The role of race and ethnicity in the dermatology applicant match process

Collin M. Costello, Jamison A. Harvey, Jake G. Besch-Stokes, Puneet Bhullar, Elisabeth S. Lim, Katie L. Kunze, Megha M. Tollefson, Leila M. Tolaymat, Shari A. Ochoa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective:: The field of dermatology is one of the least racially diverse specialties. We aimed to identify ways in which minorities become underrepresented within dermatology. Methods:: We surveyed dermatology applicants who applied to Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ during the 2018–2019 application cycle and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Scottsdale, and Jacksonville during the 2019–2020 application cycles. Underrepresented minorities (URM) were defined as Latino/Latina, African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. Results:: In total, 149 and 142 dermatology applicants completed the initial 2019 and 2020 surveys, 112 and 124 completed the follow-up surveys. The racial breakdown was 69.9% Caucasian, 23.7% Asian, 5.4% African American, 0.4% American Indian/Alaska Native, and 0.7% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. Eight percent identified as Hispanic/Latino. Median Step 1 scores were lower for URM (p<0.01). URM had more publications (p=0.01). There were no observed differences in away rotations or interviews attended. URM were less likely to match (76.7%) vs. Whites (88.4%) and Asians (96.0%; p=0.03). Conclusion:: URM are taking out more loans, pursuing research fellowships more often than their White counterparts, publishing more, completing the same number of away rotations and interviews, yet have lower match rates leading to underrepresentation in the field. It is important to realize how Step scores might reflect and reproduce disparities between different racial/ethnic backgrounds, in turn influencing the racial composition of dermatology residency programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)666-670
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Dermatology
  • Dermatology applicant
  • Dermatology residency
  • Ethnic groups
  • Race factors
  • Structural racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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