Publication Date



Journal of Graduate Medical Education


BACKGROUND: Holistic review promotes diversity, but widespread implementation remains limited.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to develop a practical approach to incorporate holistic review principles in screening applicants in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and to assess the impact on diversity.

METHODS: Three residency programs (internal medicine [IM], pediatrics, and surgery) at McGovern Medical School developed filters to identify applicants with experiences/attributes aligned with the institutional mission. These filters were retroactively applied to each program's 2019-2020 applicant pool using built-in ERAS capabilities to group applicants by user-defined features. We compared the demographics of applicants reviewed during the cycle with those identified retrospectively through experiences/attributes filters.

RESULTS: The IM, pediatrics, and surgery programs received 3527, 1341, and 1313 applications, respectively, in 2019-2020. Retrospective use of experiences/attributes filters, without scores, narrowed the IM applicant pool for review to 1301 compared to 1323 applicants reviewed during actual recruitment, while the pediatrics filters identified 514 applicants compared to 384 at baseline. The surgery filters resulted in 582 applicants, but data were missing for baseline comparison. Compared to the baseline screening approach utilizing scores, mission-based filters increased the proportions of underrepresented in medicine applicants selected for review in IM (54.8% [95% CI 52.1-57.5] vs 22.7% [20.4-24.9],

CONCLUSIONS: Program directors can leverage existing ERAS features to conduct application screening in alignment with holistic review principles. Widespread implementation could have important repercussions for enhancing physician workforce diversity.


Child, Electronics, Humans, Internal Medicine, Internship and Residency, Retrospective Studies, School Admission Criteria



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