University of Southern California

University of Southern California

John Langland  
9.5 (1)
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Los Angeles

Program Information

Residents per class
University of Southern California Orthopedic Residency Program, Los Angeles, CA

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Mucho divertido y trabajo

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
(Disclaimer: I did a month long rotation here and matched at USC a couple weeks ago, so I’m probably even more biased now than I was a couple weeks ago)
All of the faculty that I interacted with were top-notch. I'm not that guy that knows the names of "big-name" orthopedic surgeons so I can't tell you that USC has this or that big-name, but the quality that I witnessed at USC was amazing. More importantly the majority of the attendings were really cool to work with. There was the odd attending here and there that wasn't approachable (which I would say is typical), but I was really happy with the rapport I developed with the attendings I worked with. I will say that the faculty expects ALOT from their residents so residents are often "quizzed" on their knowledge.

People always have mixed feelings about residency program Chairmen, but what is undeniable about this chairman is that he really cares about this program and he works tirelessly to increase the reputation of this already amazing program. All sub-I's work a couple days with him and I honestly had a great time working with him. He really expects a lot from his residents and can be tough on them. Coming from a med school where the ortho chairman is very laissez-faire, this is a very nice change. The other two program directors are fairly similar, although one in particular is especially cool to work with and a really approachable guy.
Didactics / Teaching
I know most people don't really care about the didactics/teaching of a program, but when you come from a program with shoddy didactics and during your aways the didactics are sub-par, it's refreshing to be at a program that has great teaching from its faculty. During sub-I we witnessed a few lectures and they were teaching to the OITE and nobody was safe. The PD and attendings called on all years to answer questions and there seemed to be a good camaraderie between the faculty and residents even if people didn't like getting called out. Only UW had comparable didactics.
Operating Experience
I think most people will say this is the best part of the program. You work in a county hospital and the residents are given an almost ridiculous amount of autonomy. Chiefs were working through the night acting as the attending on cases. Even 2's are given a decent amount of OR experience on their trauma rotation, but they're mainly on the floors getting wrecked. This is called the wild wild west for a reason. Some may not like it cause they don't think residents get enough structured oversight but Attendings were always in the general vicinity giving great instruction.
Clinic Experience
Personally, this was my favorite part as a sub-I. My first day was clinic day on trauma and I showed up, was given a quick intro and then was assigned my own room with my name on the board and patients were sent in for me to get a history, do a brief physical, and then write a brief note to present to the chief or 4. This was unreal for me, I never was given this much autonomy and it was amazing. The title of this review is in spanish because you should really know some spanish or prep yourself to learn spanish if you come here. The vast majority of the patients were spanish speaking since you're in downtown LA working in a county hospital.
Research Opportunities
I've heard from other med students that went to USC that there are a diverse range of opportunities for research. I wasn't exposed to it but I hear the faculty is pushing for more research and that the research is fairly high quality. I believe one resident per year can do a research year but I'm not 100% certain.

Most important thing to me looking at residency programs was the personality of the residents and the residents were def the best quality USC has. I was lucky enough to work with a great group of guys that were really supportive and a fun to work with. The residents work extremely hard in this program, and although it’s a big program and not everyone is close, everyone seems to have each other’s back. Very smart group of residents that get their work done and know how to have a good time and shoot the shit.
Probably the toughest part of this program. As a sub-I I worked extremely hard running around the ED to the point my toes were bleeding (don’t wear clogs on this rotation except on your two-weeks at keck), but of course the residents were always working harder. This is not a "cush" program at all. I think the only “easier” year the residents told me about was 4th year. One of the chiefs told me when he joined USC was known as a “work hard, play hard” program, but now it’s mostly “work hard, work hard” haha.
Location / Housing
You get to live in sunny California, in a great city like LA. You’re not in the nicest part of LA but downtown LA is still a very cool place to be. Downtown LA has a really cool cultural center close by with a little Tokyo, Chinatown and a Hispanic cultural center. If you’re thinking Beverly hills/California beaches, you’re in the wrong part of town. That being said if you don’t mind braving the traffic you’re only about 30 minutes to 1.5 hours away from West LA. I’m looking for apartments now but there seem to be a good variety of places to live with a good range of prices and commute time.
Limitations I’ve heard about are that 1st and 2nd year you don’t get that much OR experience (I could be wrong but I never saw a 1 operating, which I did see at my home institution and a couple other places, and 2’s only operated on “OR day” during trauma). I only saw a small sub-section of the rotations so this could be different for other rotations at USC. Plus this is obviously made up by the ridiculous amount of operating you do 3rd year and above. Some may see how hard you work as a limitation. When I was at UCLA for a sub-I a resident there said she chose UCLA cause she would rather have an easier 5 years and still get into a good fellowship. If you’ve got that weak-ass mentality then USC isn’t for you lol. If you’re a research focused person this isn’t as academic focused as a UCLA or UCSD but the PD seems to take research very seriously at USC.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
During this sub-I you spend two weeks at county for trauma, and two weeks at keck for specialty in either sports med, oncology, or joints. My impression after a month of sub-I at USC was that after graduating from this program you’re going to be a boss Orthopedic surgeon. The training here from my perspective was amazing, and to top it all off the people were amazing. I was dead tired at the end of each day/overnight call but I felt like a champ. I felt like I had actually been an integral part of the team and helped make my residents lives a bit easier. After earning their trust they let you do so much. I had so much fun that month and learned a lot, which is why I ranked this program #1. If you want to be at one of the top orthopedic programs in the country, with amazing faculty, a fun and talented group of residents, and don’t mind working harder than you thought possible, this is the ideal program. Also you will be BILINGUAL before you graduate from this program! Se habla espanol homies

I rotated at 4 programs and they were also very good programs (UCLA, University of Washington in Seattle to name a couple) and I really enjoyed my time at those programs, but USC was unique for the reasons above. You should really rotate here even if just to see what a real trauma program is like.


I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
June/August 2017
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9.5 (1)
Category: California
University of Southern California Orthopedic Residency Program, Los Angeles, CA
Mucho divertido y trabajo (Written by Jabroni91, April 05, 2017)

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