Rankings of US residency programs based on academic achievement are a resource for fourth-year medical students applying for residency through the National Resident Matching Program. They also highlight the leading academic training programs in each medical specialty. Currently, the Doximity Residency Navigator (https://residency.doximity.com) provides rankings of US residency programs based on either subjective or objective criteria. The subjective rankings utilize current resident and recent alumni satisfaction surveys as well as nominations from board-certified Doximity members who were asked to nominate up to 5 residency programs in their specialty that offer the best clinical training. The objective rankings are based on measurement of research output, which is calculated from the collective h-index of publications authored by graduating alumni within the last 15 years as well as the amount of research funding awarded.1
Aquino et al2 provided a ranking of US dermatology residency programs using alternative objective data measures (as of December 31, 2008) from the Doximity algorithm, including National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Dermatology Foundation (DF) funding, number of publications by full-time faculty members, number of faculty lectures given at annual meetings of 5 societies, and number of full-time faculty members serving on the editorial boards of 6 dermatology journals. The current study is an update to those rankings utilizing data from 2014.
The following data for each dermatology residency program were obtained to formulate the rankings: number of full-time faculty members, amount of NIH funding received in 2014 (https://report.nih.gov/), number of publications by full-time faculty members in 2014 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/), and the number of faculty lectures given at annual meetings of 5 societies in 2014 (American Academy of Dermatology, the Society for Investigative Dermatology, the American Society of Dermatopathology, the Society for Pediatric Dermatology, and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery). This study was approved by the institutional review board at Kaiser Permanente Southern California.
The names of all US dermatology residency programs were obtained as of December 31, 2014, from FREIDA Online using the search term dermatology. An email was sent to a representative from each residency program (eg, residency program coordinator, program director, full-time faculty member) requesting confirmation of a list of full-time faculty members in the program, excluding part-time and volunteer faculty. If a response was not obtained or the representative declined to participate, a list was compiled using available information from that residency program’s website.
National Institutes of Health funding for 2014 was obtained for individual faculty members from the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools expenditures and reports (https://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm) by searching the first and last name of each full-time faculty member along with their affiliated institution. The search results were filtered to only include NIH funding for full-time faculty members listed as principal investigators rather than as coinvestigators. The fiscal year total cost by institute/center for each full-time faculty member’s projects was summated to obtain the total NIH funding for the program.
The total number of publications by full-time faculty members in 2014 was obtained utilizing a PubMed search of articles indexed for MEDLINE using each faculty member’s first and last name. The authors’ affiliations were verified for each publication, and the number of publications was summed for all full-time faculty members at each residency program. If multiple authors from the same program coauthored an article, it was only counted once toward the total number of faculty publications from that program.
Program brochures for the 2014 meetings of the 5 societies were reviewed to quantify the number of lectures given by full-time faculty members in each program.
Each residency program was assigned a score from 0 to 1.0 for each of the 4 factors of academic achievement analyzed. The program with the highest number of faculty publications was assigned a score of 1.0 and the program with the lowest number of publications was assigned a score of 0. The programs in between were subsequently assigned scores from 0 to 1.0 based on the number of publications as a percentage of the number of publications from the program with the most publications.
A weighted ranking scheme was used to rank residency programs based on the relative importance of each factor. There were 3 factors that were deemed to be the most reflective of academic achievement among dermatology residency programs: amount of NIH funding received in 2014, number of publications by full-time faculty members in 2014, and number of faculty lectures given at society meetings in 2014; thus, these factors were given a weight of 1.0. The remaining factor— total number of full-time faculty members—was given a weight of 0.5. Values were totaled and programs were ranked based on the sum of these values. All quantitative analyses were performed using an electronic spreadsheet program.