Review Detail

by John Langland     August 12, 2007    
Overall rating 
Staff Surgeons 
Operating Experience 
Clinical Experience 
Overall Experience 

St. Mary's Resident Review

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
I am writing this from the perspective of a resident in the program as a much needed update to the review written in 2007. The faculty have changed some since the last review. Overall the program faculty are very focused on resident education, and care greatly about our surgical skills, knowledge base, research and fellowship prospects. All major subspecialties of orthopedics are represented in the program with a new tumor and foot and ankle attending increasing their practice volumes. Some attendings are better than others to work with as it goes in all programs. But on average our program faculty want us to operate as independently as possible based on our preparedness and level of training. Dr. McGann has done a very good job raising the level of competitiveness of the program to match the other Bay Area ortho residencies.
Didactics / Teaching
Didactics still occur on Tuesday mornings and run on a two year rotation so we will hear lectures on the same topic twice in residency to cover all the material tested on OITE and ABOS. This is protected time from nearly all clinical responsibilities other than answering a page or two. Teaching occurs elsewhere, in the OR and clinic, in not as structured of fashion There are weekly case conferences at Kaiser, Highland, and CHO which takes place at UCSF. The Shriner's rotation has nearly daily conferences.
Operating Experience
The operating experience is great. The residents come out with solid case numbers of cases they actually were the primary surgeon in. We all feel quite comfortable after 5 years to work as generalists although we nearly all do fellowship. Trauma and total joints are well represented in our residency as well as Pediatrics. Overall our program's residents are known as having some of the best surgical skills in the Bay Area.
Clinic Experience
There is certainly sufficient clinic experience with specific resident clinics at Highland, Kaiser and St. Mary's and attending clinics at all other sites. It's a good place for teaching and relatively decent continuity for pre and post op patients.
Research Opportunities
Research at St. Mary's has gotten infinitely better over the past 6 or 7 years. The Taylor lab at St. Mary's offers a setting to run nearly any biomechanics or cadaver study one could imagine and the staff are dedicated to resident research. Residents are publishing well, and the faculty support is very good and it shows in our fellowship matches.
It's become a great group to work with. We share home call responsibilities together and we support each other with family obligations as well as clinical obligations. There is a very supportive environment and I've been impressed with how well we avoid the hierarchical down-talking that occurs in some of the bigger programs nearby.
We take a lot of home call. A lot of times you are at home on call, sometimes you are not and everywhere except Kaiser you have to work the whole next day. There are exceptions to this if you are literally in the hospital all night. It works out to about 8 calls a month on average and this changes little through years 2-5. Most of us live in San Fran though as it's gotten uber expensive in the city, more of us are choosing to live in the east bay as that is where we spend about 8 months a year and helps when we get called in at night, so we have to cross the bridge less. The attendings and residents respect our lifestyle, it is not a place where rounds start at 5 am just because.
Location / Housing
The SF bay area has everything a huge city has plus it's pretty and it's not too hard to get outdoors (i.e. Marin headlands, the Beach although cold and foggy often) Tahoe isn't as close as everybody acts like but its not too hard to go for a weekend. The weather is very pleasant, 60's in January, 60's in July. You just have to be Ok with fog. Housing is about as expensive as it gets and the resident salaries aren't really different from those anywhere else in the country. Though the program does pay for conferences and some other small expenses related to commuting.
Lacks the name of an academic center. The program is small so there is no hiding. The pay could be better. Lots of bay area commuting and traffic isn't good here.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Fantastic program that offers a great surgical experience, with high yield operative cases for being a community orthopedist. The residents are the highlight and home call although frequent allows the residents to maintain a good lifestyle and the bay area has basically every activity one can think of. I certainly would choose to come back here over any other program if I had to go back and do the match again.


I am a current resident of this program.
Date of Rotation
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