Dermatology Residency Affiliation, Higher Research Ranking Linked to Resident Matching Rates

Cropped shot of an attractive young nurse standing and shaking a doctor’s hand in the clinic
Those medical schools, and their characteristics, that match the most dermatology residents are identified.

Medical schools with a dermatology residency affiliation and clerkship rotations and those with a higher research ranking had the highest rates of matching dermatology students from 2017 to 2020, according to study findings published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

In April 2020, researchers sought to obtain data for the 143 dermatology residency programs in the American Medical Association’s FREIDA database regarding medical schools attended by dermatology residents from 2020 to 2021. The data were obtained from residency websites and from surveys of program coordinators. The study authors also assessed medical schools’ US News and World Report (USNWR) 2021 research ranking, affiliation with dermatology residencies according to FREIDA listings, and school websites, class size, and dermatology exposure.

The investigators calculated the ratio of matched students to medical school class size to provide normalized comparison among the schools. Complete resident records were obtained for 118 programs with 1406 total residents (83% response rate).

Baylor University (27 students), Harvard University (26 students), and the University of Michigan (24 students) matched the most students into dermatology programs. After adjustment for class size, New York University (22 students), Yale University (21 students), and Stanford University (17 students) proportionately matched the most students.

Schools with a dermatology residency affiliation matched more students from 2017 to 2020 compared with schools without a dermatology residency affiliation (8.9 vs 3.9, P < 0.001), as did schools with dermatology clerkship rotations compared with schools without (10.7 vs 7.3, P < .001). The medical schools with a higher research ranking also matched more students compared with schools with a lower ranking (r = –0.64, P < .001).

A total of 22 medical schools, which is 11% of US medical schools, accounted for almost one-third of current dermatology residents (427/1406). Although school ranking correlated with matching rate, several schools, including Louisiana State University–New Orleans and the University of Central Florida, were not ranked in the top 70 in USNWR ranking but were among schools with higher matching rates.

Study limitations include the dependence on data from websites that may have been incomplete or inaccurate, and graduation and gap year information were not available.

“Our findings should prompt further research in identifying additional factors that influence increased dermatology matching,” the study authors commented.


Ogidi P, Ahmed F, Cahn BA, et al. Medical schools as gatekeepers: a survey and analysis of factors predicting dermatology residency placement. J Am Acad Dermatol. Published online September 20, 2021. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2021.09.027