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Original Investigation |

Association of Fellowship Training With Otolaryngology Training Examination Scores

Ibukun Akinboyewa, BS1; Cristina Cabrera-Muffly, MD2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Currently a medical student at University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora
2Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016;142(3):274-277. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2015.3570.
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Importance  No prior studies have evaluated whether residents who pursue fellowship training achieve higher performance on the Otolaryngology Training Examination (OTE) and whether a specific fellowship will demonstrate a correlation with the corresponding specialty-specific OTE score.

Objectives  To determine whether residents pursuing fellowship training achieve higher performance on the OTE and whether fellowship choice is correlated with higher scores on the related subspecialty section of the OTE.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This retrospective analysis included 35 residents training in an academic otolaryngology residency program from July 1, 2003, to June 30, 2014. The OTE scores for postgraduate years 2 through 5 and the type of fellowship were collected for all residents meeting inclusion criteria. Data were collected from September 1 to October 15, 2014, and analyzed from October 16 to December 1, 2014.

Exposures  Residents were divided by whether they pursued fellowship training and by the type of fellowship chosen.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Outcome measures included comparison of scores between residents who pursued vs those who did not pursue fellowship training and comparison of subspecialty OTE scores between residents who pursued the corresponding fellowship and those who did not.

Results  Of the 35 residents who met the inclusion criteria (24 men and 11 women), 17 (49%) pursued fellowship training. The 3 most common fellowship choices were facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, pediatric otolaryngology, and rhinology (4 residents each [24%]). For all residents, mean scores on the OTE improved each subsequent training year, but this difference was only significant between postgraduate years 2 and 3 (from 60.9% to 68.6% correct; P < .001). Residents who pursued fellowship training did not perform better than those who did not (mean correct responses in postgraduate years 2-5, respectively, 59.6% vs 62.6% [P = .40]; 67.6% vs 71.2% [P = .33]; 71.2% vs 72.0% [P = .71]; and 71.4% vs 73.7% [P = .20]). Among residents who pursued the most common fellowships, no correlation was found between postgraduate year 5 scores on the related subspecialty section compared with the rest of the study group (mean correct responses for facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, 72.5% vs 74.7% [P = .67]; for pediatric otolaryngology, 72.9% vs 71.3% [P = .79]; and for rhinology, 72.2% vs 71.2% [P = .91]).

Conclusions and Relevance  Residents who pursued fellowship training did not achieve higher scores on the OTE in any examination year compared with residents who did not pursue fellowship training and did not achieve higher scores within the OTE section that matched their chosen subspecialty in their last year of training. Fellowship choice does not appear to influence OTE scores among residents.

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