal Radiology members-in-training. A questionnaire was developed by content and survey experts, pilot-tested, and administered from August to October 2019.

Results: Survey response rates were 51.4% among PDs (54 of 103) and 24.2% among trainees (67 of 279), with an overall response rate of 31.8%. Attitudes regarding the abdominal imaging fellowship application process were overall similar between PDs and trainees, including expressed support for a common application. Although trainees and PDs agreed that the Society of Chairs of Academic Radiology Departments 2021 through 2022 cycle timeline is preferable to the prior unstructured system, only 42.4% of PDs and 40.7% of trainees supported moving to a formal match, with a significant number of respondents undecided. Both PDs and trainees favored timing fellowship interviews during the fall of the third year of residency (R3 year), with a 1- to 2-month buffer between the start of interviews and offers.

Conclusions: PDs and trainees demonstrate similar attitudes in support of the Society of Chairs of Academic Radiology Departments 2021 through 2022 cycle timeline and a common abdominal imaging fellowship application. Shifting the interview season from winter to fall of R3 year could be considered to meet the preferences of PDs and trainees alike. Moving to a formal match remains controversial.

Keywords: Abdominal imaging fellowship; application; match; radiology fellowship.