Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder? Differences in Residency Training Program Preferences Among Women and Minorities

Katelyn J. Cavanaugh, Paula L. Costa, Ross E. Willis, Brian J. Dunkin, Aimee K. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Training programs are now more than ever seeking ways to promote recruitment and retention of a diverse resident workforce. The goal of this study was to examine how gender and ethnic identities affect applicant attraction to surgery training programs. Methods: Applicants to general surgery residency in 2018 to 2019 completed a 31-item assessment measuring preferences for training program characteristics and attributes. Differences in preferences across candidate gender and ethnicity were investigated. Factor analyses and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to explore these differences. Results: 1491 unique applicants to 7 residency programs completed the assessment, representing 67% of all applicants to general surgery during the 2018 to 2019 season. Women preferred training programs that had high levels of social support (p < 0.001), were less traditional (p < 0.001), and with less turbulence (p < 0.05). Non-white candidates reported greater preference for programs with higher levels of established academics (p < 0.001), clinical experiences (p < 0.001), social support (p < 0.05), traditionalism (p < 0.001), flexibility (p < 0.001), and innovation (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Organizational efforts to attract and retain a diverse workforce may benefit from considering the aspects of work that align with female and underrepresented minority preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-314
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • recruitment
  • selection
  • women, minorities, underrepresented

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder? Differences in Residency Training Program Preferences Among Women and Minorities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this