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Information for Medical Students Matching Into Dermatology

Coalition for Physician Accountability Recommendations on Medical Student Away Rotations for 2022-2023

The  Coalition for Physician Accountability released updated recommendations on medical student away rotations in the 2022-23 academic year. The AAMC is a member of the Coalition, a cross-organizational group of national medical education organizations. 

The updated recommendations include the following guidance: 

For the 2022-23 academic year, away rotations may resume and there are no restrictions in place for away rotations. Saint Louis University Department of Dermatology will begin accepting applications for away rotations sometime in April 2022 for 2-week electives. Applications MUST be made through the VSLO application system and are reviewed by the Dermatology program on a rolling-basis. If you have any questions on the VSLO application system, contact your home school or the AAMC for assistance. 

At this time, we do not know what date the VSLO system will open to apply, but please keep checking beginning in April 2022.

Association of Professors of Dermatology Task Force Statement 

Preference signaling refers to the use of token(s) by residency applicants to express interest in a residency program during application review and prior to interview invite release. This formalized process allows applicants to express interest in a small number of programs apart from traditional methods of email, phone calls, or virtual or in-person away rotations. The goal is to ease application overload and provide programs credible expression of interest by applicants. 

While the APD PD Task Force and APD Board have discussed mechanisms for preference signaling and has engaged with other specialties in ongoing discussions, we have decided that this effort requires further consideration. We will not be implementing preference signaling for the 2020-2021 dermatology residency application cycle. 

We hope that the pilot program that otolaryngology is pursuing this year, with support of AAMC and NRMP, will provide additional data upon which to decide if this tool would be feasible for future dermatology application cycles. We will also continue to participate in cross-specialty discussions of preference signaling and other application process reforms. 

There is a separate entity, Signal (@SignalTokens, that is marketing the use of tokens to students and programs via email and social media. This involves a fee to students, and does not guarantee that programs have registered to receive tokens. Given potential issues with equity and added expenses, the APD recommends against programs and dermatology residency applicants registering with the Signal service for this application cycle.

Recommendations to Programs

Application Review

  • We understand the challenges in reviewing applications given this cycle’s compressed timeline, but maintain our support for holistic review of applications, particularly given the unique and unequal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on research, clinical, volunteer, and other extracurricular experiences.
  • We recommend against the use of Step 2 CK or CS as mandatory elements of the application process or for offers of interviews, particularly given the recent NBME announcement that Step 2 CS administration will be suspended for the next 12-18 months.
  •  Programs may consider the use of a supplemental application to assist in holistic review of candidates.

Letters of Recommendation

  •  We recommend at least one letter of recommendation from a dermatology faculty member, but suggest that other letters from non-dermatology specialties be allowed and given equal weight, particularly for students without a home dermatology program.
  • We recognize that committing to provide letters may be challenging during this time for many reasons (eg lack of exposure to the applicant or increased demands on faculty members’ time). Faculty members may consider writing letters of recommendation reflecting resident input and/or departmental support, or collaborating with colleagues for a joint letter.


  • We recommend that all programs conduct virtual-only interviews for this application cycle for both internal and external candidates to ensure equity.
  • We encourage full transparency in communicating interview dates as soon as feasible to prospective applicants via program website or other methods of communication.
Recommendations to Students

Away Rotations

  • Medical students may consider participation in away rotations or experiences at programs without restricitions. However, away rotations should not be perceived as required or necessary for matching into dermatology residency.

Application Process

  • For the 2023 ERAS® cycle, our program will be participating in the supplemental ERAS application offered through the AAMC’s ERAS program. Applicants will be required to complete the MyERAS application, and participation in the supplemental ERAS application is optional.

  • We understand that many research projects and volunteer experiences have been halted, delayed, or changed secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts that students have put forth in these areas are valuable and will be taken into account by programs during application review regardless of outcome.
  • Given that testing centers have delayed or canceled administration dates for USMLE Step 2 CK, and that the NBME has suspended Step 2 CS administration, we have encouraged programs to forego these tests as required elements of the application process this year. USMLE scores are only a minor component of one's application; students should not consider alternative application plans due to the absence of these scores alone. Please refer to individual program websites to determine whether Step 1 score cut-offs are used and/or whether Step 2 scores are recommended/required.
  • We recommend at least one letter of recommendation from a dermatology faculty member but recognize that this may be difficult for students without a home dermatology program. We urge programs to review applications holistically and give equal weight to letters of recommendation from faculty in other specialties. Students should consider faculty with whom they have worked closely, regardless of the specialty.
  • While programs strive to perform holistic review on all applications, this is more challenging when faced with increasing number of applications per available position (the average dermatology residency candidate submits ~100 applications).
  • For US allopathic first-time applicants, we recommend applying to 40-60 programs. Applicants are encouraged to seek individualized advice from dermatology and medical school advisors to guide the decision regarding number of applications to submit. This advice should account for USMLE Step scores, clerkship grades, research, and extracurricular activities.
  • Applicants can visit ApplySmart to review data available from the AAMC on dermatology residency applications and returns.


  • We encourage all programs to conduct virtual interviews for all students.
  • Given the potential increased flexibility and reduced costs associated with virtual interviews, we recommend that students regulate the number of interviews they accept. Data from NRMP show that the probability of matching plateaus at >95% after 12 contiguous ranks. Limiting the number of interviews a student accepts to 12-15 will allow more students opportunities to interview with programs that might constitute a better fit.

Saint Louis University Dermatology Program-Specific Interview Information 

Exclusion Criteria for Application Review   
  • Our program does not have a cut-off score for the USMLE exams to determine application review.
  • We review applications from both allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. Graduates of both have matched into our residency program.
  •  We only review applications from graduates from a U.S. medical school. At this time, files of foreign medical graduates are not reviewed.
  • Our program has trained residents who have completed prior residencies and we are currently allowed to match in that regard.
  •  Though research experience is recommended, there are no minimum research requirements for application review.
  • Our program requires three letters of recommendation.
  • For the 2022 ERAS® cycle, our program will be participating in the supplemental ERAS application offered through the AAMC’s ERAS program. Applicants will be required to complete the MyERAS application, and participation in the supplemental ERAS application is optional.
Informational Program Open House

Two virtual open house sessions are planned. The first will be held on Thursday, September 9, 2021 beginning at 6:30 p.m. CST. The second session will be held on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 10 a.m. CST. Each should last approximately one hour.

Zoom Link (Same for both dates): (Meeting ID  999 5483 6565)

You may register for the open house using the Google Form below. This is optional, but you may use this form to ask any questions you may have.  We will do our best to answer them in the Q&A portion.

Submit a Question 

Interview Dates

 Four virtual interview dates will be offered in 2022 as follows: 

Thursday, January 6, 2022
Thursday, January 13, 2022
Thursday, February 3, 2022
Thursday, February 10, 2022

Each applicant will interview with faculty members in one, half day session. We will interview 10 candidates each day for a total of 40 applicants. We are matching four available positions.

Pre-interview Recommendations
Prior to the interview we recommend that you preview the following information independently which outlines information about our program including:

  • Residency Overview video from Program Director, Dr. Nicole Burkemper
  • Resident tour of facilities video
  • Saint Louis University School of Medicine videos
  • Benefits and  sample contract 
We ask that you acknowledge receipt of this information as part of NRMP guidelines. The coordinator will send this as a Google Form.
Prior to the interview we also recommend that you participate in the pre-interview “meet and greet” with our residents. This event will be held on two evenings. Dates forthcoming.
Diversity Initiatives and Underrepresented Minorities
 Our program makes every effort to ensure diversity in trainee recruitment, selection, and retention in the following ways: 
  • Our program interviews under-represented in medicine (URM) applicants. We have been successful in ensuring our program is diverse based on our recruitment practices and habits.
  • We have submitted our program to be included in the Latino Medical Student Association URM Residency Hub.
  • We encourage students applying to our program to highlight their personal journey to medicine and to share any challenges they have had to overcome and why they wish to pursue dermatology.
  • Our clinical research fellowship recruits a diverse group of applicants. Our clinical research fellows often are retained as dermatology residents.
  • Our department routinely offers workshops and programming on diversity, equity and inclusion.
The chair, vice-chair and program director work at ensuring that the faculty, staff and personnel that work with our trainees have a diverse background, specialties and strengths. Our residency program promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion, and advocates for communities of color through the following initiatives:

  • Establishment of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee: The purpose of this committee is to nurture a culture of equity and inclusion in our workplace, in our clinics, and in our community. Programs and workshops on diversity training, health care disparities, implicit bias, and underrepresented minorities in dermatology are held. Committee members include faculty, residents and staff.
  • Priority to highlight skin of color content in residency education: Skin of color images within lectures, skin of color textbook, initiative to compile kodachromes of clinic patients with skin of color for education.
  • Community Engagement: We routinely care for patients with skin of color in our clinics. We are also working towards offering free dermatology services at a clinic for under-served communities.
Local/Regional Candidates
Equal preference is given to all applicants, however, during the review process those with local ties to our geographic area or Saint Louis University are given precedence between candidates with similar credentials and experience.
Interview Timeline and Application Deadline

Our department uses the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) to process all applications. New to this application season, our program will require the Supplemental ERAS application in the review process. Additionally, we will participate in the Coordinated Interview Release.  First rounds of interviews will be sent out on November 29, 2021 with a 48 hour grace period before scheduling can occur. 

All positions are filled through the National Residency Match Program (NRMP). U.S. medical school graduates who have previously completed an ACGME-accredited residency program in the United States are eligible to apply. 

Code of Conduct and Etiquette 

As guided by the NRMP, we adhere to the highest level of professionalism throughout the recruitment period. Failure to comply with the professional standards of the NRMP as well as the specified conditions below may result in an investigation by the NRMP for a match violation.  As an applicant to Saint Louis University Dermatology Residency Training Program, it is expected that you agree the following:

  1. This interview is confidential. I will not record the interview, screenshot the interview, or share questions that I am asked, including to other applicants, or interested parties.
  2. I will be the only person present for the interview. If at any time another person is present, including on another electronic device, I will immediately inform the interviewer.
  3. I will not have anyone stand in or translate for me during the entire interview process.
  4. I will not share or post any link, recording, or information provided with anyone, including other applicants, or interested parties.
  5. I verify that I have a reliable Internet connection, a working camera, audio, and a speaker for my virtual interview.
  6. If an emergency arises and I am not able to meet any of these parameters, I will contact the program coordinators soon as possible to create a resolution.