Residency Review Thread 2016-2017

7 years 2 weeks ago #35532 by TimTebone
I found these threads helpful when I was going through the application process. Thought I'd try to revitalize!

Med School: Midwest/East, top 20 nationally
Boards: Step 1: >250 Step 2: >260 – released prior to interviews
Rank: top 10%
AOA: yes
Preclinicals: P on P/F scale
Clinicals: mostly honors, including surgery
Ortho: honors
Aways: 2 in the midwest
Research: 11 pubs, 9 ortho
Extracurriculars: standard stuff, nothing crazy

What I was looking for in a Program: strong reputation, good operative experience, solid and reputable mentors, accessible research opportunities, desire to be in Midwest, bro culture

How many Programs:
Applied to: 58, all Midwest with a few East Coast, zero programs that required universal supplement
Offered Interviews: 32
Attended: 17
Didn’t Attend: MGH, NYU, Tufts, BU, Maryland, GT, others

Tier 1: (alphabetical)

Case Western: Very nice balance of operative learning and academics. You see a ton of trauma at Metro Health, likely one of the best trauma experiences in the country. Residents are some of the slickest around in terms of operative ability. Plenty of big faculty names, but has remained a resident-centered program. The Allen fellowship is a great opportunity for residents in need of research, but a scary proposition for those who have zero desire to take an additional year off, including myself. Have heard in the past that they have literally drawn straws. Lower in tier 1 for me because of the possibility of an Allen year.

Jefferson: Program lives up to the hype in every way, and I had minimal interest in east coast. The place is built on efficiency. Our interview day was done by 10am and rank list was set by noon. Clinical volume is high and moves at a high pace driven by the Rothman private practice. Operative experience is solid – as an example, you are solely responsible for running a community service as a PGY2 at Bryn Mawr. Research opportunities are incredible, with big names in Vaccaro (chair) and Williams (shoulder elbow) among many others. Williams is also incoming AAOS president, for what its worth. With that, fellowship match list is quite impressive. Vaccaro has a business background and wants to increase business knowledge of his residents. He and Purtill (PD) have essentially worked an MBA into your resident curriculum. Jeff is in center city which is the nicest part of Philly and where most residents live (convenient but expensive). You would graduate this program as an outstanding surgeon with some of the best mentors in the ortho world. Definitely in the discussion for best program in the country.

Michigan: Outstanding program with a great operative experience and exceptional resident culture/lifestyle. Research and mentorship opportunities are incredible. Bedi (sports) is the highest impact ortho researcher in the country. Big player for NFL and NBA physician societies, with pro athletes frequently in clinic. Well-liked and highly-regarded by everyone, and a big reason why match list has been incredible for sports. Chung (hand) runs the highest output hand and upper extremity research group in the country, UM is building him a stand alone outpatient hand surgery center. Operative experience is great, with residents saying they frequently do entire cases with minimal attending involvement. Only a few fellows and they apparently really do not interfere with the experience. You get to cover Michigan football and be on the field at the big house as a PGY5. Resident culture and lifestyle are big selling points. Michigan House Officer Association is the only unionized resident population in country, which comes with huge perks and benefits. Schedule and commitments are cush, and Ann Arbor is a great college town. Detroit airport was only 20 min away on interview day. Overall awesome program.

Rush: National ortho powerhouse driven by the Midwest Orthopaedics private practice group (number 4 group in country via US news). Many big names: Jacobs (chair), Della Valle (joints), An (spine). In addition to the 2013 AAOS president (Jacobs), they have 3 sitting presidents of subspecialty societies. That being said, big names draw fellows. However, Rush has high enough volume (combined with a small class of only 5 residents) that it really does not deter from the resident experience. In fact, residents seem to enjoy interacting with and learning from some of the top fellows every year. Also makes for unique networking opportunities down the line. The fellowship match list is the most impressive I saw on the trail. Research opportunities are outstanding, likely second to none. Major presence in joints, sports, and spine in particular. Residents said it would be pretty much impossible to graduate with fewer than 10 publications, with many reaching 100+ no problem. Overall an outstanding program that lives up to the reputation. Also in the discussion for best program in the country.

Tier 2:

Beaumont: The program that Harry Herkowitz built. It really hasn’t skipped a beat with Fischgrund taking over. Self-proclaimed highest orthopaedic volume in the country behind HSS. Wiater (PD) runs the highest volume shoulder practice in the country, and you will do more reverse total shoulders as an intern than most shoulder fellows. Program is run by private practice, but unique from similar ones in that they see a ton of trauma. Residents say inpatient trauma list is routinely 80 to 100 patients. The hospital bows down to ortho in every way: 25 dedicated orthopaedic operating rooms, a huge ortho-only procedure room in the ED, 3 resident team rooms with each resident assigned to his/her own computer on top floor of new hospital wing. If ortho doesn’t want to take a patient or transfer onto their service, it goes somewhere else, no questions asked. People respected Herkowitz more than the hospital’s CEO or board of directors, and that still shows today. Tier 2 just because Michigan is the bigger name, but there I have zero doubt this program is on its way to being a national power.

Loyola: Likely the best program in Chicago in regards to operative volume/experience. Unlike Rush and U of Chicago, they are a level 1 trauma center, and way more accessible than NMH in terms of ambulance traffic. The main hospital is in Maywood (far west side of town), but most residents still lived in the city. Commute is a bit longer than Rush, NW, UC. New chair seems like a really good advocate for the residents. Former chair Terry Light (past AOB and ASSH president) still plays an important role and remains prominent. Community feel of the resident body was a very strong selling point. Great program, but I give the edge in Chicago to Rush for its national reputation.

Minnesota: Pleasantly surprised by this program. First thing I found impressive was that they interview only 40 applicants for 8 spots. Interview day is unique in that one of the interview rooms is a standardized trauma patient that you have to evaluate and then staff with an attending. Busiest orthopaedic VA in the country, and the residents run the show. Really good trauma experience at Hennepin County. Very strong in hand as well. Sites are spread out all over the twin cities, with residents living all over. Minneapolis is a fun city in the summer, but brutally cold in the winter. Overall a really great program. I am surprised it doesn’t steal more students from Mayo given that Rochester is a far cry from the lovely twin cities.

UPenn: Residents work hard, hierarchical vibe, but overall a happy and approachable group. They see a ton of trauma, considerably more than Jeff given their location on the west side. Levin (hand) is a very accomplished chair and has received a lot of press as of recently for his bilateral pediatric hand transplant patient. He might be the most intimidating chair on the trail, but I could tell that he would be an incredible asset to have in your corner. Research scene is impressive, with Penn consistently in top 3 for ortho NIH funding. Nice program, towards the top of tier 2, but leaves something to be desired compared to her cross-town rival in Jefferson.

Wisconsin: Great program with a strong reputation. Huge names in the spine world (Zdeblick, Tribus, Anderson), with one of the highest regarded spine fellowships. Heard plenty of rumblings that Zdeblick would be stepping down from chair within next 5 years, not that it’s a huge deal but something to be aware of. Residents graduate to either very nice fellowships, or go straight into community practice – a testament to the operative experience. Recently opened a new outpatient surgery center on the east side of town that is very nice. Residents are a happy group and fun to spend time with. Madison seems like a great town with plenty to do despite it not being huge. Definitely one of the best programs in the Midwest.

Tier 3:

Medical College of Wisconsin: Best social event! Brewery tour at Lakefront Brewery – consensus top 10 tour in country. Very heavy peds focus with disproportionate amount of time spent on peds, as childrens hosp of Wisconsin routinely ranks top 5 nation-wide. Rest of the services seemed to be good. Residents seemed happy and receive a ton of benefits. Milwaukee is a great place to be, especially in the summer.

Northwestern: Great setting - NMH is in downtown Chicago essentially between Michigan Ave and Navy Pier. Every morning starts off with didactics in a 12th floor conference room of a new outpatient surgery/clinic center overlooking Lake Michigan. Didactics are huge, almost to an oppressive point, but residents were bright. Peabody (onc) seemed like a solid chair and has the program moving in the right direction. He came to NW about 5 years ago from UChicago and has made many improvements since that time. Has a reputation for taking almost exclusively rotators, so be sure to rotate if you have serious interest. Residents had more fun at the pre-interview social than anywhere else! Despite the recent decrease to 6 residents, heard too many concerns about the operative experience from rotators and NW students to rank higher.

U of Chicago: Over the past 5+ years, UC has seen a ton of change with Peabody leaving, ortho division becoming a department, and new leadership coming in. The change is continuing most notably with the re-classification as a level 1 trauma center in 2018 (I believe this is when they said). It will be interesting to see how this shakes up the Chicago ortho scene. My guess is that it will steal some trauma from Loyola, but ultimately is not likely to really matter given how big Chicago is and the high potential for traumas. Sounds like a great operative setup, with the PGY5 talking the PGY2 through each case while the attending basically looks on. Dirschl is one of the most approachable chairs on the trail. He hangs out in the common area during interview day and casually talks with the applicants rather than taking part in any formal interview room. This was the only program that publishes zero information about current or former residents on the website, which I found odd. Nice program, possibly on a great trajectory, but too much uncertainty for me to rank higher.

Tier 4:

Indiana: Found it strange that they have one of the premier practices in Indiana Hand to Shoulder right next door, yet have minimal overlap or interaction. They also have a top musculoskeletal research group with little to no ties to the ortho residency. Lastly, their request to ACGME for a research track just got denied. Seems like all the pieces are in place to turn this into an elite residency, but they just haven’t come together yet.

McLaren Flint: Nice group of people. Strong operative experience, especially in joints. Unique opportunities with their vehicular trauma laboratory. They were apologetic that you have to spend 5 years in Flint, and you randomly rotate in Washington state for peds.

University of Illinois – Chicago: Another program with a good operative experience. However, clinical sites are literally all over the city. Afternoon commutes can easily be north of 90 minutes. With the many sites, you have a lot of alone time. Not much of a team feel, but I’m sure you leave a good surgeon.

Western Michigan: New leadership (chair and pd) seems really great. They told me “we’ll never be a Michigan, a Duke, etc., but you’ll be able to operate a ton and leave a great surgeon” – I appreciated their honesty and sense of self-awareness.


Matched at: 1

Advice for future applicants: Programs start looking pretty similar. I found 4 key features that don’t really change: geography, culture, operative volume, research volume. Thinking about programs in those 4 categories allowed me to form a tentative rank list. Spend time researching and picking away rotations. Be a normal, approachable person on your rotations - it is much easier to stand out for the wrong reasons.

Good Luck!

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7 years 21 hours ago #35539 by RequiredField
Thanks to all that have responded and provided extremely useful information. Has anyone had any experiences with either of the University of Florida programs? How about Orlando Regional? Thanks in advance and good luck to all.

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