SRF and Medical Student Outreach in the Age of COVID-19
In 2020, Section for Residents and Fellows-in-Training (SRF) dramatically increased its outreach to students and is proud to showcase two very successful online forums for students who applied to otolaryngology.
Kevin Y. Zhan, MD, SRF Chair-Elect, and Zainab Farzal, MD, SRF Chair
This past year otolaryngology residency programs vastly augmented their social media presence to better cater to a virtual interview format and subsequent increase in professional student social media accounts. Additionally, a “Zoom-friendly” environment in the COVID-19 era enabled far-reaching medical student recruitment events.
This year, the Section for Residents and Fellows-in-Training (SRF) dramatically increased its outreach to students and is proud to showcase two very successful online forums for students who applied to otolaryngology. Our first panel, “You’ve Matched, Now What?,” welcomed new students to the specialty and was attended by 180 medical students. Guest speakers included AAO-HNS/F President Carol R. Bradford, MD, MS; Past President Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD; and Past President Al Merati, MD. Our second panel, “What to Expect in the First Year of Residency,” was a huge hit as well among students, and in it we answered pre-submitted questions featuring numerous panelists from diverse training programs across the country at all levels of training.
Recruiting medical students earlier in their training, the AAO-HNS Medical Student Forum offered “Is OTO in Your Future?” webinar highlighting the breadth of the field. The forum featured otolaryngology leaders in both the academic and private practice arenas with SRF representation and was attended by over 800 students. For programs wanting to increase their recruitment of underrepresented applicants, the Harvard/Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary minority student outreach program serves as the perfect example. Under the leadership of AAO-HNS/F Past President Gregory W. Randolph, MD, the program led two Saturday webinars to recruit students at Meharry, Morehouse, and Howard universities. SRF and the Young Physician Section leaders were graciously invited to partake.
Wrapping up the spring 2021 student forum series, the AAO-HNS Diversity and Inclusion Committee hosted “Diverse Journeys to Otolaryngology.” Panelists shared their own challenges and personal journeys to otolaryngology, provided tools and resources for students who are underrepresented in medicine, and discussed their own early residency experiences.
Given the popularity and feedback of the recruitment and education events this year, we plan to continue outreach efforts to foster a greater sense of appreciation for the field and recruit diverse talent.