Review Detail

6.0 4 10
New York August 28, 2007 31260
Rotator Review 2013
(Updated: November 15, 2014)
Overall rating
Staff Surgeons
Operating Experience
Clinical Experience
Overall Experience

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Things have changed since the last review. Flatow left Sinai in early 2014 to become the president of Roosevelt Hospital. When he was here, however, he was in no way involved in medical education. He did not know the residents’ names. He never taught didactics. He had his own fellow in his OR, and never operated with residents or students. The chairman’s attitude tends to trickle down to the rest of the department, so it’s not surprising that for most faculty, resident education is an afterthought. The residency director job tends to be passed from junior faculty member to junior faculty member. The current director, Dr. Parsons, is not a resident advocate, and he is in no way proactive. The program has some big issues, detailed below, that Parsons has done little to address. Program directors that I’ve worked with at other institutions put Parsons to shame.
Didactics / Teaching
All didactics are pimp-based. Each morning, “lecture” consists of the attending or chief going around the table asking questions to the residents and students. If they get a question wrong, they are made to feel like an idiot. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s a toxic learning environment, and I think it’s a departmental overreaction to a recent year (I believe 2012), when 2 of 3 chiefs failed their boards.
Operating Experience
The single worst part of this program. The residents here DO NOT OPERATE, despite spending plenty of time in the OR. I spent four weeks at Mount Sinai, and I only saw two cases where the resident did any real part of the surgery. 95% of the time, the residents prep, drape, stand there while the attending operates, and then close. The chiefs get to operate a little more, but they were far less impressive than junior residents I worked with at other programs. The department recently hired several PAs, a couple of whom are extremely aggressive in the OR. They bump the resident from any meaningful OR experience, and they bump the med student from scrubbing altogether. The attendings don’t do anything about this. In terms of specialty exposure, pediatric ortho is especially abysmal (one attending, no rotations elsewhere). Trauma is also very weak: Sinai is not a level 1 trauma center. The residents rotate at Elmhurst Hospital, a level 1 trauma center in Queens, but the volume is low (I did a couple overnights there and had zero consults), and they have two trauma fellows who pounce on anything that does come in. Tumor is historically strong at Mount Sinai, but with the recent departure of Dr. Wittig, that may no longer be the case. There are a lot of joints and spine at the main hospital, and a solid amount of hand and sports. Mount Sinai is affiliated with a VA in the Bronx, but as far as I know the ortho residents don’t go there. This is a shame, given the great autonomy that other programs’ residents have at their VAs. When I was rotating Sinai started an exchange with NYMC to get more trauma (NYMC came down to get tumor), but with Dr. Wittig leaving, I’m not sure this arrangement will last.
Clinic Experience
Average. An afternoon or two a week is spent in the resident-run Medicaid clinic. Depending on the service, residents also work with attendings in their private clinics. Clinics tend to be overbooked in order to maximize surgical cases, and there often isn’t enough manpower to handle the volume.
Research Opportunities
The spine attendings have a lot of research going on, and I think the department has a basic science lab as well. Other faculty have smaller projects. Most residents are involved with some research, but it’s not heavily emphasized.
One word: unhappy. The residents talk shit about each other, they don’t respect each other, there is absolutely no camaraderie. A couple of them are in real need of anger management counseling. It’s a very bro-y atmosphere, even for an ortho residency. There are only a few female residents, and their souls seem especially crushed.
With only 3 residents per year (may be expanding soon to 4 or 5) and a large inpatient service, the residents are incredibly overworked. The hours are longer than average. There is no post-call system. The department recently hired some PAs to help manage the floors and see consults during the day, which takes some of the burden off the residents when they’re in the OR. Unfortunately Mount Sinai’s resident salaries are on par with the national average, while some other NYC hospitals have better salaries to cover the increased cost of living. It’s not unusual for Sinai residents to still be dependent on their parents or loans for financial support. There are no opportunities for moonlighting.
Location / Housing
On the border of the Upper East Side and East Harlem in Manhattan. Not much to do in the neighborhood, but easy access to the rest of the city via the 6 train. Close to Central Park. Resident housing is decent but only mildly subsidized. Most resident housing is a short walk to the hospital.
See above: apathetic leadership, no operating, not enough peds and trauma, toxic didactics, miserable residents. On the interview trail, bashing Mount Sinai was a favorite conversation topic among interviewees at social events. I met many other people who had rotated at Sinai, and it seems like only about 50% of them got interviews. Moreover, the interview selection process seems arbitrary. I met a home student who didn’t get an interview, and another guy who worked directly with Dr. Parsons (the program director) for four weeks, impressed him, and didn’t get an interview. Two residents have left the program in the last few years. I don’t know the circumstances of either departure, but when there are only 3 residents per year, that’s a high attrition rate.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
I did 4 orthopedic rotations, plus several second-looks, and Mount Sinai’s program was far and away the worst. This is a department that does not care about resident education. The leadership makes no effort to provide a positive or thorough learning experience. No attendings let the residents operate. No resident graduates from this program as a well-rounded orthopedic surgeon. Flatow would make calls to help residents get fellowships, but now that he’s gone the fellowship matches will probably suffer. The residents are very unhappy, and I would be too if I were in their shoes. With the current chairman search perhaps they’ll bring in someone who cares about education and can turn the program around. There’s also exciting potential for the program with the recent Mount Sinai/St.Luke’s/Roosevelt merger. For now, the program ends up being far less than the sum of its parts. As an inferior residency with such a low interview rate for rotators, you should avoid Mount Sinai and choose another NYC program for your sub-internship. Despite my rotation I did not rank Mount Sinai, and I pity anyone with the misfortune of matching there.


I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
Fall 2013
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