Impact of holistic review on diversity of interviewed and matriculating residents in graduate medical education: A systematic review protocol

Alison R. Althans, Tamara Byrd, Rachel Suppok, Kenneth K. Lee, Matthew R. Rosengart, Sara P. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction Diversity in the physician workforce improves patient-centred outcomes. Patients are more likely to trust in and comply with care when seeing gender/racially concordant providers. A current emphasis on standardised metrics in academic achievement often serves as a barrier to the recruitment and retention of gender and racial minorities in medicine. Holistic review of residency applicants has been supported as a means of encouraging diversification but is not yet standardised. The current body of evidence examining the effects of holistic review on the recruitment of racial and gender minorities in surgical residencies is small. We therefore propose a systematic review to summarise the state of holistic review in graduate medical education in the USA and its impact on diversification. Methods and analysis Our systematic review protocol has been designed with plans to report our review findings in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols guidelines. PubMed and Embase will be searched with the assistance of a health sciences librarian with expertise in systematic review. We will include studies of graduate medical education programmes that describe the implementation of holistic review, outline the components of their holistic review process and compare proportions of under-represented minorities (URM) and women interviewed and matriculating before and after holistic review implementation. We will first report a summary of the findings regarding the operationalisation of holistic review as described by studies included. We will then pool the percentages of URM and women for interviewee and matriculant populations from each study and report the collective odds ratios of each for holistic review compared with traditional review as our primary outcome. Ethics and dissemination This study is a protocol for systematic review, and therefore does not involve any human subjects. Findings will be published in the form of a manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. PROSPERO registration number CRD42023401389.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere074118
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 12 2023


  • Health Equity


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