Hampshire reimagines financially and environmentally costly medical school interviews
Karly Hampshire is the lead author on a 2023 paper arguing for reform of academia’s emissions-intensive travel culture, and a reimagining of medical training interviews that prioritizes environmental impact.
The looming threat of climate change urgently calls for reimagining unsustainable systems and practices, including academia’s culture of emissions-intensive travel. Given that medical educators are uniquely invested in the future of the trainees they represent, this reimagination can and should begin with medical education. Making significant reforms to the application process has historically been challenging, but the COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed an abrupt shift from in-person to virtual interviews for medical school, residency, and fellowship. Programs and applicants alike demonstrated resilience, innovation, and satisfaction in adapting to virtual interviews during 2 full application cycles. This restructuring has prompted consideration of the necessity of environmentally costly, expensive, and time-consuming cross-country travel for single-day interviews. However, evolving conversations about the future of medical training interviews have not prioritized environmental impact, despite the sizeable historical emissions generated by interview-related travel and the incompatibility between ecological damage and population health. Beyond environmental impact, virtual interviews are more equitable, with significantly fewer financial costs, and they are more efficient, requiring less time off from school or work. Many concerns associated with virtual interviews, including interview inflation and limited applicant exposure to programs and their surrounding areas, can be addressed via creative and structural solutions, such as interview caps and in-person second-look programs. The medical training interview process underwent a forced restructuring due to the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19. This moment presents a strategic inflection point for medical education leadership to build on the momentum and permanently transform the process by focusing on sustainability and equity.
Hampshire, Karly; Shirley, Hugh; Teherani, Arianne PhD. Interview Without Harm: Reimagining Medical Training’s Financially and Environmentally Costly Interview Practices. Academic Medicine 98(2):p 171-174, February 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000005000