Residency Review Thread 2015-2016

7 years 6 months ago #34115 by HopefulOrthopod
It's that time of year again. Good luck to everyone tomorrow and thanks in advance to everyone who chips in!

Med School: (Actual or region. School Ranking if known.)
Boards: Step 1: Step 2: (when did you take)
AOA: (Junior/Senior)
Preclinicals: (Honors, HP, E, P, what ever your school uses.)
Ortho: (grades you received.)
Aways: (Important! Location/region, reach/safety/etc, interview, etc)

What I was looking for in a Program:

How many Programs:
Applied to:
Offered Interviews:

Tier 1:
(Please describe programs here in detail)

Tier 2:

Tier 3:


Matched at: (did away there, where on ROL, etc)

Advice for future applicants:
(Please include other comments on aways, connections, someone made a phone call, etc. I am curious about this and I'm sure others are as well)

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7 years 6 months ago #34116 by bladerunner101
I really look forward to the reviews as an applicant in 2016-2017!

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7 years 6 months ago - 7 years 6 months ago #34148 by bonedr320
Med School: Southeast
Boards: Step 1: 245, Step 2: 263 (took July of 4th year)
Rank: top 10%
AOA: n/a
Preclinicals: top 10%
Clinicals: top 10%
Ortho: Pass on a P/F scale, did a 2 week elective 3rd year, one month rotation 4th year.
Aways: Home rotation + 2 aways. Emory in Atlanta, GA and CMC in Charlotte, NC. Neither were reach programs for me, I interviewed at both places. Was looking to rotate at 2 programs with different feels in the SE region. Had great rotations at both, and they accomplished what I wanted them to.

Research: Published ortho research as an undergraduate, published ortho/gen surg research during med school. Ongoing research with exercise in the spinal cord injury population. Finishing a MS in Bioengineering this spring.

Extracurriculars: ~7 years of church/other volunteering, medical mission trip, Step 2 Firecracker subject editor, chair of student grand rounds program at med school, on med school admissions committee,

What I was looking for in a Program: My main career goals are to operate (obviously!), do productive research, and to teach. So I wanted a program that does all 3 of those things well. I also wanted broad exposure to all subspecialties, with good connections to fellowship programs. Particularly looking for good hand and peds experiences. Want to have access to good research resources so I can use them when I want to, and have the opportunity to teach medical students and other residents as I become more senior. Wanted a smaller/medium sized program (4-6 per class) in a good location, at a program with a solid regional/national reputation.

How many Programs:
Applied to: 63
Offered Interviews: 13
Attended: 12

[Programs in alphabetical order in each tier]

Tier 1: Would have been thrilled to be at any of these programs. Things they have in common: great cities, all rotations are on site or close by, good balance of operative experience and academics (one doesn’t take away from the other), and my interviews at each of these places felt solid/I got good feedback.

CMC: one of the places that I rotated, they take 5 a year with one being a research resident. Their residents are from all over the place. Charlotte is an awesome city, and CMC is a well respected institution in the region. This is a place that has solid operative experience with plenty of structured/guided research time, even if you’re not the research resident. They have resources out the wazoo. They’re strong in all subspecialty rotations (including tumor), and the relationship with OrthoCarolina strengthens that. This is a polished program, where if you’re not in the OR you’re wearing a shirt and tie to conference in the morning, etc. Conference wise they have daily didactics in the morning that are led by faculty and residents, these are intermingled with journal club and grand rounds presentations. They also have an intern skills month which was a plus for me.
The negative for me here were the presence of trauma fellows--I got mixed reviews from the residents, but most of what I heard was that their presence can limit you early on, but by the time you’re a senior resident you’re able to take over more of the trauma cases in the OR. Overall, it’s an excellent program in a great city that has far more strengths than weaknesses. They get good fellowships, and the residents and attendings are all awesome people.

Greenville: another place that I rotated. They take 4 a year, and similar to CMC, have a community program feel with an academic flavor. Residents are diverse and from all over. Their operative experience is excellent, with multiple trauma rooms running at a time, with a 2nd year and an attending taking one of those rooms on most days. The double scrubbing that I saw was for educational purposes, and the older guys are great at teaching and letting the juniors feel their way through cases. They also have great subspecialty rotations (including tumor), with the Steadman Hawkins Clinic, Blue Ridge Orthopaedics (Clemson athletics), and a Shriner’s Hospital on site. The residents have a great camaraderie, and work well with the attendings. They have a mix of rotators and non-rotators (similar to CMC), and don’t solely look at numbers in their applicants. The research is streamlined with multiple full-time study personnel, with plenty of opportunities to do as many studies as you want. Only fellows are a couple of sports guys, and they don’t interfere with your sports rotation at all from what I was told. Their didactics are daily in the morning, with a variety of topics led by a mix of faculty and residents, mixed with journal club/M&M/grand rounds (like most places). They also do monthly cadaver labs. Greenville is also an awesome city--smaller than ATL or CLT, but with a lot of big city amenities, and is rapidly growing. There weren’t many negatives about this program that I could come up with (maybe other than not having a dedicated skills month for interns)--it has an awesome reputation, and is turning out great surgeons to whatever fellowships they want.

Orlando Health: knowing nearly nothing about this program going into the interview, I was incredibly impressed by the residents, faculty, and facilities. Really the whole program in general. This is a place where you get annihilated for 2 years of call, then you get your own trauma room as a 3 (really). 2nd year you do exclusively peds and hand, which was a plus for me because those are two things I’m strongly considering. Rotation wise, a downside for me personally is having to go to Tampa for Tumor rotation for 3 months. It was a great group of residents, and some of the attendings are big names who have great connections.

Vanderbilt: take 5 per year. This is a place with a big academic name, where the academic part doesn’t seem to be shoved down your throat. They get residents from all over, for obvious reasons. They have some big name faculty in multiple different areas, and the residents are getting the fellowships that they want (there’s a trend in my Tier 1 programs here). Nashville is a cool city, and has a lot to offer. From talking to residents, it sounds like you get worked your second year (like most places), but come out on the other side feeling confident and competent with ED and floor consults. From what I was told, the operative experience is good here, and the residents seemed happy. From what I remember they do daily didactics. This is another place that takes a lot of 4th year, but their residents are a mix of rotators and non-rotators. I enjoyed the residents and faculty, and the interview day as a whole. This is a program that basically speaks for itself, in that it’s well established, has been around for a long time, and has a reputation for turning out great surgeons and research.

Tier 2:
Emory: 6 residents/year. A lot of your time is spent at Grady downtown. The operative experience at Grady is awesome, with minimal to no double scrubbing and one on one time with attendings. They work on a night float call system, usually just carry pager for one service at a time but sometimes you’re on triple threat call (hand/spine/peds). Grady is an older hospital, but the Emory Ortho and Spine Hospital is top notch and super nice. Research here was a surprising weakness, but is on the up and up. One of their new trauma attendings is spending 1 day a week in a basic science lab. They definitely have the name/resources/funding to do lots of research. Didactics in the morning are service-based, but their main didactics are Thursday night and Friday morning. They do OITE review and industry-sponsored anatomy labs that are really nice. All of the attendings were great that I worked with. The residents are diverse from all over--important to note that all but 1-2 of their residents were rotators, so they are VERY rotator heavy. I interviewed at the end of my rotation, and they were 4 interviews for 15 minutes each. Very laid back, everyone enjoys their time there. The big drawbacks for this program to me were the location (I’m not a huge fan of Atlanta), and the need to drive a LOT to get from place to place as everything is really spread out in the city. They’re a great name, land good fellowships, and the residents and faculty are good to work with, but the location/lack of organized research/my gut caused me to rank them 2nd tier.

Medical College of Georgia: this is definitely a community program that draws strongly from their own medical school. I didn’t get the sense that they favor rotators, but I’m sure it helps here since they take so many from MCG. The overall feel I got was that this is a tight-knit group of guys who work hard. One major drawback for me was the fact that they only have 1 trauma attending. The residents I talked to didn’t think this was a bad thing, but I personally would like to see multiple approaches and methodologies of fixing the same problem, especially in trauma. They’re definitely not strong in research, although they do have a research coordinator and had a list of recently published things, so it does get done. Overall the residents and attendings are great, and their PD was especially nice to interview with (Vanderbilt trained, dual boarded in tumor and joints). This just wasn’t academic enough for what I was looking for, and I wasn’t in love with the town of Augusta.

UMMC: another very southern community program that takes a lot of local guys. The main thing with this program is that it has the reputation of turning out incredibly skilled surgeons. Their PD is an awesome guy who is bought into resident education, and really wants people to succeed. Their call is extremely front loaded, with years 3-5 becoming much easier from a call perspective. With their PD being so invested in education, they have an excellent didactic curriculum from what I could tell. The things that made this a tier 2 program for me, despite the solid faculty, was the lack of organized research opportunities and the location (I didn’t really get to explore Jackson that much, but it’s not the ideal spot for me for the things I enjoy doing in my limited free time!)

West Virginia University: another community program with a research flavor, that felt similar to Greenville. They have an amazing group of residents that I really enjoyed getting to know at the social. They get good fellowships, and many seem to come back to WVU as attendings (I interviewed with several). They have a night float call system. They do have a research resident each year, and have dedicated PhDs to research, but I wasn’t super impressed with their research facilities. They overall seem to have a great balance of an academic and community program feel. The two things that pushed them to tier 2 for me was location (Morgantown just isn’t my cup of tea) and that the interview day kind of threw me off. It was 5 minute interviews with like 12 people, and they all asked the same questions. I had a couple of odd questions thrown in too that wouldn’t have added anything to my application, or their knowledge of me as an applicant.

Tier 3: Not going to say a ton about each of these, but they just didn’t give me the same feeling as the other places I rotated/interviewed, and were each lacking in one or more areas that I heavily desired to have in a program.

George Washington University: in DC, more of an academic feel. Program is well respected from a “name” perspective. They do all rotations in house. Their lack of research personnel support and their rotation structure were the biggest downsides for me. They do team based rotations, where one is essentially trauma, and the other is a catch-all, where you don’t do the typical 10week/3 month rotations, but each day is different. You could have a foot/ankle case one day, and a humerus the next. It just doesn’t lend itself, in my opinion, to being able to master any one area well and would make it hard to get through a textbook/study resource in any set amount of time for studying purposes. Also don’t do pes until 4th year. Call is q4 during 2nd year, no night float. PD/Chairman said they will eventually move to a specialty based rotation system, but it won’t be a drastic/sudden transition.

Palmetto Health/USC: very small program (2/year) in Columbia, SC. Very much a community program that is good at turning out generalists. Residents have to work a little harder to cover call because there are so few of them. Have only 1 spine guy (new) and one peds guy (I believe). They just don’t have the big name fellowship connections that other places have, and is a smaller program at a smaller hospital than what I was looking for. I got the impression that it is on the upswing, though

St. Louis University: I just didn’t have an awesome feel on this interview in general, and the city and resident culture/collective personality isn’t what I’m looking for.

Western Michigan/Homer Stryker: good community program (3/year) in a small city (Kalamazoo, MI). Seem to have a good operative experience. Call is odd in that all calls have to go through an attending first--for me this was a big minus because I want to learn how to field calls and weed out what needs to be weeded out. Don’t have a lot of fellowship connections--residents essentially said that you need to do an optional “away rotation” in order to get good contacts for fellowship programs--this was a big minus for me. They also don’t do a tumor rotation at all, they have a 1 day seminar to cover board relevant tumor topics. These things combined made this a Tier 3 program for me.


Matched at: #1.

Advice for future applicants: Work hard! And don’t sell yourself short, but be realistic. Away rotations will be your friend if you go and work hard, build relationships, and treat people well. I would get involved in research early on at your med school/hospital, and make connections with ortho people early on. Use those connections to get away rotations, interviews, etc. In my case, building relationships with residents and attendings did a lot for me. Having solid scores alone won’t do it (usually), and neither will just being a nice person (unfortunately). Having a combination of good academic performance, extra-curriculars (something interesting to talk about in interviews!), and having a personality that people can work with for 5 years goes a long way. As far as away rotations are concerned, don’t do them at 3-4 places that are all alike. Even if they’re in the same region (as mine were), you can choose several different types of programs so that you can really figure out what you like and don’t like in a program.
Ultimately, this is about finding which program is the best fit for you personally and your future career interests. Yes, program rankings and OITE scores and number of publications turned out per year are all important, but they’re not gospel. Work hard, do well on boards, do away rotations at places that interest you, and go for it. Good luck!

Hopefully this is helpful to someone! If anyone has questions about any of these programs specifically, feel free to DM me on here.
Last edit: 7 years 6 months ago by bonedr320.
The following user(s) said Thank You: bladerunner101, mccarrot, exfix17, aspiringortho91, BirdiePutt

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7 years 6 months ago #34149 by southern1019
I will throw in my experiences. I used this forum during my 3rd year and while applying and I found it very helpful. Hopefully, someone out there will find my reviews useful. This is geared mostly for the average applicant, like myself.

Med School: Southeast
Boards: Step 1: 242, Step 2: 253 (July 4th year), took and passed CS in July also
Rank: top 1/3
AOA: no
Preclinicals: mostly A's, some B's
Clinical: A's on all rotations except family medicine which was a B
Ortho: P on a P/F system for 4th year
Aways: Home + 2 aways. Louisville and UT-Southwestern, interviewed at both. I wanted to get a feel for a less academic, more community-ish program (louisville) and a bigger academic center type program (UTSW). I wanted to stay in the south. Both rotations gave me the information I was looking for.

Research: Wasn't initially interested in ortho, so started out doing peds research which resulted in some presentation and no pubs. Switched over in middle of 3rd year, worked really hard and got a publication. Continued working on projects that I could talk about during interviews, which worked out well.

Extracurriculars: typical volunteer activities, MCAT prep class, adult soccer league (talked about quite a bit during interviews)

What I was looking for in a Program: A good, well-rounded program. I couples matched, so it was important that my wife have a good program where she could be happy (tough road). I wanted great operative experience with a good mix of education thrown in. I wanted a program with few or no fellows so that residents are the main focus of education. I did not want a research heavy program, but I wanted the opportunity to be able to do research. Mostly, a well rounded program is what I was looking for.

How many Programs:
Applied to: 80
Offered Interviews: 7
Attended: 6 - one program would not interview my wife for some reason

Programs are listed in alphabetical order and not tiered.

Allegheny Health (Pittsburgh): Did not know much about this program going into the interview, but I enjoyed what I saw here. From what I could gather on the interview day, it was more of a down to earth, work hard program, which is what I wanted. I feel like you would get a lot of experience here as it has a large trauma presence, from my understanding. All specialities were covered. There are fellows, but according to the residents and faculty, residents have preference over fellows. This wasn't a research heavy program, which is something else I was looking for. In all, seemed like a great place. Good operative experience, good fellowships, and a well rounded education.

Arkansas: Great program. All of the residents are great friends and get along very well. In my opinion, this is a hidden gem that many people tend to pass over. Everyone I talked to on interview day really enjoyed it. The residents work hard and get great operative training and subsequently, great fellowships. There are more attending than residents, so there are more than enough cases. Call is q3-4 at home. Seems like people get called in at least once every night, but everyone says it is great to be able to go home and eat dinner with the family before things get too crazy. Every speciality is covered and covered well. Didactics are on Tuesday morning. In all, great program where you will work hard and get the rewards of doing so.

Louisville: Rotated here, enjoyed it. First and foremost, wow on the operative experience. Chiefs basically run a room with a junior resident. Most of the time the attending did not even scrub. Furthermore, many of the upper level residents taught the trauma fellows how to do some procedures. Definitely would not leave this program not knowing how to operate. They do trauma every year of their training and it shows. Trauma is the only rotation that takes place at the UL hospital - the rest are with private groups. This was the major reason for me wanting to rotate here. I wanted to see how this worked. I enjoyed this aspect more than I thought I would. All of the private groups that they work with are top notch, and you learn how to be efficient. You learn all specialities very well through all rotations. There are fellows, but you by no means are behind them in any way. Night float system in place that covers 2 hospitals (UL + Peds hospital) and is fairly busy from my experience. This is a very resident geared residency. My only problem was the lack of didactics. They have Friday morning didactics that is mostly resident run. People tend to trickle out as the time progresses. This was my only problem. All residents got along great, but tended to be spread out among the private hospitals if not on trauma.

St. Louis Univ.: I agree with the previous poster. I just didn't get a good vibe from my interview day and I don't think I would have been happy here. Something was just off to me and I could not put my finger on it. Oh yeah, and it is a 6 year program with a research year during PGY2.

Temple University: I enjoyed this program a lot more than I thought I would. I found that this place would have been a good fit for me. They had a lot of trauma based on what the residents told me. Seemed to have a well rounded education. Thought they had a good mix of didactics and operative experience. Seemed like the PGY2s got hammered with call - from my understandings it was q3 with a post-call day and very busy overnight as the hospital is located in the bad part of Philly. I enjoyed everyone I met and thought that it was a great program. I ranked it a lot higher than I thought I would when I got the interview offer.

UTSW: Rotated here and enjoyed it a lot. I rotated here as it was a larger program with a busy, county hospital. This is definitely a working residency and you will come out of here with the knowledge to be a great surgeon. All residents are great and are very close - it is like a family. There is the opportunity for research, and everyone does at least one project, but it is not a large research powerhouse, which I enjoyed. The residents work hard - and I mean hard. They get excellent operative experience and there is plenty to go around. They have a night float system with a PGY2 and 4. The 2nd year does all the work and the 4 is there if you need help, which is not very often. All services are covered. The 3rd year is essentially spent on peds and spine, if I remember correctly. Didactics are on Wednesday morning and are done well. Didactics are well balanced here. In summary, this is an excellent program, in my opinion. Residents work very hard, but it pays off with great fellowships and amazing experience.


Matched at: #1 on ROL.

Advice for future applicants: As said previously, work hard. This year was rough for interviews and matching. Many of my classmates/friends had between 5 and 10 interviews and most matched, but not all. I think the biggest advice is to bust your butt. Work hard during 3rd year and impress as many people as you can. You would be amazed at the different attendings/residents who talk and know each other. Also, when picking your aways, shoot for something that will broaden you experiences and give you an idea of the kind of program you are looking for. I shot for community and big city/county hospital as my aways because my home program was more or less in the middle of those 2. My aways led me to know what I wanted. When it comes time to rotate, work your butt off. Be there early and stay late. Working hard will pay off and help make up for some deficiencies in your application, at least at those places where you rotate.

Hopefully someone finds this small review useful. I know I thought they all were when I was going through them. As usual, if anyone has any specific questions, feel free to message me. Good luck.
The following user(s) said Thank You: bladerunner101, mccarrot, exfix17, aspiringortho91

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7 years 5 months ago #34160 by bladerunner101
Hope some people who interviews on the Coasts (east/west) can post some of their thoughts!

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7 years 5 months ago #34165 by exfix17
Agree with the above poster. Would like to thank you all for taking the time to put these reviews together and would be grateful to hear about others experiences!

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