Promoting Inclusion and Equity in Interviewing

Recommendations to Promote Inclusion and Equity in the Interview Process

In fall 2022, the Alliance released recommendations on how to promote equity and inclusion in the residency interview process. These recommendations can be readily adapted for the fellowship interview process. Because implementation will be challenging for any program given the scope of recommendations, this summary provides programs a roadmap for how to prioritize strategies. AAIM recommends that each program conduct a needs assessment and decide which recommendations are most implementable in the near-term, and which ones may need to be developed for the future.

Promoting Inclusion in the Interview Process

Promoting Inclusion in the Interview Process

Multiple groups face systemic bias and barriers in the residency interview process, and programs may have troubles demonstrating their inclusion toward these groups.  AAIM acknowledges that this list of recommendations to promote inclusion for various groups in the interview process may not represent all groups. 

  • Provide education and faculty development for faculty and staff who interact with applicants on interview days to include 
    • Decreasing implicit bias 
    • Understanding disability laws, visas, and the immigration process 
    • Using non-binary pronouns 
  • Create residency selection committees with diverse representation, including DEI leadership or DEI champions 
  • During the interview day, emphasize the support for applicants of various backgrounds without singling out any individuals 
  • Display commitment to inclusiveness (e.g. pronoun displays, highlighting recent programming, provide all applicants with accommodations requests) 
  • Have volunteer faculty or residents with various identities to serve as point contacts for whom applicants can contact for questions 
  • Seek anonymous feedback regarding equity and inclusion from applicants who did and did not match at your program 
  • Be transparent in discussing strategies to create a positive and more inclusive environment in your program 
  • Creating high-visibility lists, like an OUTlist (out LGBTQIA+ faculty and residents) or an International Medical Graduate list 
  • Consider flexible interview times for IMG applicants 

Promoting Equity in the Interview Process

Promoting Equity in the Interview Process

Bias permeates the interview process at both the individual and systemic levels, and negatively impacts both applicants and residency programs. 

  • Residency programs rarely define what they mean by “fit,” an ambiguous term that is often based on gestalt and which may be subject to implicit bias; thus, pre-define “merit” and “compatibility” for your program, and think about transitioning to a “culture add” mindset, the concept of seeking applicants with diverse ideas and experience
  • Design interviews to have structure, such as using behavioral questions, and/or multiple mini-interviews 
  • For each candidate, consider having at least one partially or completely blinded interview (e.g., withholding academic performance or medical school) 
  • Develop a scoring rubric for interviews with descriptive anchors based on specific behaviors related to competencies or attributes as defined in your “merit” and “compatibility” criteria 
  • Train interviewers on how to use the scoring rubrics to ensure reliability of evaluations

AAIM Perspectives

Dec 2022 AAIM Perspectives article cover View AAIM Recommendations to Promote Equity and Inclusion in the Internal Medicine Residency Interview Process in the December 2022 AAIM Perspectives in The American Journal of Medicine

Acknowledgments

These recommendations were developed by the AAIM Interview Standards Task Force.

  • Cindy Lai, MD, Co-Chair
  • David Wininger, MD, FACP, Co-Chair
  • Timothy Chow, MD
  • Ricardo P. Correa, MD, EsD, FACP, FACE, FAPCR, CMQ
  • Carol Cottrell
  • Anthony Dao, MD
  • Maria Garcia, MD
  • Lindsay Gay, MD
  • Whitney Harper
  • Vera P. Luther, MD
  • Michelle Sweet, MD