Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Mount Sinai School of Medicine Hot

John LanglandJohn Langland   August 28, 2007  
 
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4.9 (3)
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Contact Information

City
New York
State/Province
New York

Program Information

Residents per class
3
Mount Sinai School of Medicine Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program

User reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.9
Staff Surgeons 
 
5.3  (3)
Didactics/Teaching 
 
3.7  (3)
Operating Experience 
 
4.7  (3)
Clinical Experience 
 
4.0  (3)
Research 
 
4.7  (3)
Residents 
 
5.7  (3)
Lifestyle 
 
4.0  (3)
Location 
 
7.0  (3)
Overall Experience 
 
4.7  (3)
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Overall rating 
 
1.8
Staff Surgeons 
 
3.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
1.0
Operating Experience 
 
2.0
Clinical Experience 
 
1.0
Research 
 
1.0
Residents 
 
2.0
Lifestyle 
 
2.0
Location 
 
2.0
Overall Experience 
 
2.0

Rotator Review - 2016

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Historically, department chairmen and most faculty have had very little interest in residents or trainee education. In recent years, this is understandably so, given the mass merger that has most merged/merging departments in a state of disarray, leadership wise. New chairman - prolific and well-respected; however, it remains to be seen what she'll mean for the residency. Given how full her hands are/will be, this transition is unlikely to change anything positively for residents in the near future.
The current program director and faculty pride themselves in not even knowing the residents' names, let alone their schedules. Except for a couple notable exceptions, they seem largely unapproachable and entirely disinterested and disconnected from the program. Faculty don't even know when they're on call - and sometimes aren't even available to the residents when they explicitly are on call. Faculty often don't show up for didactics or lectures they're scheduled to give.
Didactics / Teaching
Same old - see prior review. If it's changed, it's only changed for the worse - grown increasingly more malignant and disorganized. The seniors tear into and denigrate the juniors for no good reason except that no one took the time to teach them in prior years. It's pimpfest 24/7 at this program - and there's no constructive baseline education. There's a pervasive culture of trying to humiliate and belittle the juniors to create an inflated sense of self worth. The juniors are so focused on self-preservation and knowing just the right answers to pimp questions, very few of them have any functional foundational understanding and are able to teach even us, the students - except to pass along possible pimpfest answers and cheat sheets. Unfortunately, you can't really blame the residents here - as mentioned previously, they have a historical come back to make and so few faculty care about didactics here; during my month rotation, there was a 50% faculty show rate. We tagged along for intern education as well, which seemed completely useless - watched the sleep deprived interns struggle to stay awake for 3 hours of outdated, disorganized lectures that were less educational than a 30 second orthobullets review. Half of these sessions didn't even have any faculty present or involved.
Operating Experience
Prior review is a bit outdated but the underlying gist persists. A lot of time in ORs from PGY2-PGY4; very little hands on experience. There are select faculty that are better than others, but on the whole pathetic experience relative to similarly located/positioned programs. I watched my resident literally stand in a corner or sometimes place his hands on the drapes for hours at a time. Trauma experience is as a PGY4 at Westchester - sounds ok, but the commute sounds terrible and that's pretty late in the game to get a real trauma experience. They have a 'mini' trauma exposure at Elmhurst a hospital in Queens - went there a couple of times on my rotation since the operating volume at Sinai was too low for me to scrub anything: low volume, terrible commute, very little guidance or organization at this satellite location. Peds experience is all but non existent; the attendings are nice enough, but very low volume: peds junior just mans the pager aside from a day or two a week. Prior review is a bit outdated but the underlying gist persists. A lot of time in ORs from PGY2-PGY4; very little hands on experience. There are select faculty that are better than others, but on the whole pathetic experience relative to similarly located/positioned programs. I watched my resident literally stand in a corner or sometimes place his hands on the drapes for hours at a time. Trauma experience is as a PGY4 at Westchester - sounds ok, but the commute sounds terrible and that's pretty late in the game to get a real trauma experience. They have a 'mini' trauma exposure at Elmhurst a hospital in Queens - went there a couple of times on my rotation since the operating volume at Sinai was too low for me to scrub anything: low volume, terrible commute, very little guidance or organization at this satellite location. Peds experience is all but non existent; the attendings are nice enough, but very low volume: peds junior just mans the pager aside from a day or two a week. Peds senior drinks coffee. It sounds like they're trying to improve this but from a trainee perspective, still suboptimal. Tumor is ok - one day a week in the OR.
Clinic Experience
Low average to average. Clinics are overbooked - residents are overworked. On the positive side, the residents have a ton of autonomy. However, clinic is definitely not safe or educational. Not sure how clinic economics or politics works here but patients flood the waiting room, clinics run hours late, residents have no time to discuss patients, attendings are sometimes around but mostly preoccupied and jaded. It really seems like the residents are overworked to exhaustion and beyond physical handling capacity to manage the enormous medicaid/poorly reimbursing patient population. There doesn't seem to be an efficient vetting process for patients that make orthopedic clinic appointments - I saw fewer primary orthopedic issues in these clinics than I saw during my family medicine rotation. Most of the resident activity is comprised of filling out disability paperwork, prescribing narcotics to demanding patients, and being terrified to do anything differently due to fear of administration.
Research Opportunities
Same as prior review - it seems like the residents try really hard; but aside from a couple attendings in spine and upper extremity that have a handful of projects, research in the department is dead. Unlike other programs, residents are not given elective time to pursue research. And there is little to no funding - I watched residents scramble to even come up with funds to present posters at meetings. Obviously, not a faculty priority here. And the research that does happen tends to be minimal effort/quality and maximum quantity.
Residents
One of my best friends is just finishing residency here - obviously there are normal people and friendships within the department; but overall, the culture is hostile. Seniors pride themselves in not being around as much as possible - and, it's difficult to blame them, given how much they've dealt with culturally in this program as juniors. Unfortunately, this only perpetuates the malignant culture of the program. Unlike programs where there is camaraderie across years, seniors won't budge or show up to teach or help juniors. Juniors tend to teach themselves off of youtube and trial and error. And faculty, aside from the OR, are nonexistent. Overall, everyone tries to emulate the nonexistence as much as possible, given how horrible of a working environment they're in. There's a sense of fear of the attendings that is pervasive - attendings are not to be bothered or contacted unless their VIP patient is actively dying. And there is an unforgiving attending heirarchy - residents will go to any length including turning over patient sheets in the middle of the night for particular attendings out of shear terror of an unhappy attending. As such, there is no resident advocate; residents get yelled at by nurses, other residents, other attendings for departmental deficiencies - and since there is little to no ortho attending back up/presence, the front line residents are stuck taking the brunt of fury from other departments and trying to redirect them from their own attendings and higher ups.
Lifestyle
No post-call system, since in theory there are overnight PAs; however, I watched a lot of sleeping juniors during next day didactics, clinics, or cases, after they'd been up the preceding nights taking call because PAs either didn't show up or couldn't handle nighttime events on their own. Certain services are far overloaded for the number of residents assigned to them - to the point that in some instances, the resident:patient burden is safe for neither party. Particularly the joints, spine, and tumor services typically have far too many patients (and sometimes pretty sick patients) for the resident or residents that are assigned to them. In theory, there are PAs during the days that help with floor work, but in practice, the residents are still run ragged. I watched other services actually submit medical error reports given how thinly spread the residents were on these services. ACGME duty hour violations (especially among the juniors) are rampant but go unreported given that residents don't really have an effective means of reporting them.
Location / Housing
Upper East Side - it sounds like residents are at a severe lack of affordable housing options. The hospital in theory subsidizes housing but the rates are often worse than market rates and the quality is absolutely abysmal - comparable to NYCHA housing at times. Sinai lacks in providing competitive basic benefits like health, dental, vision insurance with affordable and desirable options. It sounds like the west side residents have better housing options and live in more conveniently located places.
Limitations
There probably doesn't need to be a separate section for limitations for this program - see above and prior review.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
If you're hell bent on being in NYC, this is an option to be eligible for orthopedic surgery boards. But like the prior commentator, I don't envy this program's residents.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
2016
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(Updated: November 15, 2014)
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Staff Surgeons 
 
4.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
2.0
Operating Experience 
 
2.0
Clinical Experience 
 
1.0
Research 
 
5.0
Residents 
 
5.0
Lifestyle 
 
3.0
Location 
 
9.0
Overall Experience 
 
2.0

Rotator Review 2013

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.
Residents
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.
Lifestyle
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.
Limitations
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.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
Fall 2013
Was this review helpful to you? 
(Updated: January 01, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
9.1
Staff Surgeons 
 
9.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
8.0
Operating Experience 
 
10.0
Clinical Experience 
 
10.0
Research 
 
8.0
Residents 
 
10.0
Lifestyle 
 
7.0
Location 
 
10.0
Overall Experience 
 
10.0

Rotator Review MSSM

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Flatow is a pretty down-to-earth guy, teaches in the OR, not as intimidating as one might think once you get a chance to speak with him (though from a student's perspective, I think all chairpersons are intimidating). The rest of the faculty that I worked with were awesome. Shame that they lost Capozzi this year, but there are still a ton of excellent faculty members there.
Didactics / Teaching
Resident-run didactic session every AM, ranges from Miller lectures to topic-specific review questions, etc. Sometimes AM lecture is given by faculty. Also, once a week grand rounds with several other lectures given. Overall a much better than average didactics program.
Operating Experience
Excellent. 2's, 3's, and 5's spend time at Elmhurst in Queens, which gives them plenty of trauma experience. 2's are there to operate only, 3's run the service, and 5's do plenty of operating as well. Sinai (main hospital) is a cold or no trauma place where the residents seem to operate a ton on all specialty services. Plenty of joints, peds, hand (Hausman et al), spine, and now tumor with Wittig. Overall the most skilled residents I saw during my 3 aways.
Clinic Experience
Not sure about all of the services, but it seems to be 1 and a half days a week, with a good mix of patient population, seeing your own clinic pts as well as seeing the private pts with the boss.
Research Opportunities
Very available, but not shoved down your throat. I got the impression that you could do as much or as little (but at least 1 project) as you wanted. That said, I think they are very proud of the fact that resident education is their #1 priority, which I think is a plus.
Residents
Awesome group of residents. Very down-to-earth, laid-back but hard-working, very smart group. Most if not all are very eager to teach if student is willing to put forth the effort to learn. Learned more from the residents here than anywhere else I have been.
Lifestyle
It's ortho residency (I put a 7 because I've seen worse, but I've also seen slightly better). That said, it seems that, as in many programs, life gets better as a 3, and then even better as a 4 and 5.
Location / Housing
On the border of the upper east side and harlem in manhattan - great location. If you were being picky you could say that further downtown would be a better location, but hey, you're still in manhattan. Re: housing, there is some housing subsidizing going on, but don't expect great rents - the places are still expensive. A lot of the residents seem to live a little further away from the hospital and hoof it that little bit extra to avoid the rent of the neighborhood just south of Sinai.
Limitations
I guess the main thing would be that there doesn't seem to be a 'post-call' type of day for the 2's when at Sinai because as far as I know the call is considered home call. Also, I would rather see more AM lectures given by faculty rather than residents.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Incredible program - I would even venture to say that, having interviewed at most NYC area programs, it is top 3 if not (I'm sure I'll be contested here) the best, when taking into account operative/clinic/research experience balance. Of course, preferences will vary and there are those that wish to be at a more research-heavy program (there are other places in NYC to which you may be better suited). However, given the overall culture at Sinai, combined with dedicated but fun residents and excellent attendings, it's hard to find a better program, in my opinion.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
Fall 2008
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Category: New York
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