Review Detail

9.1 5 10
Massachusetts August 20, 2007 16536
Excellent Overall Training with a Good Mix of Oper
(Updated: January 01, 2012)
Overall rating
Staff Surgeons
Operating Experience
Clinical Experience
Overall Experience

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
We have a very good group of attendings with mixed personalities. They will teach and let you do the cases in the OR. Some are better than others, but that is in every program. We are on a first name basis with about half of the attendings. Everyone is benign in the OR and pimping is done in a non malignant way. Our chairman is very supportive to the residents esp in research. We have periodic meeting with our program director to go over all the issues in the residency and he listens to us. Things have changed because of these meetings. Majority of the attendings are very approachable and easy to work with.
Didactics / Teaching
We have conference every morning from 6:30am to about 7:30am. Our primary conference is on Friday morning from 6:30am to 9:30am and it is organized by the attendings by topics. Also once per month, we have journal club at the end of the month. Weds morning is our Grand Rounds from 7am to 8am. At the University campus, Mondays are trauma conference to review all the films from the weekend, Tuesdays and Thursdays are Pedi/OITE/senior resident organized conferences. At the Memorial campus, Mondays are indications conference for Joints or Spine, Tues are Spine/Pedi/Joint/Foot and ankle related conferences. Overall our didactics are very good and organized by either attendings and/or senior residents.<br />
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Operating Experience
This is one of the biggest plus of our program. We operate alot and very earily on in our training. When you are rotating as an intern for 3 months at the Memorial campus, you get to do the hip fractures and some basic bread and butter ortho cases. The trauma experience is unbeatable. We have one of the busiest level I trauma center in the country with almost 130,000 visits to the ED each year and Helicopter that cover about 150 mile radius of the medical center. Alot of hot trauma and very busy. The trauma attendings are a great group and you get to do the case starting as a PGY 2 (tibia nail, hip fxs, ORIF, etc). The bigger cases goes to the more senior residents, but I have done ORIF of couple of Acetab fxs when I was a PGY-2 as the first assist. You spend time on the trauma service as a PGY2,3,4 and 5 so coming out of this place, you will definitely feel comfortable doing trauma cases. <br />
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Our operative experience in other areas are also excellent. We recently recruited a new spine attending who will let you do your side of the cases even as a PGY-2. He will let you do all the dissection/pedical screws/rod/decompression (spine can actually be fun when you are involved in the cases). Also the joint experience is excellent here, as a PGY-3, you will do 3 months of Joints covering primarily one attending who is very busy. It is you and him in the room and you do skin to skin on all the total knee/hip replacements. I logged about 50 knees and 50 hips during that 3 months and I feel comfortable right now as a PGY-3 putting in primary joints. You will also do 3 months of joints as a PGY-4 and then as a PGY-5. Another area of improvement in our program is foot/ankle. We recently hired 2 attending who are now up and running. You get to cover them as a PGY-3 at the Memorial campus and there is a good mix of recon (triple/subtalar arthrodesis,flatfoot correction,achille debrid+FHL transfer,etc) with trauma cases. These two attendings will walk you through the cases and no double scrubing. The Pedi service is primarily clinics, but there is still some good cases. We also hired a tumor ortho surgeon that is picking up with tumor cases. You will cover him as a PGY-4. <br />
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The other great thing about our program is the elective rotation on the Hand and Sports services. You will do alot of good cases and never double scrub with the fellow, its always just you and the attending.<br />
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Overall our operative experience is unbeatable! As a PGY-2 and 3, you will miss some operative days due to being on call or post call, but when you are scrubed with the attending, you are doing the cases. Plus when you are a PGY-4 and 5 here, you will be in the OR plenty to make up for any missed OR days.
Clinic Experience
Our clinic experience is minimum. We are required to go to clinic about half day per week and you will be in clinic more when you are on the trauma / Pedi rotations. The option of going to clinic is always there for you but we have so many attendings operating daily that all the residents are in the OR covering cases which makes going to clinic very difficult. One of the solutions to this is that we are applying to add another 1-2 residents to the entering class (4 to 6) which will free people to go to clinics in the future.
Research Opportunities
There is a ton of research opportunities here at Umass. Things have changed alot for us since the last review from Dr. Hibbert above in 2007. Currently, the department of Orthopedics have 83 active projects running. There are 4 full time PhDs working in the ortho research dept. Two of them received R01 NIH grants in 2008 for about $2 million each on outcomes and tissue engineering projects. This is very hard to do, esp to get as an orthopedic research investigator. We have a total of about $5 million dollars funding in dedicated Ortho research and that puts our dept among the top 10% of all programs in terms of NIH fundings. I believe we are currently trying to hire another 1-2 biomechanics PhDs as well. Half of the residents here are 6 year research residents that have spent 1 year of dedicated time in the lab. <br />
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So the bottom line is that there is alot of research activity if you are interested as a resident. Our program require that all residents complete one research project before graduation and you will present your project to the department during the annual research day.<br />
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Example of resident research that have been accepted to recent national meetings:<br />
One of the strength of our residency. We get along very well with each other. In the morning, we round as a team, the intern comes in the same time as the chief. Alot of the times, the chiefs and PGY-4s are helping out with the floor work, dictations, and also helping to see consults if the junior is busy in the OR. During the end of the day at the University campus, when you come out of the OR before you go home, you call the on call resident to see if they need any help with consults. We all meet at the end of the day to make sure that the on call resident is caught up with all the consults/work before going home. It is very important that the resident we recruit fits in and that is why all the chiefs in our program are on the admissions committee and they interview/have a significant say in the selection process.<br />
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We do have gatherings over the year and hangout outside of work. The married folks with kids tend to hang out with the each other and the single people tends to go out together. It is a very laid back atmosphere and we work hard when we are in the hospital but also have a life outside.
Good lifestyle. Intern year is very nice. you do 3 months of Ortho, anes,rad,ED, which are very benign. The only hard months are gen surg and vascular surg. On call as a PGY-2 and 3 at the Big House is very busy during the summer and fall. You will do alot and see alot. Ton of highway trauma. Life is awesome as a PGY-4 as you don't have call for 9 months (just for 2 weeks on hand)with all weekends off. You will take senior call on the 3 months when you do trauma, but only come in if there is a case going. Majority of time, you are home with the juniors in the ED doing all the consults. As a chief, you will be on call for trauma throughout the year Q5 (4 chief and 1 PGY-4). On the weekends, you come in to operate and that is it. Can be busy but half of the time, you are home sleeping taking senior call.<br />
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We also have NP coverage during the day for both campus that will handle all the floor work. You sign in with them in the morning and then they will sign out to the on call person at about 3-4 pm. This is very important at the Memorial campus because the on call person there is usually in the OR with the NP taking care the floor plus some ED consults during the day.
Location / Housing
Worcester is cheap for housing esp. with the recent market. You can buy a nice place with a resident salary. Majority of the residents in our program own. There has been alot of restaurants being built recently. Plenty of places to go out for the single guy/girl with 10 colleges around. Boston and Providence is only 45 mins away. Hospital provides parking for about 30 bucks per month. If you like snowboarding/skiing, Wachusetts is only 20 mins away and a decent mountain. Season pass is only $200. If you are a big city person, Worcester is not a metropolis.
1) Sports and Hand rotations happens when you are a PGY-4 resident which would be better if we can do it early. We are trying to change this by adding residents and possibly adding an elective block into the junior resident's schedule. This should happen in the future. <br />
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2) More clinic time. No one likes to go to clinic, but it is an important part of the educational process. As of now, there is so many OR cases that it is very hard to be free to to to clinic (on top of the days that are required). The only time to go is post call, which is not desirable esp if you are up all night. Plus with the ACGME regulations, you cant stay past noon anyways.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Umass Orthopaedic residency is a great overall program with plenty of research and great operative expereencie. I tried to be as objective as possible on this review and hope this will be helpful to the 4th year medical students interested in our program/orthopedics. A rotation will help you out alot here and also give you a first hand experience of our program. <br />
If you have any additional questions, you can contact our program coordinator:<br />
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Michelle Auger<br />
Orthopaedic Residency and Fellowship Coordinator<br />
University of Massachusetts Medical School<br />
55 Lake Avenue North<br />
Worcester, MA 01655<br />
(508) 856-4262<br />
(508) 334-7273 FAX<br /><br />
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Every program will have their strength and weakness, you just have to find one that will fit you and your career goals.<br />
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Umass Program Website<br />


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