Jack Stein, Medical Student

UAB Heersink School of Medicine medical student, Jack Stein, is the first author of a paper recently published in World Neurosurgery. Stein is a second-year medical student working in Dr. James Markert's Lab.

Neurosurgery is among the most selective specialties in the country. As the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step 1 examination transitions to a binary pass/fail score, residency programs will face unclear challenges in screening and evaluating applicants.

Stein's project titled "Assessing the impact of changes to USMLE Step 1 grading on evaluation of neurosurgery residency applicants in the US: A program director survey" aimed to provide insights into the perceived impact of changes to the USMLE Step 1 grading in the resident applicant selection process.

This project was inspired in medical school when Stein and his classmates became curious about how the change in Step 1 scoring going from a numeric score with a lot of importance to a binary pass/fail score would impact their residency applications. Stein spearheaded this project, interviewing neurosurgery program directors, assistant program directors, and program coordinators for their thoughts on applicants without a graded Step 1 score.

The study's results indicated that letters of recommendation supersede a graded Step 1 score, making it a critical piece of a residency application. 

"This wouldn't have been possible without the tremendous help from many of the UAB Neurosurgery residents. I would like to specifically thank Drs. James Markert and Dagoberto Estevez-Ordonez (PGY-5). I'm very grateful for their mentorship and support throughout the process." says Stein.