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Pivoting during a Pandemic: An \"Ask Me Anything\" Affinity Group Recruitment Event

Purpose: To determine the feasibility of a virtual recruitment event during the 2020-2021 residency recruitment season.


Background: After the successful launch of grassroots efforts to recruit a more diverse and representative cohort of residents into our program, the COVID-19 pandemic brought our efforts to a halt. The need for social distancing placed all programming on virtual platforms and forced our recruitment efforts to adapt accordingly. “Ask Me Anything” forums create highly curated experiences for applicants by creating thoughtful and directed conversations derived from the attendees themselves.  For the 2020-2021 application cycle, we created a virtual townhall for interested applicants with the opportunity to meet in more intimate affinity group breakout rooms.


Methods: After all virtual interview dates were complete, applicants were invited to a virtual “Ask Me Anything” townhall where faculty and residents were able to discuss topics of concern provided by the applicants themselves. Topics ranged from discussing the structure of mentorship in the residency program to support put in place for diverse applicants. Applicants were then placed into breakout rooms for self-identified affinity groups: underrepresented in medicine, LGBTQIA+, Being an Ally, and Men in GYN/OB. Following the event, attendees were sent a link to an anonymous survey monkey assessing attitudes and impressions of our residency program.


Results: 93% of applicants who attended the “AMA” agreed-strongly agreed that the Emory interview experience gave them a favorable impression of the Emory GYN/OB experience versus 78% of those who didn’t attend. Furthermore, 100% of “AMA” attendees felt confident that they would have mentorship and support versus 90% who did not attend the virtual event. This was comparable to 100% of attendees who attended our in-person dessert reception in 2019.



“Ask Me Anything” virtual forums allow programs to provide applicants with a townhall experience, enabling programs to intimately interact with applicants in a very curated manner. From our experience, we were able to communicate our commitment to mentorship in a virtual platform, similar to our in-person efforts. As we continue to navigate the application with the uncertainty of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we feel confident that this virtual format supports our diversity and equity efforts.

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2022, Student, Faculty, Residency Director, Residency Coordinator, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, GME, UME, General Ob-Gyn,

General Information

Student,Faculty,Residency Director,Residency Coordinator,
Interpersonal & Communication Skills,
Clinical Focus
General Ob-Gyn,

Author Information

Taniqua Miller, MD, FACOG, NCMP, Emory School of Medicine; Jessica Arluck, MD; Gina Northington, MD, PhD

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