TOPIC: Residency Review Thread 2016-2017
Residency Review Thread 2016-2017 2 weeks 3 days ago #35374
Nobody left or came. Karam took over for Marsh. Marsh is still there as the DC. Karam was previously the assistant PD. I'm not a resident so I can't say for sure, but I did rotate there and from a student perspective I don't think much will change.
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Residency Review Thread 2016-2017 1 week 2 days ago #35408
Any freshly-matched 4th years who could share their thoughts/experiences for those of us applying in 2017-2018 would be really appreciated! Congrats to all of you on matching.
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Residency Review Thread 2016-2017 1 week 2 days ago #35409
Med School: East coast. Upper-lower tier.. is that a thing?
Boards: Step 1: mid 260s Step 2: mid 260s took in June before my first SubI
Preclinicals: mostly As
Clinicals: Honored 6/7
Ortho: Honored home and 3 aways
Aways: 3 – 1 northeast, 1 south, 1 west coast. None were safeties, nor were they reaches. Chose based on reading on here and recommendations from faculty. Always got a weird face from people when I said where I rotated, since it seemed random to them.
Research: 0 on ERAS. Had 2 projects ready to talk about for interviews
Extracurriculars: nothing special
What I was looking for in a Program: residents/faculty that I could actually see myself clicking with, complete/balanced coverage of all subspecialties, good fellowship match reputation, organized didactics system, same stuff as everyone else… vibe was by far the most important
How many Programs:
Applied to: 100
Offered Interviews: 30
I’ll address it here before I forget, I applied to more programs than most, even though I know a good number of people who applied to 70-90. In retrospect, I matched, so it’s easy for me to judge and say it was overkill, but my paranoia was 2/2 a red flag of sorts in pre-clinicals and the fact that aside from having great numbers, I’m a pretty basic dude. The question I hated most on the trail was: “what makes you interesting?”… cuz I got nothing and I had no research, so I felt my ability to wow people on an interview was nil. So I preferred to play it safe and I literally went through every program's website, read about them, and applied to any program I thought that I’d be okay with matching at, which ended up being a lot because I don’t really care about prestige. For anyone with similar numbers and minimal research, I think if I had to go through this again, I’d apply to about 70 (again, overkill, but 70 is a good number if you're trying to play it safe). I'd do ~50 if I had my ish together and had a publication to put on ERAS, since I think that hurt with getting some interviews.
Michigan: If there was a +/- chart that could show how much programs changed based on your pre and post-interview impressions, this would have the greatest spread. I was really wowed by the program and how well they take care of their residents. The residents are all super chill, apparently 1 dude played pro baseball for some time, and class was relatively diverse. PD legit started tearing up on my interview day when she began to talk about the program and how far it’s come. There were only a few places that truly stood out has having PD’s who were all about the program and the residents, and this was one of them. They took us to the UM stadium for lunch and a tour, which was cool, despite not having anything to do with Ortho. All the faculty seemed super laid-back and it was one of the few places where people had clearly actually read my application beforehand and spoke about it on some level. They have an intern skills month with no other clinical responsibility, which sounds amazing. The only knock’s about this program I would say are that they get “good-enough” operative training and aren’t super busy, just by virtue of how many programs are relatively close by. Trauma seems to be the service that was noted the most in terms of not having a ton of volume, but a Trauma attending assured me that he believes they have enough volume for residents to be confident/comfortable with any of the basics they would see post-residency while on call. Some random guy paid for my coffee at Starbuck’s the morning of my interview, +1 for Midwest culture. Ranked it relatively high, but this would have been a #1 candidate if it wasn’t in an area that gets so cold and if it wasn’t in a region of the country where I have no friends at all. I spoke to someone who didn’t have the best rotation experience here, but I basically don’t place much weight into what people say, sine we’re all different… i.e. when I met people on interview day who told me they rotated at HSS I immediately tuned them out for the rest of the convo.
UCSD: This program was very similar to UM. Interview day/social was by far the best on the trail. They recently lost Chargers coverage, but will now be covering the Padres. + for most people, - for me because baseball is objectively the worst sport on earth. All specialties are well represented. I think sports is the one thing that could be considered a weakness, but the residents feel they get pretty good exposure with the Peds sports coverage and their rotations with the Navy. They’re hiring more faculty to cover trauma and there are plans in the works to expand several of the other sub-specialties as well. They’re phasing out their research year, & I believe they said after this year only 1 resident per year will be required to do a year of research. IMO, not really any negatives about this program, unless doing an extra year isn’t your thing.
UPMC: Program seemed solid. It sounds like they get good operative experience and Dr. Fu’s name is known to everyone, so you’ll get whatever sports fellowship you want. I just got a weird vibe while I was here. I think there are multiple different sites you rotate at throughout Pittsburgh, so there isn’t a ton of resident-resident interaction. Another interviewee mentioned how the residents apparently don’t get along. When I asked, I was told apparently this was a problem in some of the higher classes, but the current PD has been making more of a concerted effort to take people who will get along and apparently most of the residents are cool with each other now. They showed their research facilities, which are amazing. They have the most attendings on staff of any residency in the country… Did you know there have only been 5 different chairs at this program since 1900?? -_-... I left this interview feeling: If I matched here, I’d be okay with it because it has a great name and you’re going to get worked hard with an end result of being a very well trained resident. However, I have an odd feeling I wouldn’t be genuinely happy with my time there and while you can’t get back years of training, I don’t think the opportunity value is high enough to train here over some lower tier places with better balance. Pittsburgh itself wasn’t the most thrilling place, but the residents all said it grows on you and harped on the benefit of living in an affordable city. Apparently it used to be that a 2nd look was an unspoken thing that had to be done if you wanted to match here, but it isn’t really the case anymore. Half of the residents will be doing 6 years. They’ll ask you about your interest in research on interview day, but it won’t hurt your chances if you aren’t interested, so don’t be scared to be honest.
UVA: Probably the most well balanced of any of the tier 1 programs I interviewed at. I think there are a few reviews of the program saying the same things, so no point in going into a ton of detail. Strong Hand/Sports, didactics every day (if that’s your thing), shipped to Roanoke, which is about an hour away for almost a year of residency time, but it’s like operating bootcamp – no clinic responsibility, just come in and operate every day, Charlottesville is a cool city - good for food, breweries, and wineries, but it’s surrounded by nothing exciting and your nearest escapes are Richmond at 1 hour away or DC/Virginia beach – about 2 hours away. Make sure you look on their website to be aware of the interview stations, so that you’re somewhat prepared on interview day. This is another program that could have been ranked #1 if the location was more exciting or if there was more ease of access to family/friends.
Stanford: Asked about the competition with fellows for cases and was assured it wasn’t a problem. Asked about Trauma volume and was told that they see good enough volume for the things that are pertinent for a resident to know. Asked about housing and apparently it is pretty difficult to live on your own, so most residents split housing with others. Those were my only concerns coming in to interview day and the more detailed responses I got were enough for me to not have any worries about matching there. The chair walked in to speak to us and he seemed less than enthused, which apparently is his personality, but the residents said he was a great guy. PD was extremely affable and walked around speaking to everyone at the pre-interview social as well, seemed like he even remembered a few of us from reading about us beforehand. Everything about the interview day was great. +1 for another program where everyone, including the chief room, had actually read my application beforehand and had comments or questions on it. They just hired an assistant PD, previous PD at Carolinas, who is making small changes to the curriculum for the better. Likewise a great guy and wouldn’t have known how important he was from speaking to him at the pre-interview social. Residents were all really cool. Personally, leaving interview day, the only concern I had was whether or not I could actually afford to be a resident there with my billion dollars in school loans. It seems like an already great program, on the uptrend. Potential negative is that I met a guy on the trail who rotated here who had concerns about the operative volume, but again, you have to take things with a grain of salt… things are season dependent, resident/team dependent, past experience dependent, or potentially just a fluke, but just figured I’d make note of it since it is something that had been associated with the program previously.
Baylor: I missed the hospital tour, which here is held the day before the actual interview, so I’m not sure if my interaction with residents or seeing the facilities more would have changed my impression, but I walked out of here thinking I would rank it last. In one interview, at the start (so it wasn’t because I was being boring as hell) the interviewer picked up the phone for a non-essential phone call… then continued with, do you have any questions? It also turned me off that this was the first program I had ask me what programs I rotated at, so initially that disgusted me… but then I realized as I got deeper in interview season about a 1/3 or more of programs still ask that question. They’re very cocky here about their operative experience and it seemed the only thing they had to brag about their program was that they have cases scheduled throughout the night. I was basically told by 2 attendings they have a preference for people from southern programs and that in their experience people from the northeast are book smart, but not good at operating. There was a trauma guy who was pretty cool and trained there previously and was happy to come back. 2 residents were pretty cool and easy to talk to during the day. Other than that, I really didn’t get great vibes from many people Apparently, people have bad mouthed the chair here because of his time at other programs. He seemed like a good guy to me though and was honest in answering my questions, so I’m not sure what his problem might have been at other locations. They are forthcoming about their lack of research infrastructure, but are actively trying to improve this so the residents can be more productive. That being said, there was a chief who spoke about having multiple publications and said it’s doable if you bust your butt early on. Lastly, several residents commented on the program being heavy on floor work for your first 2 years, with little OR time, but apparently in years 3 and 4 you’re operating essentially all the time to the point where as a chief “you don’t even feel like operating anymore.” An emphasis is definitely placed on producing residents who are comfortable making operative decisions. It was presented a little cavalier at times… making it sound like they had an “F it, not sure what I’m doing, hope this works” attitude. However, I can’t say that the confidence they exuded isn’t exactly what I want when I graduate, though I maybe wouldn’t present myself in the same manner. I think you’d be a boss surgeon if you trained here, but I also think it has the potential to have you finish residency with a few deficiencies, depending on the type of person you are.
Jefferson: 6 residents, ~1 spot for non-rotators. Seems like things run extremely efficiently here and you will have great operative experience because of the # of cases you get in. Residents seemed a little broish, with a few prior athletes, but at the same time the program has a bit of a white-collar feel. Kind of non-ideal to have to travel to multiple different sites when you’re based out of a relatively busy city, but the traffic in Philly isn’t terrible. I don’t really think they have any weaknesses… aside from Trauma, but this was brought up and they said they had recently brought in a trauma guy from Washington I believe, though I’m not sure that their volume has increased significantly yet. They get to do a “mini-MBA” over the course of residency as the Chair is big on being able to market yourself. Minimal diversity to resident makeup. Chairman is a funny guy… make sure you have something interesting to say about yourself as they do a group student interview with the PD/chair and everyone says something about themselves. #2 in the country in terms of research funds available, if that's your thing.
Miami: If you like Trauma, this is a great place to be. They’re actively trying to make improvements and I think they’re definitely surging in the right direction. Significantly improved research efforts with exponential increases in the last few years in publication volume, new faculty hirings, a new sports outpatient center in Coral Gables close to the athletic facilities. If those things and more don’t do it enough for you there’s always the fact that you’d be living in Miami for 5 years and breast implants & injections aside, it’s arguably the best place in the country to be. Intern year you'll have weekends off while on all ortho rotations. Didn’t seem like it had that uber bro vibe like people used to describe it as. Also, it isn’t a pre-requisite to know Spanish to end up here, but it’ll help you out a lot. +1 for only having to leave campus for 1 rotation and having research blocks built into the schedule.
VCU: Solid program with busy services/trauma. Seems to have everything you would need to graduate and be competent. Not sure how to describe it, but residents seemed like “regular” people, which is a negative for some, but I don’t mind… i.e. normal, nice, down to earth people who will always work hard, but not necessarily full of people you’d want to hit a strip club with, if that’s your thing. The chair came from Rochester and has brought a lot of grant money to the program and has aimed to significantly improve the program. I think he stated his goal is to have VCU be within the “top 25” in residency rankings within the next few years. Really nothing BAD about this program, it just seemed like Richmond wasn’t for me and it was a little off-putting to be at a place where it was obvious that almost nobody had actually read my application.
Cooper: Small program, good trauma, efforts in place to continue improving balance of program, non-ideal location. Since they’re new, they have to wait until whatever trial period they're on ends before they can add more residents to each class, which they definitely have the volume for.
Monmouth: small program, 2 residents/year, all seemed like laid back guys/girls. Solid fellowship matches. Just a bit worried about the volume you’ll see of things aside from the absolute basics. Wouldn’t mind living on the beach for 5 years though.
NYMC: I think a few interviewees were turned off by the fact that we were there essentially all day long because of poor interview organization. Residents were present for the first few hours,but they left after the tours and it was just the group of students waiting in the room for the rest of the day. People seemed cool at the social. Sounds like they get okay experience. Apparently they went down a resident in recent years. Someone asked this on interview day and the 2 residents present didn’t really know how to answer the question in a way to make it sound like it wasn’t a big deal, so that was weird. +1 for proximity to the city
Rutgers RWJ: Smaller program at 3 residents/year. Attendings all seem like laid-back guys. Residents emphasized the perks of attending the program and it seems like they get treated pretty well. Match well for fellowship into varied specialties. Have to go to Sloan Kettering for your Onc rotation. College town vibe city in close proximity to NYC and Philly as selling point.
SUNY Downstate: Best food on the interview trail, if that’s worth anything. Attendings seemed like pretty down to earth guys who just like getting the job done. Sounds like you get a lot of non-ideal patients because of the area, but in general, this tends to be good for surgical experience anyway. Living in Brooklyn can be expensive, but obviously better than Manhattan. There are plans to grow the program and hire new faculty soon after the program got dinged not too long ago for not having enough. PD also said efforts are there to improve research infrastructure. I think the only thing that turned me off was the prospect of training in NY and having to deal with NY ancillary staff, which at this hospital seemed to be exceptionally lackluster.
Ranked anywhere I went on an interview, but didn’t get a chance to interview at the following 2/2 conflicts: WashU, LIJ, Tufts, UCLA, Rochester, Mount Sinai/St. Lukes, Kentucky, UC Irvine, LSU, Mclaren Flint, Allegheny
Matched at: Tier 1, did away
Advice for future applicants:
Do aways wherever you actually would like to be, the whole regional thing is likely dead. To maximize your odds of matching, be honest with yourself about your application. Avg step is 247 and avg abst/pub/presentations is 8… don’t rotate somewhere completely out of your league. In general, nice people are easier to work with. Be yourself and don’t try too hard to be cool/funny/broish for the sake of the field… a lot of people stuck out in the wrong way for that on interview days. To reiterate, I would NOT apply to a ton of programs again and in retrospect I regret that extra $1000+ that I shelled out. If you feel like you’re a borderline applicant, choose whichever programs you think you’d ACTUALLY be happy to end up at (probably ends up being the 50-60 most people apply to), then add another 10-15 “lower-tier places” in your region or that you have some other connection to. I spoke with a couple rockstar kids who had good scores and multiple pubs and got 30 interviews out of their only 50 applications. Regarding # of aways, I think the adage is still true that 1-2 aways is fine if you’re a great applicant on paper. If you’re decent, borderline or worse of an applicant, I’d do 3. Kill your aways - that should at the very least be 3 guaranteed interviews, and if you’re good enough – 3 guaranteed spots. My aways were not terrible, I got pimped, but I think it was more important to be always present and helpful than the smartest student they’ve ever met. That being said, I was generally always prepared. Get Netter’s, use Orthobullets, follow up with Handbook of Fractures and another source for any presentations you give and you’ll all be fine. I personally don’t know anyone who didn’t match who played the game well. The pre-req is to have the numbers and good third year grades. If you’re step 1 255+ and honor most of your rotations, you should match with confidence. If you’re 255+ honor most of your rotations and have research, you should match at wherever you want, if you rotate there. If you’re 255+ honor your rotations and you don’t match, you’re either social awkward or you had some other red flag. People who don’t have the numbers just need to rotate accordingly and apply broadly +/- do a year of research depending on the type of program you want to go to and how poor your scores are. Wouldn’t recommend applying to anyone with <238ish… random #, but in anyone who ended up divulging that info throughout this process, I think the lowest score I actually heard of was a 250 (there weren’t a lot of this people in this sample so take it for what it’s worth), but either way, with outcomes saying the average is almost 250 (247), you’d be facing an very steep uphill battle with a step score that would be less than a standard deviation from the matched average… not impossible, just unlikely if the quality of the applicant pool continues to stay the same/improve. Happy to respond to any PMs, despite being relatively dead over the last few years, this site was still extremely useful throughout this whole process so I just wanted to add my .02 for the future classes.
Last Edit: 1 week 2 days ago by benchdaily.
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Residency Review Thread 2016-2017 6 days 18 hours ago #35413
Used this thread a lot the past couple years - thought I would return the favor now that the Match is over!
Med School: Small Midwest school, not USNWR Top 50
Boards: Step 1: ~250 Step 2: ~260 (took in July, was available to programs)
Clinicals: H everything except surgery, which I only passed (F/P/H system, no HP).
Ortho: Unsure - no real grades on 4th year rotations for us
Aways: 2 - One reach school in my region, one smaller program with a recent grad from my school for a guaranteed connection. Rotated in September/October. Got one letter from the reach program, probably got me a couple additional interviews because it was a decent name.
Research: Big weakness - No ortho pubs. No non-ortho pubs. A couple non-Ortho poster presentations and 1 non-ortho podium. First author on an ortho case report that was in the review process during interviews, ended up getting accepted during late interview season (was able to talk about this on interviews).
Extracurriculars: Student government, multiple volunteering/public service things, multiple other school roles, sports - all the normal stuff.
What I was looking for in a Program: I am not a big "prestige" person, as long as the faculty have some connections. As you read above, I don’t have much research - thus, I didn’t even bother applying to many top “prestige” programs. I am also not a "more cases the better" kind of person - I wanted a well-rounded clinical experience in conjunction with an operative experience because I believe that is what will make me a good attending surgeon in practice. 3 important things to me: 1) Good people 2) Good location 3) Good training. 1 - I want people who I can learn from and get along with - this includes residents, faculty, and even support staff. I wanted the overall learning environment to be focused on education, not using the residents as assistants and scut monkeys. 2 - Small-to-medium sized city with a strong young professional presence. 3 - I want faculty members who have some connections and will be able to get me a fellowship if necessary - however I want a well-rounded training experience that would allow me to pursue private practice straight out of residency if I wanted to as well. Strong trauma rotations were a requirement, and I’m not a huge fan of extended night float systems. Some programs are as many as 6 months, which I think is too long of a time away from the OR.
How many Programs:
Applied to: 91
Offered Interviews: 21
I think tiers are unnecessary, simply because what I think is important in a program or I like in a program, other people might hate.
In alphabetical order:
Akron General: Smaller community program, (3/year). The most interesting aspect of CCAG (as they are now owned by Cleveland Clinic) is the program layout. They don't have set rotations outside of peds and hand, which means you can be responsible for spine, trauma, joints, sports, etc all on the same day/week/month. The chief residents set the OR schedule day-by-day and determine which residents cover what cases. The residents seemed to really like this because they were never stuck in a rut with the same subspecialty for months, and they are always fresh because they don't only have one spine rotation in second year or something like that. They do daily didactics. Good hospital perks. Definitely more of a bro-y atmosphere. Great lifestyle (the residents have a boat..yes, a boat). A lot of young faculty returning after training in Akron then doing fellowships elsewhere. Only big weakness for me was the location - Akron didn't have much to offer, and not a whole lot going on in the city.
Atlanta Medical Center - WellStar: Medium-size community program (4/year). Work with 100+ ortho surgeons in the greater Atlanta area. You do drive around quite a bit here, especially during 3-5 year. You spend your time at multiple sites throughout the greater Atlanta area, so traffic would get frustrating. The hospital was just bought this year by WellStar, and the faculty are all hopeful this will bring a new influx of cash/resources into the hospital. PD reported $157 million of hospital renovations and improvements in the next few years. Definitely a front-loaded program with the interns and twos working the hardest. Call is reasonable. Some concerns that the educational/didactic experience was lacking. A strong operative program with a great operative experience, even early on. There is a strong, well-rounded faculty. However, the residents seemed just a little airy for me, and didn't get to meet many of them. Personally not a good fit for me (but still a very good operative program).
Grand Rapids: Medium-sized community program (5/year). Overall, an excellent program in a great town (it was just named Beer City USA...). If anything, they operate TOO much. Interns are talking about doing skin-to-skin cases. By 3rd year, you are running your own joints room. This is a very heavy operative experience. Lifestyle is reasonable and you get the opportunity to moonlight and make some serious extra bank. Weekly conferences. Faculty is determined by who the residents want to work with (e.g., a new surgeon comes to town and the residents decide if they want to work with them). Quite a bit of night float (forget exactly how much). The faculty and PD were all awesome. Super fun interview day with a kegger afterwards that all interviewees are invited to. Residents seemed great as well, very welcoming and friendly.
Greenville: A very well-respected community program in the South. PD is a straight-shooter, no-nonsense kind of guy that is there to lead the program and teach residents. Would be a great person to learn under. The rest of the faculty were very laid back and would be awesome to work with. The hospital perks are ridiculous here - they get everything paid for and more (including an iPhone + service). They operate early and often, and as much as you want to. The intern year has been re-designed to give interns more time in the operating room. The residents finish with 2000+ cases and are very competent. Rotate through Clemson athletics as a 5. Well-rounded faculty in both academic and "community" settings gives you a well-rounded and voluminous operative experience. Greenville is a great small city with all kinds of outdoors stuff to do nearby and a top rated downtown. Overall, Dr. Porter (PD) has this program run tightly and not much slips through the cracks.
Henry Ford: The residents are all very close knit, a bit more of a "bro" program than some others, but not terribly so. They work hard but do so together with good support. They have intramural teams that are long-running and successful (shows true comraderie). There is a lot of "downtown" population which would probably get old as a 2/3, but the west bloomfield location offers a more private setting and a better patient population. Overall, a very well balanced program. Downsides are two rotations in Minneapolis during your mid-years. The program pays for a furnished apartment, but still a hassle. Detroit is on the up-and-up, and most residents live out in the suburbs anyway. The PD is a young guy who goes to bat for his residents and is an asset to the program.
Illinois-Chicago: Not my style of program, not my style of city. Wasn’t able to get a good sense of the residents because I didn’t meet many on interview day - they were either too busy or needed a day off (interview was on a Saturday), but the ones I met were welcoming. They rotate through 5 different hospitals on each corner of Chicago, and the driving between the sites would be pretty miserable. Due to the spread out nature of the institutions, the residents live all over the place and outside of the occasional beer, don’t hang out much (according to one of the residents). There are occasional Saturday conferences. Pretty well-known faculty and excellent research capabilities, especially in microsurgery.
McLaren-Flint: This program would have ended up much higher on my list if it wasn’t in Flint. The residents were all very down-to-Earth and really welcoming - some of the nicest I met on the trail. Hardly anyone actually lives in Flint, just about everyone lives in the suburbs. Trauma is knife- and gun- club heavy, but they do get some polytrauma from the northern part of the state. They have a cool research department where you can work on motor vehicle collision research and related topics. Senior call was a little rough and a bit of a turnoff.
MCW: No weaknesses here. There is a wide range of faculty that you work with, but the # of faculty is not so large that you don't get to know them personally. You get to the operating room as an intern, and step back a bit as a 2. Mostly service-based teams, some solo services like spine and F/A. Only 2 fellows (hand, F/A). I didn't get the chance to meet with the program director personally, but the new chair was awesome and very down-to-Earth. The residents speak very highly of their faculty and their approachability. They also are relatively well known and connected. The new chair seems to have the right idea for the place and they are very focused on resident education. The residents themselves are all very friendly and welcoming.
Minnesota: Great operative experience once you earn it/get to it. You don't see the OR much as an intern but get in hot and heavy as a 2 and beyond. There are quite a few fellows that can get in the way of cases at some of the locations, but overall there are so many cases at so many different locations, the operative experience is great. You rotate at 6+ hospitals throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, which means you will have a broad experience. 15% of their residents enter practice directly out of the residency, which speaks to the quality of operative experience here (despite the large academic name and faculty). Minneapolis is a great city to live in. Perfect balance between an intense clinical experience and the academic name that will get me a good fellowship. Definitely a work-hard program where you put in your time and effort, especially at the trauma centers. Very family-oriented and female-friendly, which to me suggests a positive learning environment.
Nebraska: Mid-size academic program in Omaha. Great operative experience here, early and often. Interns often log 100+ cases in their first year alone. While it is a graduated experience, they have 2 VA rotations where the attendings are much more hands-off. Somewhat weak in sports, and you cover trauma as an intern and as a 3, but not as a 2 (you don't go to AO basic until your third year). The best part about this place is the people. Residents were all very laid back and personable (we had football on during the interview day). Awesome faculty. Every single faculty member I felt that I could get along with and learn from on a personal level. Plus they just finished a brand-new outpatient surgery center with new research labs, ortho-specific lounges, and state-of-the-art ORs. Lifestyle seemed pretty reasonable, and good educational experience.
Southern Illinois Univ: Smaller (3/year), “hybrid” program. University name, but rotate with almost exclusively community docs. The operative experience here is one of the best I saw on the trail. 3s are expected to handle bread-and-butter trauma and primary joints as primary surgeon. Mentor-based model, never double scrubbed except on rare occasions. Weekly didactics which are supposedly brutal, but perhaps changing with a new department chair coming in April. New chair has a lot of great ideas which will undoubtedly have this program on the upswing. PD is a pediatric ortho surgeon who runs a tight ship and is passionate about this residency. The residents here were super down-to-Earth and easy to get along with.
St. Louis Univ.: 6-year program transitioning to split 5-year and 6-year (3 residents will be in the 5 year track, 3 residents will be in the 6 year track by 2019). Previously on this site, SLU got a bit of a bad rap, so maybe I had low expectations going in - however, I was impressed by them. Yes, a couple odd residents and one put-offish faculty member, but overall I thought it was a pretty good interview day. The facilities are rough, but they are building a brand new hospital (done in 2020). According to residents, there are a lot of "old school" faculty who aren't ones for compliments or hand-holding, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. They are relatively well known, especially in trauma, and residents claim most are relatively good teachers. You get a diverse trauma experience as you rotate at hospitals with mostly urban trauma and another with mostly blunt MVC trauma.
Summa Health: Medium-size (4/yr) hybrid-style program in Akron, Ohio. Operative experience here is actually really good due to their interesting set up in second year: As a 2, you are on 6 months of call and 6 months of dedicated service time with only weekend call. This allows for 6 months of real in-depth operative months where you get to develop great operative skills. Cover University of Akron football as a PGY3. Home call for all senior years. Perhaps a weak clinic experience - no resident-run clinic, and it seems like the seniors are "encouraged" to do one day of clinic/week. This may be a plus to some applicants, but I was looking for a little more well-rounded experience. There are opportunities to moonlight here. The leadership faculty (Dr. Weiner/Dr. Junko) are definitely strong parts of the program. They are very down-to-Earth guys who are advocates for the residents. The remainder of the faculty remain a mystery, however, as no one else was present on interview day. Same as Akron General, not a big fan of the city.
Vermont: Smaller (3/yr) academic program. One of my favorite programs because of the people - everyone was very welcoming and the outdoor scene here is gorgeous (they made sure each interview room had a window either facing the lake or the mountains). The pre-interview dinner alone was worth the trip (full menu selection and great Vermont beer). Daily conferences that are mostly attending-led. Tough anatomy rotation as a 2. On trauma as a 2, there is someone covering the ER so you get a great operative experience. The PD is the president (or something high up) of the national board of PDs, so she has a lot of connections and was one of my favorite interviewers on the trail. The biggest strength of this residency is the residents themselves. They select people who are going to fit in well with the program (some of the interviewers are blinded to your application), and it shows. They treat each other like family, and the vibes from this place were very positive. If it wasn’t so far from home and Burlington had a little more to offer (without the higher cost of living…), I would’ve been all in.
Western Michigan: Small (3/yr) “hybrid” program in Kalamazoo. Operate early and often (for real). 92nd%ile on OITE this year speaks to the quality of their education. The new chair and PD are committed to resident education and will continue strengthening the curriculum. There is a brand new anatomy and skills lab for the residents to use. The new WMU med school facilities are gorgeous. Both PD/Chair are involved in resident education, leadership (both sit on national committees), and are nationally known names that will help these guys get good fellowships. The only real downsides of the program are the 6 months on night float, and the call setup was a bit unsettling for me. All calls must be filtered by an attending first - which means you are only coming in for OR cases. While this may be a huge plus for some applicants with families or who just love their sleep, I thought it was a bit of a detriment to the educational process. Outside of that, the work-life balance is great (due mostly to the call setup) and everyone seemed to enjoy their life here. Kalamazoo has 7 (yes, seven) craft breweries in a town of 70k people...you do the math.
William Beaumont: Large (8/yr with the combo from Oakwood) “community” program in Royal Oak, MI (really nice Detroit suburb). I put community in quotes because while the surgeons are private practice, they are heavy in research and are very much an academic-style program. The facilities here are top-notch and very centralized. It seemed like the ortho residents are very well-respected here. I liked the fact that interns take ortho call even on their off-service rotations to allow for more learning experiences under an upperclassman before taking call solo. Some very well-connected faculty, including the PD. The combination with Oakwood will open up an opportunity for a “VA-type” experience, where attendings will take a hands-off approach to clinic and the OR. There will still be plenty of cases with 3+ new residents this year. I didn’t click with the residents as well here as compared to some other places.
Unable to interview due to scheduling conflicts: Toledo, Marshall, Buffalo, St. Luke's, UK-Wichita
None. Would rather suck it up at a place I don't like for 5 years and be an orthopaedic surgeon than not match and take the risk of re-applying next year.
Matched at: My #1!
Advice for future applicants:
Know yourself, and know your application. Seems simple, but a lot goes into it. For me, I knew that no big research projects + coming from a lesser-known school = no way I would even get a passing glance from the big-name academic places. Away rotations were great for me - I went to two very different places to get a feel for each, and it really helped me decide what I was looking for in a program. There are a ton of similar programs out there (as you can see, I liked the vast majority of them) who are all going to give you great training. You have to find the one that fits best with where you want to live, the style of program you like, and who you connected most with on your away or interview day. Go to as many pre-interview dinners as you can, but I wouldn’t cancel an interview just to go to a pre-interview dinner unless I knew it was going to be near the top of my list (you will be more excited about some interviews than others). On interviews themselves, always be prepared to have an “Ace-in-the-hole” - something that wasn’t on your application that makes you stand out (up to you to figure out what that is/means). I sent thank-yous only to my top few programs, and didn’t do any second-looks. At the end of the day, the formula (usually) doesn’t fail: 250+ Step 1, honors in all or nearly all your clerkships, research, AOA, and great LoRs from relatively well-known surgeons. Check 4+ of the 5 boxes, and you have yourself a great chance to become an orthopaedic surgeon. Feel free to PM me with any questions, and good luck!
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Residency Review Thread 2016-2017 6 days 5 hours ago #35415
Med School: East Coast (Mid-Tier)
Boards: Step 1: 240-245 Step 2: 265-270 (Took May 2016)
Rank: Top 15%
AOA: Yes, Senior
Clinicals: All Honors 3rd & 4th year
Ortho: Honors in all away rotations and home (3 away, 1 home)
Aways: Chicago (received interview), Boston (received interview), Connecticut (received interview). One seemed like more of a safety to me initially and then I realized that I loved all of my aways and the safety v. reach concept is truly meaningless. You don’t know a program until you get there.
Research: 2 primary author publications (both in ortho), 4 additional publications (not ortho).1 podium presentation. 3 poster presentations. Primary investigator for my own research project that lasted throughout medical school (3 publications pending).
-Ortho Interest Group
-Surgery Interest Group
-Free Clinic affiliated with my school
-Multiple additional volunteer experiences
-Came with a graduate degree, thesis experience, and 4 additional years of clinical research at a well-known center
What I was looking for in a Program:
-Quality of the residents and the PD/Chair. Wanted an involved faculty that wouldn’t suffocate me and co-residents that were hard-working, funny, and down-to-earth. The programs that reached out more personally and knew my application cold really won me over—I am a sucker for that personalized feel.
-I wanted a mix of mentors: different genders, races, walks of life, etc. I did not want a homogenous group of people that wanted to stuff me in some diversity box.
-Lack of arrogance. This mattered on three fronts and trickled down: 1) the faculty, 2) the residents, and 3) the quality of the applicants interviewing around me.
How many Programs:
Applied to: 55
Offered Interviews: 28
I am going to avoid the Tier approach. I think that it is time to switch from that mentality. The programs you choose are based on fit and feel, as well as away experience. The Tier approach only clouds the water and is incongruent with finding the right program for YOU.
I wanted to love this program but it was not the right fit for me. The focus was too trauma heavy for me personally and they have very little diversity in the program, despite their efforts to improve that. I found the leadership to be somewhat antiquated in their approach to improving the diversity.
Really terrific place. Residents are some of the most down-to-earth. PD/Assoc PD/Chair are all amazing, friendly, and personalize the process to you. Obviously there are big names here. Your trauma education would be elsewhere and it is expensive to live in NYC.
Too rural and small for me. Residents are really nice.
Power house program. Faculty and attending involvement with residency is hit or miss: some love to teach, others clearly hate it. Residents are awesome—some of my favorite on the trail. Boston didn’t work for me for personal reasons; otherwise this would have been very high on my list.
Bad location. Enough said. Considered going for the gym alone, however...that thing will make you cry it is so beautiful.
Residents are very nice. Tons of women (some of the most), several of whom were pregnant. Program clearly supportive of resident lifestyles. Clinical sites were far from each other and driving was required. They have lost 3 residents over the past 10 years.
This place is so money. Awesome residents (though a touch of the bro) and the PD and Chair are some of the best on the market. High, high, high on the list. Rotate here if you want it—they interview rotators (i,e. bring a suit to your away) and really prioritize them. They like to know the quality of the product before they buy. GREAT Onc & Peds exposure. Facilities are gorgeous.
Found this program to be very pushy and aggressive. This was the big reason why it did not suit me. Additionally, one intern mentioned some unprofessional things during the social that really bothered me. Bottom line: you have to really want to live in NYC and maybe there is a personality type here.
Holy smokes, this place is gorgeous. That being said, the research is not the strongest. I also only met a small number of residents during the interview day and social and that was a deterrent/red flag for me. Some of the most genuine and nicest people in the game, however.
Interview day feels like a cattle show. Tons of applicants. Added new BIDMC tumor rotation that fleshes out their Onc exposure. Have the Baptist and New Wellesley. These places are super underrated and a huge plus in this program. Residents are funny with some quirk. Teaching style is socratic here.
Program is a gem. Best residents; best new Bone and Joint facility (ortho only); best PD. West Hartford is gorgeous. Operative exposure at Hartford Hospital is 5 star. You need to want to be in the area but really this program has no down side. This program is the perfect example of why the Tier system does not work—once you rotate there, you realize it is Tier 1. The PEOPLE ARE PHENOMENAL.
Cushy for the residents. They take great care of them. Residents are in a union and gives them a decent amount of power. PD is super nice. Tons of diversity at the interview. Operative experience may be limited but I can speak to that for sure. The Big House could be all yours if you so desired...
Location pretty sweet. Too formal of a program for my tastes, however.
Did not mesh with the residents. Really weak Peds and Onc. Burlington is pretty beautiful, but the Heady Topper I drank the night before was the peak of the experience for me.
This program is incredible. Personalized interviews, residents are intelligent and outdoorsy. You need to want to be in SLC. Strong research, strong didactics, facilities beautiful. Good Onc and Peds exposure. They favor rotators. Hospital sites are all within a small radius and makes your commuting lifestyle super easy. Attendings and faculty present interview day were genuine and intelligent. Cannot recommend enough.
NOT ABLE TO ATTEND and/or CANCELLED
U of Arizona
Ranked every program I interviewed at (‘cause what the heck, I wanna be an Orthopaedic Surgeon)
Matched at: #1 (so grateful). I DID NOT DO AN AWAY HERE.
Advice for future applicants:
First of all, use Orthogate sparely and in moderation. It is best for your health.
Second of all, it is OK to be normal. My Step 1 score did not rip anyone’s face off but I made sure that I was a well-rounded, thoughtful applicant before I applied. I have a decent amount of life experience and have many passions outside of Ortho. This made my interviews relaxed and complex. I honestly think it helped me.
Here are some tips that were useful to me:
-If your Step 1 score isn’t as high as you want, take your Step 2 early and destroy it. Then explain how you learn better clinically and on the wards.
-Care less about where the program is ranked and more about whether or not you would truly want to live in the city. Picture your life there.
-Look for balanced programs that have decent Onc and Peds exposure, or at least send you to a place at which you would want to be when you’re on those rotations. The obvious caveat to this is that you may already know what kind of Orthopod you wanna be. If so, go where you will find it.
-Look at the way the residents interact with each other and how the PD interacts with you. I liked when programs knew my app well and clearly wanted me there for a reason.
-Look around you at the other applicants. Are they arrogant? Can you have a conversation with them? Would you hate ending up being their co-resident? This helped me eliminate a few “Tier 1” programs.
-Schedule your aways early. Some places do not use VSAS. Know this and get all your apps in.
-3 aways seems to be the trend. I am glad that I did that many but the process is INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE and not everyone has parent’s paying for it. Make sure you budget well and only do what you can afford.
-Only apply to the number of programs you would truly want to be at. I was limited by budget and I am glad that I was. It is easy to get sucked into the hysteria and apply to too many, especially when someone is hyperventilating next to you and submitting to all 150+ programs.
-Be kind to other applicants. Give them rides to the airport. Share details about interviews. Work as a team. Don’t let this process destroy you.
-You may love your aways and still end up at a place that you did not rotate. This happened to me. I was blown away by my number 1 and listened to my gut feeling. Trust yourself!
-Rank where you want to be, not where you think you are ranked to match
-Don’t listen to post-interview chatter from programs. You never know who they are saying the same thing to. Try not to let it bias you. Try to choose the program for concrete, well thought out reasons—not because the PD called you and lavished praise on you. That stuff evaporates quickly.
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Residency Review Thread 2016-2017 6 days 5 hours ago #35417
I used this feed as well last year, and I had a pretty unique story this year, so i figured that I would share to hopefully help out the future applicants.
Med School: Texas school, not a top 50 and not an Ortho powerhouse,
Boards: Step 1: 250 Step 2: 259 (took in July, was available to programs)
Rank: Top 5%
Preclinicals: P on P/F scale
Clinicals: Honors in all clerkships
Ortho: Honors on all 3 aways, we do home rotations as a 3rd year and contributes towards our Surgery clerkship grade
Aways: 3, all of my advice was to stay in the South, and so I did. Two well known and reputable schools in the south with a work-hard mentality but some academic flair, and one smaller program.
Research: 2 published ortho papers in smaller journals, one as first author. A third paper submitted by the time applications went out
Extracurriculars: Collegiate rugby, lots of volunteering and medical mission stuff, Gold Humanism, etc.
What I was looking for in a Program: I really just wanted a program that was well-rounded and would offer me the opportunity to pursue whatever fellowship I wanted. I wanted to leave residency with enough connections that I wouldn't be limited in my fellowship search. I wanted strong didactics and stronger operative experience, research wasn't as important to me, though I am happy to participate as a means to an end. I prefer a family-friendly environment and really enjoy a strong sense of camaraderie in a program. I plan on pursing private orthopaedics in the end, so operative skill was placed at a premium.
How many Programs:
Applied to: 72
Offered Interviews: 24
Attended: 13 (Caveat: I attempted to make every night-before social as an opportunity to truly get to know the program and to see how the fit was. There were plenty of scheduling conflicts, but I also didn't do any back-to-backs if they prevented me from missing a night before social).
In random order:
UT Southwestern (6 residents per year): take 6-10 rotators per month during high season. Very hands on rotation, spend a lot of time in the OR/on consults. Program is run so that 2nd and 4th years are partnered up on each service, and the 2 runs most of the service. Pay your dues as a 2 with very heavy hours, so that you can have a little better lifestyle as a senior resident. Definitely trauma heavy at Parkland Hospital, but all subspecialties represented well. New Chair Dr Wukich hired from UPMC last year and has made it his mission to beef up the academics, requiring certain percentile scores on the OITE to moonlight, etc. Residents are very close with one another, especially within each residency class. Very camaraderie-based program, residents have a big say in who gets interviewed. Take back probably 75% of rotators for interviews, and PD Dr. Gill mentioned that they favor Texas applicants, but especially rotators from Texas. Night float system for call. 3rd year rotation lasting 6 months at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Peds, meant to be “mini fellowship.” Research is definitely not a focus of the program overall, but more of a push that way since the new Chair arrived. Option to spend 3 months of 4th year in England acting as a “junior attending,” with housing paid for by the program. Most recent graduates obtaining their 1st or 2nd fellowship choice. One trauma fellow, as well as many fellows on Peds while at TSRH, but very little fellow interference, as this is definitely a resident-first program. Current weaknesses: probably Sports and Hand, with recent turnover in both, but at the interview day, mentioned 2 upcoming hires this year in each subspecialty, so that remains to be seen. BOTTOM LINE: great Texas program with a definite emphasis on operative skill, with Trauma being the big selling point. Probably not the place to choose if you want to churn out research projects, though the opportunities are available if you’re willing to put the work in.
Vanderbilt (5 residents per year): take approximately 10-12 rotators per month during high season. Hard working rotation, be prepared to come early and stay late, especially if you rotate on trauma (the most hands-on for a med student rotator). Changed their away interviewing this past year, now interview all rotators at the end of their away rotation. Pros to this: don’t need to pay to fly back for an interview, program also won’t learn much about you in one day that they couldn’t over the course of a month, and vice versa. Cons: won’t have full CV or Letters of Rec when they interview you, and they also mention that they will not have any contact with you after the away, prior to rank list being finalized, so you will never know exactly where you stand with them. As for the program, very hard-working with a definite academic flair. Didactics for 1 hour every morning, always attending-led, definitely very strong. They pride themselves on their ability to think through complex problems and list of the classifications of everything, as well as their strong basis in basic science. Another benefit of these didactics is the camaraderie built by having the entire residency together 5x/week for an hour. Call is pretty brutal here. One 2nd or 3rd year is in-house with a senior back-up at home, and the resident on call covers the main hospital, Children’s Hospital and VA every night. Even though all three are on the same “campus,” it’s a solid 10 minute jog from one to the next, and often times consults are building up in one while you take care of the other. As a resident, you won’t sleep at all, but will get a post call day. As a rotator, you won’t sleep at all, and you will also be expected to work the whole next day, which can be exhausting, but make sure not to complain or show that you are tired (if possible). Every resident seemed truly excellent, both operatively and academically, and the residents come from all over the country and are not just from Ivy League-type schools. Fellowships of choice seem fairly easy to obtain here because the Vanderbilt name has been well developed, and their graduates perform elsewhere. 2 Fellows on trauma, 1 on hand, one on oncology, not completely sure about other subspecialties, though interference is minimal and many fellows were very helpful to both residents and students with their teaching. Limitations: very few, however work/life balance definitely suffers here secondary to the pride they take in working hard and killing themselves, and the schedule doesn’t get much easier as a senior resident. BOTTOM LINE: excellent program in a hard-working environment with the resources to allow you to obtain whatever you want in the future. Definitely must be willing to work extremely hard to fit in here.
Tulane (3 residents per year): 2-3 rotators per month, with 1-2 home students during high season. Rotation consists of 1 week on 4 different services. The benefits of this being that you get to meet most people in the program, and work with most of the faculty in some capacity. Call is split in the major hospital (UMC) with LSU New Orleans with each program taking every other night of call. Technically every night is home call, though you spend more time at home on nights when you are on call at Tulane vs. nights at UMC which are much busier. The program itself is a bit in flux at this time, moving from 4 residents/year before Katrina, and then went down to 2 before accepting 3/year again. The Chair, Dr Savoie, a big name in the Sports world, particularly with Shoulder and Elbow, is pushing to bring the residency back to 4/year and to stabilize it. He has improved the program greatly since taking over, improving didactics and expects a lot of his residents. Didactics are once a week on Tuesday nights for 4 hours, and are usually split between resident-led vs. attending-led, with some case based presentations from each service. The Trauma service is probably the most hands-on of all of the services, and the PD, Dr. Gladden is well known in the South and mostly only scrubs the complex trauma cases. There is 1 Sports fellow who rotates through from the program at University of Mississippi, but the program does not otherwise have any interference from fellows. Most residents are former Tulane med school graduates, but I was told that they have plans to veer away from that path and are encouraging more rotators each year. With Dr. Savoie’s investment in his residents, and the weight that he holds (particularly in the sports world), recent residents have obtained great fellowships, though it may be harder to obtain them outside of Sports. Weaknesses: the program is still very much in flux, and is still trying to get their rotation schedule optimized. Hand also seems to be a weakness here, with most operative experience being done with private practice surgeons in the city, though they have plans to hire a full time hand faculty member soon. BOTTOM LINE: strong program in the South that is on the rise, with may opportunities available, but still in flux and should improve vastly over the next few years.
Mayo Clinic (12 residents per year): Not a very rotator-heavy program, especially for being one of the biggest names in orthopaedics. Amount of residents who were former rotators varies from class to class, with the most being 6/12 in one current class, while another class has 0/12. They do 1 interview day, invite about 75-80 people with a mix of rotators and non-rotators. Rochester, MN is a small town, with the bulk of the population involved somehow in the Mayo clinic. The program definitely highlights its family-friendly nature with most residents being married, and many with kids. Probably not the program for someone single or preferring a big city, though Minneapolis/St. Paul are only approximately 45 minutes away and have all of the big city amenities. Rochester is also very cold, though there is an elaborate “subway” system which can take you basically anywhere around the Mayo clinic without needing to ever step outside. Beyond the obvious prestige of the Mayo name, this program offers some of the best opportunities available in orthopaedics. The program completely follows a mentorship model, where at every level, the resident is one-on-one with one of the biggest names in each subspecialty. The faculty obviously expects different things from junior vs. senior residents, but you remain one-on-one throughout. This opportunity is unique, and obviously has its benefits. The drawback to this would probably be the lack of uniformity in each resident’s experience, as not every resident will work with every faculty member during their residency. The program is VERY resident-first, with the opportunity to tailor your experience from day one. For example, there are 3 opportunities for 3 month rotations away from Rochester (Shock Trauma in Baltimore, a Sports rotation at Mayo Jacksonville and a Peds Rotation in FL as well). The rotations are all paid for by the program, with housing, transportation, etc. included. There are advisory meetings early on to discuss your future goals, and the PD Dr Turner is very flexible and helpful in tailoring your experience. Fellows are present in virtually every subspecialty, as is the norm at any “big name” program, but with the mentorship model, your only interaction with them is if you want to learn something from them. Many will take you through approaches and dissections on cadavers which are available pretty much on-demand, which is a unique experience. The facilities themselves are world-class, and there are limitless opportunities here. Research, operative experience and academics are about as good as you can get anywhere. The opportunities for research in anything are available, but I didn’t get the sense that it was really forced upon anyone. They also seem to be just as fine with one of their residents going private practice as they are with those going into academics. Weaknesses: not many from what I saw, outside of the obvious: Rochester. If you are single, want a very trauma heavy experience (though the Shock Trauma rotation takes care of that), or want a big-city experience, Mayo may not be for you. BOTTOM LINE: A program considered one of the best in the country for a reason, very strong in every facet with hands-on experience offered because of the true mentorship model.
Wash U (8 residents per year): Kind of an irregular rotator experience with rotators being able to come and go as they please, with rotations anywhere from 1-4 weeks long, and no official curriculum. Because of this, they usually get approximately 45 rotators, who they interview at the end of their rotation, and then another 90 or so on 3 interview dates for their 8 spots. This program is another prestigious one with limitless opportunities and a good combination of operative experience alongside academics and research. I got the feeling that research was a little bit more “encouraged” than other places, and it seemed like everyone here was churning out papers throughout their time. The operative experience is a mix between a mentorship model and a team based environment on some services like trauma, but from what I have seen from graduates of the program, they leave the program with excellent operative skills. You rotate through each service as both a junior resident and a senior, in an effort to perfect your skills in each subspecialty. One draw to the academic side of the program is the “Essential Readings” chosen by Dr. Wright (former PD) and continued by current PD (Dr Klein) which choose a set of important chapters and articles for each level while on their service. This tailors the education portion of the program, allowing for guidance while ensuring academic excellence. The residents seemed close, but not as close as I have seen at other programs, but all seemed happy. There are fellows in most subspecialties, though there isn’t much interaction between residents and fellows. Because of the prestige of the program, the graduates are able to obtain just about any fellowship that they want. There aren’t many weaknesses of the program itself, though some people aren’t thrilled with the prospect of living in St. Louis. The city offers many big city amenities without being too big or spread out, with most places easily reachable within 15 minutes driving. BOTTOM LINE: extremely well regarded program offering a complete academic, operative and research experience with an emphasis on the research side and the opportunity to catapult your career in whatever direction you would like.
NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases (14 residents per year): The biggest residency program in the country now, since adding 2 spots, however, 1-2 of those go directly to an NYU student(s) who graduates early with direct admission into the ortho program. Another 1-2 spots go to research residents, so it is mainly a competition for the other 11 spots. This program is VERY rotator heavy, and I was under the impression during the interview date that all non-rotators were competing for 2-3 spots out of the 11 remaining spots. Most classes are made up of all rotators and home students +/- 1 or 2 residents. The program itself is another one of the powerhouse programs in the country with virtually limitless opportunities for whatever you could want. They are more blue collar/hard working than many of the other “big name” ortho programs, and they seem to enjoy their reputation as a program that will work you to the bone. They definitely push research here, but with the resources available (and the fact that their PD Dr. Egol and Chair Dr Zuckerman wrote the Handbook of Fractures), research is a well-oiled machine and it doesn’t take too much effort to publish. Most of the operative experience is team-based, and there is a lot of resident-resident teaching. The program itself is also very hierarchical, where junior residents have little contact with the attendings, and presentations get passed up the line via seniority. Most of the 1st year consists of floor work, with a lot of the second year consisting of consult coverage, and then most of the operating takes place over the last 3 years, though there are opportunities for some operative experience during the first 2 years. NYU covers the busiest trauma hospitals in NYC and is continuing to expand, so there is plenty of opportunities and uncovered cases that residents can jump in on. One new change (and big plus for the program) is the new institution of moonlighting. Basically, every Saturday that residents work (even if they were already scheduled to be on call that day), they make 75 dollars/hour to operate. Basically you make extra money just for doing what you would do at any other residency program. They also have an orthopaedic urgent care clinic called ICare which can provide senior residents with more moonlighting opportunities, as they can act as covering attendings while the junior residents do all of the work. NYC is expensive, but the salary is about 10 thousand more than most other programs in the country to try to defray the cost. Out-of-towners also get priority for subsidized housing in apartments close to the hospitals for about half the price of an apartment in that area (still about 2000-2500/month for a 1 BR/BA). The residents seem to get along very well and seem to fit the work hard/play hard model, which is something they are definitely looking for in their future residents. BOTTOM LINE: big program with a great reputation and limitless opportunities as long as you like the big city life, like a hierarchical model and are willing to put in a lot of hard work.
University of South Florida/Florida Orthopaedic Institute (4 residents per year): They seem to be a program with a good mix of rotators/non-rotators, with about 4-6 rotators per month during high season. The program is fairly new, ~10 years old, and has a very strong reputation around the country, particularly for their Trauma experience. Their Chair is Dr. Roy Sanders, one of the biggest names in F/A and Trauma, and their PD is Dr. Mir, who was a former Trauma attending at Vanderbilt. They have 3 Trauma fellows/year, but the program is very resident-central and the fellows don’t disturb the overall experience. There is a strong partnership between the academic side of the program and “the industry,” since Dr Sanders is one of the big pioneers in the creation of various prosthesis/biomechanical technology advancement. This allows for a lot of biomechanic research opportunities, as well as some opportunities to learn the business side of orthopaedics. The program seems to offer operative experience early and often and all of the residents seemed more than competent in the OR and from an academics standpoint. The name recognition of the higher-ups in the program allow residents to obtain virtually any fellowship that they desire, particularly in F/A and Trauma. Good mix of married/single residents, and all residents get along very well. Tampa is a great city, expanding quickly, and offers many big city amenities and close proximity to the beach. There is also a budding craft beer scene in Tampa/St Pete, if that is your sort of thing. BOTTOM LINE: strong operative program with research opportunities alongside big names and a good reputation, particularly in the south.
Greenville Health System/University of South Carolina (4 residents per year): One of the best kept secrets in orthopaedics. They take a mix of rotators and non-rotators, and probably have 3-4 rotators each month during the high season. They are affiliated with the Steadman Hawkins clinic, which is one of the most highly regarded Sports Medicine fellowships in the country. They send out a specific survey prior to offering interviews, and choose to offer interviews only to people who have shown some hand-eye coordination abilities in the past, i.e. college sports, instruments, etc. Their PD, Dr. Porter says that he places a preference on hand-eye coordination and personality over test scores because he “is here to make good surgeons, and you can’t teach someone hand-eye coordination.” He also enjoys the fact that his program is largely a secret outside the southeast, as he would rather attract a “certain type of resident.” The interview day is one of the most unique in the country, with 7-8 unstructured interviews with various faculty members, all completely untimed and lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. They really want a certain type of person here, and they want to take the time to have their best fit residents. For this reason, they offer about 5 interview dates, with each date consisting of 7-9 interviewees. They match very well into fellowships, and have a great reputation at their fellowships due to very strong operative skill. This is probably not the place for you if you want to churn out research or become a big academic physician, but they do offer research opportunities like any other program. They easily surpass the case-log average for the country and place a great emphasis on operative experience and skill. Great experience in both Sports (Steadman Hawkins and Blue Ridge (Clemson sports)) and Peds (Shriner’s). They are one of the few programs that I have never heard anyone talk bad about, and their reputation is very strong across the southeast. Greenville as a city is another well-kept secret with close proximity to Asheville, NC (big craft beer mecca) and not far from Charleston. It is a young city with a fun downtown area and semi-pro sports teams, and is very affordable. BOTTOM LINE: lesser known program with a great reputation among those who know about it, (i.e. fellowship programs), offering a great operative residency experience in an up-and-coming city.
JPS (4 residents per year): A program with a good mix of rotators and non-rotators, with a slight lean towards rotators (like most programs). Mostly Texans with a few out of state residents. Definitely an moperative-heavy program, with less of an emphasis on research. The strengths of the program at this time are probably Joints and Trauma. PD Dr. Wagner is a big resident advocate, and has continued to drive the program forward and emphasize the academic side to compliment the strong operative experience. Dr. Wagner also has a strong reputation in the Ortho world, and has helped his residents obtain very high quality fellowships. The residents are all very close to one another, and there is a good mix of married and single residents. The program has a reputation for being a bit of a cowboy residency, where residents are in the OR with little guidance, but I was told by most interviewers and residents that the cowboy perception is a bit outdated and doesn’t reflect the current situation of the program. Fort Worth is a great city, combining some big city amenities with affordability, as well as close proximity to Dallas. BOTTOM LINE: strong operative program in DFW with an emphasis on camaraderie and operative skill.
10. Baylor Scott & White/Texas A&M (4 residents per year): Relatively rotator heavy residency program, mostly Texans. Heavy emphasis on operative skill over research/academics, though there have been some recent hires to increase research output. Strong Joints program, as well as strong Peds with young attending turning down a job at Rady Children’s to stay in Temple. Very nice facilities with a separate building for Ortho stuff, complete with outpatient surgical center and clinic. Residents are all close with one another, many are married with kids. Temple is a very small town, but close to Austin and not far from Waco, about 3ish hours south of Dallas. Temple is extremely affordable and most residents own their own house, and all houses are within 15 minutes of the hospital. Via conversations with rotators, residents are very skilled operatively. Definitely a team-first mentality, and like most places, front loads the bulk of the work with a very tough 2nd year. BOTTOM LINE: operative-heavy program in a small town Texas environment.
Others: Baylor Dallas, UNM, Boston University
Unable to interview due to scheduling conflicts: UC Irvine, Loma Linda, Texas Tech (Lubbock and El Paso), Baylor Houston, Allegheny, Oklahoma, UT Austin, UTMB, LSU New Orleans
None. Would have been happy at any of them.
Matched at: Here's where the crazy story comes in: NONE (at first).
I was absolutely floored to find out that I did not match on Monday of match week. I had received good feedback on all of my aways, and interview season had gone well, I certainly did not expect to be in that position. That being said, I was all set to start applying for research vs. prelim vs. extending my 4th year. By the grace of God, there was one ortho spot in the SOAP this year, and I managed to scramble into that, and I'm absolutely pumped to start.
Advice for future applicants:
I have a few regrets in how I approached the process:
First, I didn't play the game and tried to let the match work itself out. By that, I mean that I that I did the typical thank you notes and made sure to express great interest during my interviews, but did not tell any program that they were my number one. My actual number one didn't want post interview contact, and I thought that it would be disingenuous to tell even my 2 or 3 that they were my number one, in case I matched at my one. I neglected to tell them anything like, "I'm ranking them very highly" because I thought that they would see through that. My goal was not to burn future bridges, which I completely regret. My advice: Really pinpoint a few programs that are high on your list and absolutely inundate them with your interest. Of course don't annoy them, but really make sure that they know that you want to be there and there more than anywhere else. After getting some feedback from some residents that I became close with during aways, most mentioned that the guys that matched at their program went that route, and they told me that while I was very much in the ballpark of their ranked to match spots, that they felt like not telling the PD that they were my number 1 may have affected my chances. Whether or not that is true, I'm not sure, but that was the feedback that I received. When the one Ortho spot became available in the SOAP, I played the game harder than I ever thought I could. As soon as the PD had contacted me to tell me I was in the running for the spot, I emailed him, I emailed my chair to email him, I texted my dean to email him, I called his secretary multiple times to express interest, and that finally got me the spot. So I say play the game, and play it hard.
Secondly, I skipped some interviews due to scheduling conflicts with the night before dinners, and while I think that is a great idea in theory, it didn't work for me. It allowed me to get to know the program and see how the residents interact, but I just don't think it has all that much bearing on rank lists. I had a great time with many of the residents during those socials, ended up in some deep conversations with some attendings, and still found out that Monday that I didn't match. Maybe the better advice is just to play the statistics.
Third, HAVE SOMEONE GO TO BAT FOR YOU. I am unfortunate that I come from a little known program and we don't have a lot of support from our Ortho department. Nobody knew my chair when asked during interviews, and even though some of our applicants had good relationships with him, I don't think that he went out of his way to help us during interview season, and wrote everyone generic LOR because he is so busy. I think that it is imperative to have someone who can put in a call for you and vouch for you as there are so many good ortho applicants and I know of quite a few this year that didn't match with similar stats to me. I genuinely think that the name of your school matters, and while I was able to obtain quite a few "Big Name" interviews, I'm sure on paper and even in the interview I looked similar to a few "Ivy League-type" applicants, so why would they choose a guy from a small school over that?
4th, Be prepared for absolutely anything to happen. I got ample interviews, interviews in all "tiers" of prestige, and still got nothing. Again, I can't say for sure what happened, just that I got feedback from some residents and attendings from my aways and interviews, and they were as surprised as I was to find me in my position last week. I got the typical, "you were definitely in the running for our spots, we really liked having you, and you must have just been the unlucky person who fell through the cracks this year. Must have just been the person who was one spot too low on everyone's rank list." For me, I think it was a fantastic group of applicants this year, and there was a ton of competition. I met some amazing people on the trail this year during aways and interviews, and I think all will make great Orthopods. I think that you can check every single box out there, have no red flags, be a normal guy that gets along with almost everyone and still not match. I know that to be true because I know of a few instances of it. All I can offer to future applicants is: check all of those boxes, work your absolute hardest, and hope for the best. If you genuinely want to be an orthopaedic surgeon, you can make it happen.
I hope this helps anyone who is applying next year or in the future, and I am definitely available for more info if anyone wants to PM me.
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