Akron General Medical Center/NEOUCOM

Akron General Medical Center/NEOUCOM Hot

John LanglandJohn Langland   August 28, 2007  
 
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Contact Information

City
Akron
State/Province
Ohio

Program Information

Residents per class
4
Akron General Medical Center/NEOUCOM Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program

User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
9.0
Staff Surgeons 
 
9.0  (2)
Didactics/Teaching 
 
10.0  (2)
Operating Experience 
 
9.5  (2)
Clinical Experience 
 
8.0  (2)
Research 
 
7.5  (2)
Residents 
 
10.0  (2)
Lifestyle 
 
9.5  (2)
Location 
 
7.5  (2)
Overall Experience 
 
10.0  (2)
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Overall rating 
 
8.8
Staff Surgeons 
 
9.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
10.0
Operating Experience 
 
10.0
Clinical Experience 
 
8.0
Research 
 
6.0
Residents 
 
10.0
Lifestyle 
 
9.0
Location 
 
7.0
Overall Experience 
 
10.0

Insider experience

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Dr. Thompson - Chairman. Primarily does joints, but occasionally dabbles into other things. Interesting guy, always has a good story, and pops into lectures frequently to offer his input.

Dr. Vrabec - Program Director. I don't think any of us could say enough about him. He's definitely tough on the residents and doesn't let anyone slip through the cracks, but he always has our backs and is our biggest advocate. Takes great pride in our program and is always pushing us to excel. He is also incredibly knowledgeable and adds a significant amount to our education. Outside of the hospital he is also awesome to hang out with and grab a beer, and by chief year he's one of your best friends.

The rest of our faculty are dedicated to teaching and for the most part great to work with. Some recent and upcoming additions will fill some minor gaps, but overall we get well-rounded training and every subspecialty is covered. Most of our attendings are part of Akron General, so they take pride in the program and in our education. The only exceptions where we go elsewhere are as follows:

Tumor is covered by Dr. Scott Weiner, who is the program director at Summa. You do a one month rotation with him as a 3rd year, and everyone comes out of that with a great experience. The Summa hospitals are all in town, so you're not traveling far for this rotation. Dr. Weiner also gives a tumor lecture/case presentations once a month. One of our PGY-4s just matched into tumor, so if you're interested your experience here can get you in the door.

Pediatrics is over at Akron Children's Hospital, which is across the street from Akron General. You don't have to go very far for a great pediatric experience with eight pediatric orthopedic surgeons. Every guy over there is good to work with, and I was surprised the first time I worked there with how much they let us do in the OR, even as interns.

Outside of the hospital, a lot of our attendings host us for a variety of events. Dr. Vrabec took us to the Lake Erie Monster's game (minor league hockey) and got us glass-level seats. Dr. Thompson hosts a movie night every summer with a catered gourmet dinner followed by seeing some new release. Fourth of July parties, polar bear jumps, and many more. The attendings are very appreciative of our help, and show it through their generosity.
Didactics / Teaching
Every morning from 7-8 AM we have lectures, which are given by a mix of attendings, residents, and guests. Wednesday morning is fracture conference where we talk about some of the interesting fractures that came in during the week, and there is always a good attending presence. Once a month we have tumor cases, journal club, and M&M. The rest of our lectures follow an approximate two-year cycle, so you're going to get everything at least a couple times.

Anatomy is done every year by the PGY-2s. This is done over at ABIA, which is a relatively new facility that includes a great lab where we do our dissections. We also have sessions over there where we practice a wide variety of procedures on cadavers including placing SI screws, pedicle screws, and total joints. In addition, there are various sawbone sessions at least once a month.

The nice thing about being in a program with three residents per year is that you have no room to hide. This makes sure you stay up on your reading and don't slack off, whereas at bigger programs people can slip through the cracks. In my two years so far we've have greater than 95th percentile on OITE, so we're doing something right.
Operating Experience
I think I speak for a lot of the residents when we say we came to Akron General for the operating experience. It varies by attending, but in general you are actually doing a majority of the cases that you're in. From day one you are making the incision, and you get out what you put in by preparing for cases. We don't have fellows, so you are not fighting for cases. Occasionally some cases are double scrubbed, but this is usually a situation where the senior resident helps to guide the junior through a case. During second year you transition into being the primary surgeon on a majority of cases, and by 4th year most residents are proficient in a wide variety of procedures.

Our program has dedicated rotations for hand, sports, pediatrics, and tumor. Other than when you are on one of these rotations, you are on general orthopedics which means on any given day you can be doing trauma, joints, spine, shoulder/elbow, and even sports or hand cases that the resident on that rotation is unable to cover. This is tough early on in residency because every day you have to prepare for something different, but by about the end of second year or early third year you come out stronger and are prepared for almost anything that comes your way. You never are really able to get comfortable early on. This teaches you to be "comfortable with being uncomfortable," and I think this is one of the strengths of our program.
Clinic Experience
We have a resident clinic once a week where the treatment decisions are primarily made by the resident with guidance from the chiefs. The patients are all underinsured and it can be a frustrating patient population, but you see a wide variety of problems and get practice in learning how to manage patients on your own.

We are usually very busy covering all of the cases in the OR, but if you do get an open day our attendings are all welcoming if you want to spend a day in their office. You also spend time in office when you are on pediatrics, tumor, sports, and hand.

Overall our clinic experience is adequate, you'll learn everything you need to run your own day at the office in the future. Also let's be honest - no one is on this website because they want to spend time in clinic.
Research Opportunities
f you are looking for a huge research experience, this probably isn't the program for you. We just don't have the system here like big academic programs to just churn out papers and slap your name on them. That being said, there are opportunities to do research and most residents do at least some research, even in addition to the required one required project for graduation. Dr. Elias is the head of the research department and always has a few high quality projects to work on that are likely to put out something that will get published. There are also staff at Akron Children's who can help with the logistics of submitting research.

The benefit of doing research in a small program like ours is that fellowships see research and know that you actually worked hard to get it done. It's easy to just write a couple paragraphs and get your name on ten papers, but fellowship programs see the research that you did here and know that you put in some real leg work and are able to finish projects.

One of the new attendings starting in a few months is apparently enthusiastic about research, so we will probably get a boost from that.
Residents
I have only good things to say. Our interview process is set up so that we are able to get to know all of the applicants very well and pick ones that fit in to our group, and the result is a very cohesive group. Working is never as bad when you're working with friends. We always have one junior and one senior on call, and if there's down time it's good to be on with someone you enjoy hanging out with.

Outside of work we hang out a lot, and do a lot of fun things together. Some of the stuff we've done and plan to keep doing include slip n' fly (Ohio Dreams, look it up), ski trips, baseball games, or just going out. Last year we all chipped in and bought a residency boat that we use on one of the nearby lakes. Incoming residents have the option to buy in and use the boat to wakeboard, ski, fish, or just cruise around the lake.
Lifestyle

Overall I would say the lifestyle here is pretty good for residency. Obviously there are good days and bad days like anywhere else. We do not have night float, we do 24 hour call with one junior and one senior on who get post-call days the next day. Call is in-house, although we are able to leave to grab dinner as long as we stay within a reasonable distance of the hospital. The second years get the heaviest call burden like most programs, and life can get pretty busy at times, but it's always manageable. There is a hospital gym that is actually very nice for a hospital gym that has basically everything you would need, which is awesome for when you get some downtime on call to go get a good pump in.

The hospital gives us great benefits, including matching 401K up to 5% of your salary, memberships to lifestyles fitness centers (there are 3 around the area), a solid meal stipend, and snacks in the on call quarters, among others. I never worry about money because of these benefits and the fact that cost of living in Akron is very cheap.
Location / Housing
Akron is not the most exciting city, but it grows on you. In the summer there are actually a lot of cool festivals in town, and we can always take the boat out if nothing else is going on. The nightlife in Akron is mediocre at best, but Cleveland is only about 30-40 minutes away if you're looking for a better scene. The area seems to be pretty favorable for those with families, and traffic is never too bad. It does snow frequently during the winter but we don't get hit as hard as they do closer to the lake up in Cleveland.

An advantage of Akron is how close it is to a bunch of other cities as well as two good-sized airports. With about a 5 hour or less drive you can get to Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, and others. Cleveland and Akron-Canton airports are both close and give you a lot of options to fly out of here.

Housing is very cheap. The residents are pretty mixed in terms of buying vs renting. If you want to buy, a good sized nice house is definitely affordable. It would be tough to go broke, which makes it easy if you want to start saving money, paying off your student loans, or just splurge on a bunch of fun things.

Within northeast Ohio there is plenty to do. You have the Browns, Cavs, and Indians up in Cleveland, as well as the Lake Erie Monsters for minor league hockey. Columbus is under two hours away for Ohio State or the Blue Jackets. The Akron Rubber Ducks are a minor league baseball team in town with cheap tickets. There are a ton of golf courses in the area, with several of our attendings being members at Firestone (Bridgestone of PGA tour takes place), and we have several golf days throughout the year. There are a few smaller ski slopes locally, and within about 3-4 hours there are some pretty good ones.
Limitations
Akron is not the most exciting city, but it grows on you. In the summer there are actually a lot of cool festivals in town, and we can always take the boat out if nothing else is going on. The nightlife in Akron is mediocre at best, but Cleveland is only about 30-40 minutes away if you're looking for a better scene. The area seems to be pretty favorable for those with families, and traffic is never too bad. It does snow frequently during the winter but we don't get hit as hard as they do closer to the lake up in Cleveland.

An advantage of Akron is how close it is to a bunch of other cities as well as two good-sized airports. With about a 5 hour or less drive you can get to Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, and others. Cleveland and Akron-Canton airports are both close and give you a lot of options to fly out of here.

Housing is very cheap. The residents are pretty mixed in terms of buying vs renting. If you want to buy, a good sized nice house is definitely affordable. It would be tough to go broke, which makes it easy if you want to start saving money, paying off your student loans, or just splurge on a bunch of fun things.

Within northeast Ohio there is plenty to do. You have the Browns, Cavs, and Indians up in Cleveland, as well as the Lake Erie Monsters for minor league hockey. Columbus is under two hours away for Ohio State or the Blue Jackets. The Akron Rubber Ducks are a minor league baseball team in town with cheap tickets. There are a ton of golf courses in the area, with several of our attendings being members at Firestone (Bridgestone of PGA tour takes place), and we have several golf days throughout the year. There are a few smaller ski slopes locally, and within about 3-4 hours there are some pretty good ones.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Akron is a great program for you if you want solid, well-rounded training and a good surgical experience. We have the philosophy that you come to residency to become a good orthopedic surgeon with the ability to handle most things that come your way, and if you want to subspecialize you go to fellowship to hone your skills. Our attendings are all invested in your education and also fun to hang out with outside of the hospital. We have a great group here, and we only want people who fit in and actually want to be here. Don't let location hold you back from checking us out, we have plenty of fun without killing your bank account. Oh yea, and we have a boat.

Qualification

I am a current resident of this program.
Date of Rotation
NA
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Overall rating 
 
9.2
Staff Surgeons 
 
9.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
10.0
Operating Experience 
 
9.0
Clinical Experience 
 
8.0
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Residents 
 
10.0
Lifestyle 
 
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Location 
 
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Hidden Gem

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Our PD and chairman are supportive and involved. Our attending staff is independent. That's a point I don't think I understood as a medical student. I've rotated on other services/programs where the attendings needed a resident for every order. Our attendings put our education first. They are available when you're trying to staff a consult and won't be annoyed if you call in the middle of the night (also surprisingly not a universal thing).
Didactics / Teaching
Conferences are 1-2 hours every weekday morning. This is key! I didn't realize how much until I rotated some places that do 3-4 hours once a week. It was painful. If you're the kind that wants to sit in a lecture for that long then this isn't your place. Didactics are usually a mix between Xray conference, lecture by an attending, OITE review, presentations by senior residents, trauma grand rounds etc. That's the other thing: attendings are involved in our education. I've also seen programs where all conferences are resident-run. Pros and cons to that. We have a mix of both during didactics.
Operating Experience
We operate early and often. As a PGY-1 or 2, you are either off service (required intern ACGME rotations), on call, or in the OR. After that, as second call you will be basically operating everyday. One of the biggest advantages is that we don't do a block schedule. This means you can be operating on foot and ankle fractures one day and then TKAs the next. Steep learning curve like everywhere else but it keeps the content fresh. That means you won't walk into the OR as a PGY-4 and think: "damn I haven't done an endoprosthesis for 6 months." Hand, sports, tumor and pediatrics are the only block scheduled rotations.
Clinic Experience
We have consistent clinic experience on hand service, at Akron Children's, and on Friday every week in House Clinic. Patients in house clinic are staffed with the chief resident but there is always an attending as well. If you want greater exposure in a certain area, no attending will keep you away from going to clinic with them (we don't do that often though because we all would rather operate).
Research Opportunities
There is a research requirement by the ACGME. Here, you can commit as much time to research as you want. There is dedicated research months, but if you are more serious about research there is amazing opportunities. For a "community" hospital, there is academic level research conducted as we have an affiliation with the Austen BioInnovation Institute (in town), biomechanics lab, and an animal lab. Also, there is always support (including financial) to submit abstracts/papers/presentations to local and national meetings. And obviously PhDs help with the statistics portion.
Residents
This is the best part (and I'm not saying that just because I'm part of the team now). I rotated here as a medical student and the residents were the top reason I ranked this program 1st. Not everywhere you go will you see that the residents actually like hanging out together. It's a small group (15) so the fit of the applicant is very important to us. Residents take vacations together and hang out on the weekends. Significant others are often included. Also, I have never gotten "dumped on" by another resident. Sounds corny but it's simple: "teamwork makes the dream work."
Lifestyle
When I advise medical students about ranking residencies, I tell them to consider cost of living in the area of each program. Maybe it's not the most important thing on your list and that's reasonable, but don't ignore it either. Cost-of-living here allows most residents to own homes/condos if they choose. We all still have funds for fun including traveling abroad during vacation weeks. That's the most important part: work-life balance. We all have membership to the gym which is located in the main hospital as well as satellite campuses. So no matter where you may be operating/in clinic, you'll have access to stay in shape. We also get an incredible stipend for food while in-house. We take in-house call but it's always a junior with a more senior resident. That way there's always support. Don't look for them to hold your hand though! This is set up for the benefit of our patients. Plus, it helps the juniors learn a ton more than they would just reading orthobullets on the fly.
Location / Housing
Akron, Ohio. I'm not from the area so I have to say I didn't know much about it at all. If you like outdoor activities you will love the fall, spring, and summer. If you like warmth and forever sunshine, don't come here. There are places to go out and there's more options about 30 min away in Cleveland. Obviously Cleveland Cavaliers are a big deal. OSU is a big deal. Everyone is incredibly friendly. It's not a huge city where you'll be stuck in traffic post-call dying to get home. But if you're a fun person, you'll have no problem finding a great time here. Also, we don't have to travel from hospital to hospital all the time. This is amazing! There are few times where you may have an OR lineup at the surgery center, which is only 20 minutes away. During our pediatrics rotation, we are across the street at Akron Children's Hospital. So you get to sleep in your own bed most nights and see your family if you have one.
Limitations
We are not in a big city and there's another Level I trauma center in town. We still get a great trauma exposure (there's enough to go around). I looked at this as "how many open tibia fractures do I have to see at 2 am before I know how to take care of them?" But some people may want more.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
I rotated here as a medical student and this program became my measuring stick during the entire interview process. The environment here is unlike any other I've experienced/heard about from colleagues. I am extremely happy that I matched here.

Qualification

I am a current resident of this program.
Date of Rotation
Jul 2015
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