Nearly 90% of radiology residents said selection committees favor MDs over DO applicants

Approximately 90% of radiology residents said residency selection groups favored allopathic applicants over those pursuing an osteopathic degree.  

That’s according to the results of an anonymous, 13-question survey of more than 250 residents published Wednesday in Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology. DO-credentialed docs also claimed they were more likely to be steered away from pursuing radiology as a career because of their degree compared to MDs.

The findings are particularly relevant given that in June, training pathways for both graduate options were combined into a single system under the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

First author Nassier Harfouch, with Northwell Health’s Staten Island University Hospital, and colleagues argued that these perceived differences may have unintended negative consequences.

“In our current environment of ever-increasing burnout and thus significant concerns for resident wellness, it is probably safe to infer that these partialities do not support a constructive educational and developmental environment,” the authors added. “Despite the inherent difficulty of performing research on differing perceptions and views, this study highlights the existence of differing perspectives amongst radiology residents’ degree type and provides a launching point for a future exchange of ideas.”

To reach their conclusions, the authors analyzed survey responses from 268 current rad residents (202 MD graduates versus 66 DOs). Results showed that both allopathic and osteopathic degree holders felt residency selection committees favored applicants in the former category.

Additionally, nearly four times as many DO grads said having their degree altered their medical careers compared to responses from MDs.

Harfouch and colleagues did suggest that the “notable” differences between both degree pathways need to be addressed before drawing any drastic conclusions. And paired with the fact that a majority of respondents were MDs, further investigations are needed for concrete insights into this issue.

“Future research should aim to study if such inconsistencies are present between DO and MD residents in other specialties,” the authors concluded. “The promotion of constructive relationships and providing venues where differing perspectives can be discussed will be critical to promote optimal patient care moving forward.”