University of California (San Diego)

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Overall rating
 
9.8
Staff Surgeons
 
10.0(6)
Didactics/Teaching
 
9.5(6)
Operating Experience
 
9.3(6)
Clinical Experience
 
9.8(6)
Research
 
9.5(6)
Residents
 
10.0(6)
Lifestyle
 
10.0(6)
Location
 
10.0(6)
Overall Experience
 
9.7(6)
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UCSD: single best decision of my life
Overall rating
 
9.9
Staff Surgeons
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching
 
10.0
Operating Experience
 
10.0
Clinical Experience
 
10.0
Research
 
9.0
Residents
 
10.0
Lifestyle
 
10.0
Location
 
10.0
Overall Experience
 
10.0

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
- New chair Dr. Bukata immediately started making power moves with progressive and creative solutions
- New PD Dr. Meunier took over where Dr. Schwartz left off, and she still is very involved in advocating for residents in non-official capacity
- Powerful mentorship and relationships that will push you to reach your potential
- Faculty care deeply about resident education and reps
Didactics / Teaching
- Daily bone board with option to Zoom in for people not on Trauma rotation
- Biweekly grand rounds from leaders in the field
- Biweekly rotation-specific conferences that are typically case-based or mini journal club
- Weekly faculty-led teaching
- Weekly resident-led teaching
- 2-3 months per year of awesome faculty-led cadaveric dissections
- Monthly journal club at a faculty member's house in each subspecialty--you should see the rowdy Holiday-themed one! I got a Moira Rose ugly Christmas sweater for my White Elephant gift two years ago
- Semiannual visiting professor with dinners and an event. Recent excursions include deep sea fishing, Padres game, and the San Diego Zoo
- Quarterly wellness day--instead of didactics, we go to UCSD fields or the beach and play football, soccer, kickball, wiffle ball, beach volleyball, spike ball, etc.
- Monthly industry-sponsored catered educational events such as saw bones, cadaver labs, etc.
Operating Experience
- This is where the rubber meets the road. I feel completely confident doing most basic orthopedic cases on my own because faculty, fellows, and senior residents trained me in the OR
- Tons of juicy cases in every rotation
- Broad range of cases from simple to extremely complex and multi-disciplinary
- Rare for double or triple coverage
- Operate early and often
Clinic Experience
- Ample exposure (2-3 days/week on average) to clinical evaluation and treatment
- Faculty very willing to explain their thought process for any given clinical situation
- Excellent role models to think and talk through tough clinical scenarios with patients
- Enough help from APPs to allow for efficient and chill work environment
Research Opportunities
- One research resident per year chosen through separate match (between first and second years)
- Abundant opportunities for clinical research with several well-published attendings in each subspecialty
- Rady is a research powerhouse with support at every level of the process--applicable to Peds, Sports, Trauma, and really any fellowship that appreciates solid research
- Travel, lodging, and registration for conference presentations is reimbursed
- All chiefs go to Academy
Residents
- My co-residents are the primary reason I chose to come here, and I was 100% correct
- Residency is difficult so it is vital to be surrounded by people who understand what you're going through in good and tough times
- Foster a learning environment in which I can grow my knowledge and skills without worrying about how others judge me
- Always down to bounce patients and problems off one another or just to grab a beer
- Senior residents make an effort to teach junior residents and med studs throughout the day and optimize learning and inclusion
Lifestyle
- Great balance between time-intensive (80 hours per week) and more relaxed rotations
- Junior 24-hour call is an average of 1.5 times per week and 1-2 weekends per month and senior home call once per week and 1 weekend per 2 months
- Post-call days during junior call are protected and CLUTCH
- Home for dinner most nights
Location / Housing
- Incredible restaurants, breweries, bars, speakeasies, night clubs
- Something for everyone--I live in a Little Italy apartment with my fiance and large dog while other residents live in a condo by the beach in PB or a house with large backyard in Encinitas
- Surf or SUP in the morning before clinic
- Skiing/snowboarding at Big Bear is 2 hours away
- Accessible hiking, running, and biking trails in the canyons throughout the city
- San Diego is a spectacular city with a melting pot of cultural influences
--Naval base on Coronado
--Little Italy
--Convoy (East and Southeast Asian culinary paradise)
--large Vietnamese and Filipino population
--Wanna go salsa dancing, watch a true futbol game, or spend a day at the wineries in a foreign country? Mexico is 10 minutes South.
Limitations
- Not much to complain about
- If anything, research structure at UCSD is lacking a bit compared to peer programs. Also we're trying to figure out where to put a dedicated research block since the research year went away for most. But Rady more than makes up for that with amazing research structure and support.
- Change in leadership has brought on some anxiety about future direction. But I'm very confident in the future of the program.
- Faculty are mainly UCSD Ortho graduates. But that has not limited anyone's fellowship match--everyone gets their top 1 or 2 picks!
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
This is an incredible work hard/play hard program with unreal caring faculty and tight-knit group of residents that will prepare you exceedingly well for fellowship in any specialty as well as to take call as a general orthopaedist. San Diego speaks for itself. We love fun-loving people. Come out for the interview and see for yourself!

Qualification

I am a current resident of this program.
Date of Rotation
6/2018-current
CP
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UCSD Residency Orthopaedic Surgery
Overall rating
 
9.5
Staff Surgeons
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching
 
9.0
Operating Experience
 
9.0
Clinical Experience
 
9.0
Research
 
9.0
Residents
 
10.0
Lifestyle
 
10.0
Location
 
10.0
Overall Experience
 
9.0

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Definitely a divergence from East coast mentality with regards to staff. Attendings are approachable, open to academic discussion, and generally pleasant.
Didactics / Teaching
There is 2 hours of weekly attending lead didactics followed by 1 hour of resident education. This is helpful but does not significantly detract from the operative experience.
Operating Experience
Operative experience is solid. As with any residency, participation in cases is dependent upon individual resident preparation and confidence. At other programs, I witnessed a substantial portion of cases that would be either attending as a primary surgeon performing the surgery or attending not in room and senior resident/fellow leading the case.
Something I saw frequently at UCSD was the resident serving as primary surgeon, with attendings assisting and watching.
I recognize the value of having autonomy in the OR, however, I think that residency is an opportunity to improve efficiency, develop operative skills and appreciate nuances of cases from people who have done that case 100s-1000s of times. I think that the model at UCSD allows for this to occur in a situation that provides good surgical outcomes for patients.
Clinic Experience
Clinical experience is great. You will see patients in some clinics independently and other attendings prefer to see all of their patients. Clinical sites use epic except for the VA (CPRS).
Research Opportunities
There is ample research opportunity at UCSD as there is an integrated research year. Those who are non-research residents need to accumulate research throughout their training.
Residents
A large draw of this program is the resident culture. Residents get along well and there is substantial camaraderie outside of the workplace. Journal clubs are an engaging and fun experience.
Lifestyle
Adherence to work hour restrictions and value of lifestyle shared among staff allows for one to enjoy beautiful San Diego while in residency here.
Location / Housing
Personally, I do not think there is a more favorable place in the country with regards to location. Unfortunately, housing is not cheap in San Diego. It is still a place where one can find a reasonable place to live while here.
Limitations
This is a great program. It potentially doesn't boast the autonomous experience in the OR that other programs may, but as I said above, I think this is a benefit of the program; others may feel differently. If you want to be doing a TKA as a PGY2 with no supervision, it probably is not the place for you. Let me know where you go to residency so I can make sure my grandma doesn't get her tibia cut in 6 degrees of varus.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
This is a great program as outlined above. I believe that most residencies offer the opportunities to develop great surgical skills and orthopedic knowledge, complete influential research, and obtain the fellowship of your dreams, if you are willing to put in the work. That being said, the people at this program (staff and residents), as well as the location, make it one of the most desirable places to be and a pleasure to go to work. You will work long and hard hours in residency, you should appreciate the people you are working with and enjoy the free hours that you do have.

Qualification

I am a current resident of this program.
Date of Rotation
2019-2004
MH
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Best Choice ever made
Overall rating
 
9.8
Staff Surgeons
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching
 
9.0
Operating Experience
 
10.0
Clinical Experience
 
10.0
Research
 
9.0
Residents
 
10.0
Lifestyle
 
10.0
Location
 
10.0
Overall Experience
 
10.0

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
All staff are dedicated to teaching. Dr. Schwartz is an amazing traumatologist and you will get a great experience on her service. I am going into arthroplasty and feel that there is an incredible wealth of experience with our 3 attendings.

Dr. Bukata is our chair, previously at UCLA. She is very approachable and a strong leader for the department.
Didactics / Teaching
Blocked dedicated grand rounds and teaching every Wednesday from 7 - 1130. This is a huge strength of the program to be able to learn together every week. Faculty lectures and a cadaver lab are a part of this.
Operating Experience
Top tier. 3-4 OR days a week on most services. Plenty of cases and every single subspecialty is well represented.
Clinic Experience
Similar to everywhere else I imagine. Medical staff help keep it on time.
Research Opportunities
Numerous opportunities at Rady, and with the MSK research group next door. Everything from basic science, translational, epidemiology and in between.
Residents
ONe of the strengths. Great culture here and camaraderie. They look after each other.
Lifestyle
Very well balanced. Residents work very hard, but still have social lives.
Location / Housing
Its in San Diego. I can't imagine another program that can even come close. It is the best place to train.
Limitations
Still looking
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
One of the best choices of my life was to come here to train. Cant imagine a better experience.

Qualification

I am a current resident of this program.
Date of Rotation
n/a
PG
Top 500 Reviewer
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Rotator review
(Updated: April 14, 2017)

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Agree with previous. Great faculty and staff who are all willing to teach. In particular their PD Schwartz is fantastic.
Didactics / Teaching
Agree with previous. Protected didactics every Wednesday morning.
Operating Experience
Strong operative experience, plenty of cases to go around, but in my opinion not as much autonomy given to residents in the OR like I saw at some of the more "blue collar" programs.
They only have 4 fellows- hand, trauma, spine, joints. It didn't seem like any of the fellowships had a negative impact on the resident experience.
Clinic Experience
Clinic is clinic. They have Epic here.
Research Opportunities
Agree with previous. Tons of research. 6 year program, everyone does a research year here.
Residents
Agree with previous. Great group of guys and gals, all very happy with their training at ucsd.
Lifestyle
"Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means ‘a whale’s vagina'."
Agree with previous. San Diego. 10/10.
Location / Housing
Agree with previous. San Diego. 10/10.
Limitations
None really. Some of the residents mentioned that the program was weak in tumor, I didn’t rotate on tumor so I can’t really comment.

Edit: forgot to mention that they have two primary sites: La Jolla(Perlman hospital, ucsd med school, and the SD VA) and Hillcrest(their level I trauma center). Hillcrest and La Jolla are about 13 miles apart and the drive can be a pain when you have to rotate in La Jolla and then drive to Hillcrest to take trauma call(drive took about 45minutes for me at 5pm on a weekday). Not a big drawback for me, You'll have to do some driving at most programs.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Great program, great residents, unbeatable location. 6 year mandatory research track may be a drawback for some.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
2016
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Come visit UCSD Orthopaedic Surgery!
(Updated: January 27, 2015)
Overall rating
 
9.9
Staff Surgeons
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching
 
10.0
Operating Experience
 
9.0
Clinical Experience
 
10.0
Research
 
10.0
Residents
 
10.0
Lifestyle
 
10.0
Location
 
10.0
Overall Experience
 
10.0
I am a current PGY-2. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about our program.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxW2M0SDsvE

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
As with the culture of San Diego, our faculty/staff are incredibly friendly and approachable. They routinely host events from various journal clubs to resident vs attending sporting events and socials. This is an environment that, for my personality and learning style, is conducive to learning and asking questions. They are across the board driven to teach and make the residents well rounded and successful orthopaedic surgeons. Dr Schwartz (our program director) alone would be reason enough to come to this program. I could write an entire review just on how much she does for the program, but suffice it to say that her dedication to the residents and responsiveness to our needs is unbelievable...literally, I don't understand how she is so amazing. I did not realize how important it is to have a program director that is always in your corner when I originally applied to residency.

We also recently became the team doctors for the San Diego Chargers. Go Bolts!
Didactics / Teaching
Wed 7:30-noon protected didactics time.
Monthly journal clubs hosted by a faculty in that specialty.
Quarterly ortho basics lecture series and sawbones labs for the first 2 years.
Trauma, hand, spine, childrens, and VA with independent weekly didactics.

Our organized didactics are very helpful, led by faculty that want to teach. Again, the culture of our residency program allows for a fantastic learning environment. Part of our wednesday didactics is 2 hours of faculty led lectures, which is combined with the Balboa Navy program, allowing us to leverage the expertise and diverse experiences of orthopaedic programs at two very different medical systems.

Beyond organized didactics, there is plenty of additional teaching by faculty and residents. Our research year class weekly "knowledge bomb" sessions where we are reading a textbook cover to cover and meet to discuss the content for the week and answer questions.
Operating Experience
On the scale between the high volume county programs with almost exclusively resident taught operating experience to the very academic hands off faculty led operating experience, UCSD falls somewhere in the happy medium between the two. An important thing I considered when applying to residency programs was to go somewhere with a strong hands-on operating experience, but also still have faculty involvement so I could learn from the expert faculty to I came to train with. Our volume is consistently high across all specialties and residents have no problems with filling their case logs.
Clinic Experience
Our hospital systems are very diverse: Hillcrest as our county experience, the UCSD VA hospital, Rady's children's hospital, and Thornton with it's high percentage of private patients. This leads to a diverse patient population, allowing us as residents to see great variety of patients and presentations.
Research Opportunities
Our dedicated research year really makes this a strong point of our program. Our musculoskeletal research department consistently publishes a high volume of primary research articles into high impact journals. Residents routinely come out of this year with multiple first author papers and most residents continue clinical research throughout their residency. In addition to being a very productive research year, we have the time to study and learn orthopaedics, as well as take a breath and get paid to enjoy the greatest city on earth (2004, Burgundy).
Residents
Laid back, fun, always willing to help out. Let's be honest, this is part of the reason we went into orthopaedics. The residents and the culture are another big strong point of our program. We regularly hang out with our fellow residents outside of the hospital so when it is time to go to work, you get to come to work with your friends. I'm obviously biased so like Orrin said 3 years ago, come hang out with us and decide for yourselves.
Lifestyle
To re-iterate what I've been saying above, the culture of our program is very relaxed, making it fun to come to work and easy to learn. We are a hardworking group of individuals still have time to enjoy ourselves.
Location / Housing
"San Diego - drink it in, it always goes down smooth. It's a fact, it's the greatest city in the history of mankind." - Ron Burgundy, 2004, Anchorman

Sunny, beautiful, and warm. Just cause it's January doesn't mean you can't have a beach day.

San Diego has a lot of little communities that are very unique. For example, downtown and the gaslamp have a lot of nice restaurants, bars, classy lounges, and nightclubs. Pacific beach and ocean beach has some awesome dive bars while hillcrest and North Park have a lot of gastropubs and unique restaurants. I think there is something for everyone here, from our gorgeous beaches to the mountains in East San Diego and from the surf culture of PB to the sophistication of La Jolla.

A short list of what I can think of: World class Torrey Pines golf course ($40 San Diego resident greens fees), amazing beaches, surfing, ski/snow resorts < 2hrs away, hiking, camping, mountain biking, San Diego opera and playhouse, the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, Sea World, Balboa park museums
Limitations
None! This is a factor of our incredibly responsive faculty and staff that immediately addresses any problem we bring to them. If you are from the east coast you may say lack of seasons...I don't think thats a real thing though. Summer and mild summer.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
I love every day I'm at work. That sounds impossible, but it's true. I get to do what I love and do it while hanging out with my friends. When I'm not at work, this city makes having fun REALLY easy. Come visit and see for yourself.

Qualification

I am a current resident of this program.
Date of Rotation
2013-2019
TC
Top 500 Reviewer
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