Aug 7, 2015
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I'm a frequent poster on these forums who made this account for anonymity.

I have a great uncle who is a respected clinical faculty member at an academic institution in the region I'm trying to match into for residency. I've actually only met him twice or so in my life. I didn't even recognize him the first day on rounds when I ended up doing an away rotation with him.

At the end of the rotation, he agreed to write a LOR. We both agreed that he should disclose our relationship in the LOR. What do you guys think about a LOR of this nature? Does it smack of immaturity or desperation? Have you ever heard of this happening before?

It's a bit of a shame, because everything else about the LOR would be perfect for my application.
 
Sep 13, 2014
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Under the Sea
No. Extremely good chance of the LOR being thrown out because of relationship. Think about it this way your an attending I'm a desent family member but we are family. I rotate with you, I'm an okay applicant but not a show stopper but you write me a killer LOR because we do have a connection that you other wise wouldn't. I am in no way knocking you. You might be awesome and your great uncle might not be biased but you still are family. That is just how I would look at it. I had a similar experience I had a family member at a very respected med school that refused to write me an LOR to his school because of this very reason.
 

operaman

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Jun 7, 2010
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I think it would depend on whether he's clinical faculty within the field you intend to enter. If so, and if he's well respected in that field, then it would probably be worth sending. LORs from within a field are more about whose name is at the bottom than anything above it. Sure, a generic letter from a bigwig probably doesn't help much, but a glowing letter from an unknown is probably less powerful than a really good letter from a big name. If your uncle is such a name, and assuming the letter is good, then it would be helpful.

If he's not in the field you're applying to, then the relationship does probably skew how people will view it and you would be better off sending others.
 
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Aug 7, 2015
2
0
Status
Medical Student
I think it would depend on whether he's clinical faculty within the field you intend to enter. If so, and if he's well respected in that field, then it would probably be worth sending. LORs from within a field are more about whose name is at the bottom than anything above it. Sure, a generic letter from a bigwig probably doesn't help much, but a glowing letter from an unknown is probably less powerful than a really good letter from a big name. If your uncle is such a name, and assuming the letter is good, then it would be helpful.

If he's not in the field you're applying to, then the relationship does probably skew how people will view it and you would be better off sending others.
He probably wouldn't be considered a "big name", and it's not my specialty. Hm...it's a predicament because the alternative is to get an average LOR from an unknown.

I think I'd be willing to risk the letter getting ignored, but I wouldn't want it to go further and then turn around and have a negative impact on my overall application (i.e. rather than lack of positive, become a negative).
 

operaman

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Jun 7, 2010
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Would not likely become a negative for you, but probably won't help either. I think you'd be better off looking for more field-specific letters if possible to increase the chances that your writers are known to programs where you apply.
 

TraumaLlamaMD

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Sep 18, 2014
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See if your relative has contacts in your chosen field who you might work with and get a letter from.
 
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