Review Detail

by John Langland     August 12, 2007    
(Updated: October 23, 2007)
Overall rating 
Staff Surgeons 
Operating Experience 
Clinical Experience 
Overall Experience 

UCSF Residency Review

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Faculty are terrific. Many solid names including Reis, Hu, Bozic, and Cannon, and most are enthusiastic about teaching. Safran recently stepped down as Chief of Sports (went to Stanford), which was a rather hefty blow to the department. Dr. Vail is the new Chair and has been there since January of this year, coming from Duke. He is very dedicated to improving the program. He attends resident rounds every Monday morning and actively participates with the residency program. He told me about plans to build a new Ortho only surgery center that should break ground very soon. He spent quite a bit of time talking with me outside of the OR regarding residency and personal talk as well. I was very impressed with him and his vision for the program.
Didactics / Teaching
Didactics are the best I have seen. Residents and some attendings meet every morning for patient presentations as well as one or two teaching presentations by residents. There are several other attending taught teaching sessions throughout the week as well. A big emphasis is placed on teaching and all residents participate. Senior residents lead the discussions, ask important questions and offer more detailed information if necessary. Top quality!!! Warning: if you don't like to teach and give oral presentations, this may not be the program for you. Residents are expected to give high quality talks often.
Operating Experience
Operating experience is one of the best things at this program. Residents get to do so much, especially when rotating at SF General hospital. There, the residents basically run the show and it is typically a second year operating, a chief scrubbed in to assist, and an attending in the room to supervise. At Parnassus and Mount Zion, attendings are scrubbed in and leading the procedures, but residents do quite a bit of the operating.
Clinic Experience
Clinical experience is pretty darn good. You will see a wide variety of patients and get plenty of hands on experience. A lot of teaching takes place in clinic too.
Research Opportunities
What can I say? It is UCSF and the research is world class. All the opportunities are there for basic science and/or clinical research and it is strongly encouraged. Faculty have a strong desire to publish and will love you if you feel the same.
Residents are top quality. First years don't see too much Ortho, but work hard in other surgical departments. Second and third years are pretty wiped out and these two years are definitely the toughest of the five. Junior and senior residents are very bright and actively participate in teaching the other residents. I really enjoyed my interactions with almost all of the residents.
Lifestyle is not so great for several reasons. First, you work extremely hard when you are at this program. You will get a ton of great experience, but you will definitely pay the price. Second, you are rotating a lot between several different facilities that are spread throughout the city and transportation can be tough. Driving your own car is a pain because of city traffic and parking (parking is aweful and can be very expensive). Public transportation is good (Muni lines are great and pretty cheap if you buy monthly passes), but most Muni lines don't run early in the morning and I often found myself walking at 4:45AM for about 20 minutes in the cold and fog to get to the hospital to round on my patients. There are free shuttles that run between Parnassus and Mount Zion and these help a lot if you don't need to be there too early. SF living can be pretty tough as a surgical resident.
Location / Housing
Location depends on whether or not you like congested city living. It was fun for me at first, but it quickly grew a little tiresome. Housing is pretty pricy and you will find yourself paying a lot of money for a tiny little space close to the hospitals, or paying less money and having to drive quite a bit further and then deal with parking. Along with expensive housing, you will also pay a lot for gas, groceries, restaurants, etc... SF is a wonderful city with a lot to do when you do find yourself with time off and there are many great places to visit that are not too far away (Napa, Santa Cruz, Tahoe, Yosemite, etc...) Guess it really depends on what you are looking for personally.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Overall, the experience was extremely good. The surgeons, residents, teaching and operating experience offered about as much as one could possible expect to get out of a high quality program. The flip side is the amount of work that will be expected of you, the high cost of living, and possibly the nuisance of living in a big, crowded city if that is not your thing.


I rotated as a medical student at this program
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