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Race on ERAS

Discussion in 'ERAS, SOAP, and NRMP Match' started by curious lately, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. curious lately

    7+ Year Member

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    As a racial minority, I am so bummed I even have to answer this question. I'm sure I am probably overthinking this, but does race have any purpose on an application? I don't think programs have gotten more diverse as a result of this feature. Regardless, I want my accomplishments to speak for themselves. So my question is this: can programs actually see your photo as soon as it's uploaded or only after they invite you for interview? On this forum, I've read it's the latter, but when I asked my advisor, she said they can see them Sept 1 or whenever your application is submitted. If that's the case, I guess it would just make you look foolish to not answer the question as they can stare right at your photo and know. Maybe a PD can help with this. Thanks!
     
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  3. mcl

    mcl
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    Programs have the option of screening out certain types of information using the ERAS Data Filter--the applicant photo and race/ethnicity are definitely on that list. Personally, I've found that screening the photo, date of birth, and race/ethnicity from the Selection Committee goes a long way to eliminating the appearance of bias. However, there are often "tells" in other elements of the application (such as scholarships, awards, work history, or personal statements) so an applicant's age or race is rarely a surprise in reality. The only item that I screen throughout the recruitment process is the social security number in order to protect both the applicant and the institution from privacy violations/identity theft.

    For the last three years or so, the release of the ERAS photo has been an all-or-nothing proposition. Prior to that, I had to indicate that I was offering an interview in order to see the photo, and I only saw the photos of the people I indicated that I was interviewing. Then ERAS changed so that either the photo is screened or it's not screened, and it's a pain to turn the screening mechanism on and off depending on whether I'm setting up interviews for people we've invited (when I do want to see the photo) or re-evaluating an applicant who's application has been on hold pending more information such as a Step 2 score (when I don't want to see the photo).

    If I had to guess, I would bet that most programs don't utilize the screens and view all of the information about all of the applicants. I'd be pleasantly surprised if that weren't true.

    Is race/ethnicity an item on the application that you have to answer?
     
  4. judgementday

    judgementday Health Ed Specialist

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    Our program did use race during the application screening process. This was only due to a site visitor commenting on how our program was not diverse enough and that the ACGME was going to introduce language to this affect in the program requirements. So we had to come up with a mechanism to include minorities. In the end it actually led to a more defined screening process for all candidates.
     
  5. curious lately

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    Thanks mcl, that was very helpful. We have to choose something for the race and ethnicity sections with "No answer" being one of the options.
     
  6. peppy

    peppy Senior Member
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    Another way to possibly look at it: If a program has a problem with your race, it might be better to find that out before you spend your money and time interviewing there.
    Since you can only attend so many interviews, you want each one to count. I wouldn't want to attend an interview at a place where I never had a chance because of my race.
     
  7. Shoushu

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    How many is "so many" interviews? Is there a practical cap? One would need to fly all over the country if one has a dozen interviews, and I seem to read programs schedule interviews in only a couple of months, in and around December. And many programs only have few designated days as interview days, where they squeeze all candidates there to interview.

    Are many forced to give up interviews due to the nightmare of time conflicts and maybe travel logistics (mostly tickets and delays)?
     
  8. mcl

    mcl
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    Yes. Programs will have conflicting interview dates, and everyone will have to make hard decisions. I think that most applicants accept any invitations they receive and schedule the interviews as best they can. After the invitations slow down, they look at the logistics/desirability of the programs they've scheduled and start to cancel interviews. Programs often have some leeway to work with you if you just need to change interview dates.
     
  9. 2012mdc

    2012mdc Enjoying the Dark Side
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    yeah I agree with this. I did not hesitate to answer it because of this fact.
     
  10. aProgDirector

    aProgDirector Pastafarians Unite!
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    As usual, I agree with mcl.

    If you're concerned about your photo being used to "select" (or "de-select") you, I believe you can simply not assign it to programs until after they have decided to interview you or not. In the past, the photo was part of your application so it automatically went to every program. Of course, some programs might require a photo to consider your application complete.

    So, bottom line is you;re probably stuck just sending the photo to all programs. I too get frustrated and want to block photos prior to interview decisions, but run into the same problems as mcl.
     

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