Cleveland Clinic Foundation

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Overall rating 
 
9.9
Staff Surgeons 
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
10.0
Operating Experience 
 
10.0
Clinical Experience 
 
10.0
Research 
 
10.0
Residents 
 
10.0
Lifestyle 
 
10.0
Location 
 
9.0
Overall Experience 
 
10.0

One of the best programs in the country

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Starting at the top, the PD Kuivila and APD Goodwin are INCREDIBLY approachable and really stick out for you. Faculty are super friendly and really emphasize resident education. The department is understandably enormous and residents seem to hone in on faculty that stand out for their teaching (e.g. Richetti, Gurd, etc). CCF is also unique in having an ortho/rheum institute under which the department is housed. So there's an institute chairman (Iannotti) and a department chair (Mont) who just recently moved back to NYC. Iannotti is still strongly at the helm though and is world renowned for shoulder, and Mont still makes it a point to come back and maintain research/clinical ties as they continue their search. So basically, they have 2 chairmen (what other program can say they have that?).
Didactics / Teaching
Dedicated teaching on Tuesdays with multiple conferences peppered in depending on the service that you're on. Didactics incorporate some faculty presentations and some senior resident presentations, followed by resident question/answering via orthobullets. Got the impression that residents know their stuff and are well versed in the basics and the literature. The general didactics tend to cover the fundamentals while the specialty-specific conferences go over nuances and literature. Faculty pretty involved in teaching in the OR as well.
Operating Experience
Stunned to see that it was pretty frequent. CCF is a high-volume specialty center, so granted the trauma experience is light here, but oh boy do the residents get tons of volume otherwise. There's an ortho joints rotation where it's basically a free-for-all where all of the residents on the service can pick and choose what they want to operate on for the day. So as a PGY1, you're doing primary joints and uncomplicated fractures. There's also a dedicated Metro rotation where you can get more of your hot trauma. So they supplement the experiences well. Most PGY5 chiefs were running their own rooms basically.

Concerns over fellows were quickly alleviated as well. At any high-powered academic center, there is concern for fellow intrusion on the resident experience, but during my rotation there was plenty of volume to go around. Often times the PGY3 scrubbed in as a first assist with the fellow who was basically running the room, so some what of a better experience there.
Clinic Experience
Tons of clinic time as well. Seeing patients alongside fellows and presenting to the attending. Only downside was having to drive around to the different satellite clinics in the greater Cleveland area, but it made for a nice break in the middle of a rotation.
Research Opportunities
Unparalleled. This is the department that was key in the MeTeOR trial and is one of the best places to come to for shoulder/elbow research. On top of that, you have a tremendous sports and joints department. Not to mention the spine institute is a collaborative between ortho/neurosurg so you get the best of both worlds there too. Residents routinely coming out with 10-15 pubs each at minimum, with some exceeding 70. However, definitely a spectrum; about 50% of their class goes into private (which they're okay with). So you only do as much as you want.
Residents
Some of the best residents I met on the away/interview trail. Incredibly friendly and down to earth people and professionals. They come from around the country/world with diverse experiences and perspectives. Many are research oriented but some are definitely clinical only. Some have ties to Cleveland but some definitely don't. I get the impression that the residents spend a lot of time together outside the hospital as well; definitely some of the more closer groups I've encountered.
Lifestyle
Probably one of the few ortho residency programs that offers a nice balance in terms of lifestyle. Call and hours are front loaded PGY1/2 years, so most senior level call is at home. Even the junior and intern years are pretty lax relative to other programs. Having abbreviated trauma rotations really affords a nice balance without compromising operative/clinical experience. CCF has really found a way to make a nice program for their residents. Many residents start families, but there are definitely some single guys/girls as well.
Location / Housing
It's Cleveland, so if you're looking for the NYC/LA/Chicago lifestyle, it's not here. It's a sleepy midwestern city that definitely isn't going on a Wednesday night. But plenty to do and partake in. Lots of good restaurants, bars, attractions. All major sports (Cavs, Indians, Browns) represented and affiliated in some way with CCF. Downtown is pretty alive on a Friday/Saturday night. Obviously much more affordable on a resident's salary, so many buy/own homes in the suburbs, while others rent luxury apartments downtown or near University Circle.
Limitations
Again, it's been stated before but this is not your typical blue-collar program that does trauma all day, every day through all 5 resident years. The main campus CCF is only level 2, and most call involves complicated joints/tumor or simple fractures/sprains. So if you're looking for that, this program isn't it. That being said, you're still educated in trauma substantially, with dedicated rotations at the Metro trauma center (level 1) through your first 3 years, and you come back your chief year with a dedicated rotation with Billow (renowned traumatologist). I even heard a couple residents graduating the program going straight into practice without fellowship. As a resident told me, this program will give you enough trauma volume to learn it cold, just not too much to drive you insane.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Amazing program, the hype is certainly real. If you're into rankings, this is the #3 institution in the country for orthopedics (US News), #2 hospital overall in the country (US News) and top 10 orthopedic residency (Doximity). Offering great operative and clinical experience, tremendous specialty volume, research, and solid trauma experience while enjoying a balanced lifestyle, friendly and supportive faculty and staff, and affordable living situation. One of the best programs in the country, in my opinion. Absolutely blown away.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
Summer 2017
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Overall rating 
 
9.8
Staff Surgeons 
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
10.0
Operating Experience 
 
10.0
Clinical Experience 
 
10.0
Research 
 
10.0
Residents 
 
10.0
Lifestyle 
 
10.0
Location 
 
8.0
Overall Experience 
 
10.0

Top 10 Program

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Rotated here based on the recommendation of multiple attendings from my home institution. I met the PD Dr. Kuivila and Dr. Goodwin during my rotation who were extremely approachable, down-to-earth, and great to work with - really enjoyed time in the OR with them. I was left speechless by the rotation since this program has best staff you could hope for. Residents spoke very highly of them because they implement feedback from residents in the rotation schedules, etc. Dr. Iannotti is the chair and is a big name in the ortho community and the residents seems to land their #1 picks for fellowships at top places. For what it's worth, it was ranking #2 hospital in US News Rankings and #3 in ortho in 2017. They have you rotate on multiple specialties during the rotation (with staff who are all on the residency committee). Resident education was the priority regardless of what service you are on. I was surprised how early residents learned to operate as primary from intern year, so the operative experience was a big draw for me. Almost never saw a double-scrubbed surgery during my rotation.
Didactics / Teaching
Really strong didactics. The sessions included the usual things like lectures, OITE review, & surgical and arthroscopy skills lab. Multiple attending were always present and sessions looked very well organized. There was also some cool stuff like the arthroscopy simulation machines, etc. The place definitely lives up to its name.
Operating Experience
This is the TOP strength of the program. Residents were primary surgeons very early on (intern doing a primary hip) and I only saw a single double scrubbed case during my rotation which was a call case from what I remember. Even the big name faculty let the residents operate as primary. It was surprising because most the big name programs usually have fellows or multiple residents in the OR, but that was not the case here since fellows are not usually in the same rooms with residents - this was the big plus in my opinion.
Clinic Experience
Clinics were efficient and faculty made it a point to take discuss patients with residents (and rotating students) which was something I was looking for. Residents worked autonomously for most patients, and clinics were in a few locations aside from main campus so you get to see a good mix of patients.
Research Opportunities
CCF is a research powerhouse obviously, but the residents weren't under pressure to publish. Strong support and resources are there if you decide to. There is an optional research year since it is no longer a 6 year program, which you can apparently ask for once you're in the program (there is 1 resident who was doing that). The residents who liked research pumped out a lot of papers and worked with faculty with lots of projects, grants, etc. There are dedicated funds for travel to conferences, and if you get papers accepted you are supported with time off/$ to present at meetings.
Residents
Definitely enjoyed working with the residents here - they looked pretty happy & cohesive, didn't take themselves too seriously and had each other's back. The atmosphere was relaxed and they welcomed rotators. Got the vibe that they definitely had time to do things outside work. They don't have med students all year round since it's associated with the CCF med school and only people who want to do ortho rotate on service. From what I understand, residents play a huge role in the selection process so that's probably why they have a great group that gets along well. Some of the residents were single, some married with kids etc.
Lifestyle
Got the impression that residents really liked the set-up since the program implements their recommendations. Work hours seem to be more heavy as a PGY1-2 and as a result you enjoy better PGY3-5 years. PGY2 is the toughest year in the program. No scut work that I saw. Metro is where they do dedicated trauma rotations, so residents are not overworked on call at main campus. Clinic hours and OR turnover were efficient which is a big plus since they day is not drawn out.
Location / Housing
Cleveland has its advantages/disadvantages. Big draw for me was enough things to do outside work, extremely affordable homes (residents own homes/condos, some lives in downtown), and if you want to start a family you can. Commute is reasonable and short if you decide to live closer to main campus.
Limitations
If you are really want to work on big trauma cases, you will get it at the rotations in Metro so it is not year-round. Dedicated trauma rotations PGY1 through 3. Lots cases that come to the clinic are cold trauma like hip & ankle fx, tib nails, etc. Upside is they have 4 months of elective time which some residents use as a mini-fellowship, international rotations, etc.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
This place definitely lives up to its reputation. It was really impressive to see a big-name program combine lots of OR time starting intern year with well known faculty, laid-back culture, and an affordable city. Loved the program since it combined the best of everything I was looking for.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
2017
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(Updated: August 29, 2018)
Overall rating 
 
9.6
Staff Surgeons 
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
9.0
Operating Experience 
 
10.0
Clinical Experience 
 
9.0
Research 
 
10.0
Residents 
 
10.0
Lifestyle 
 
10.0
Location 
 
8.0
Overall Experience 
 
10.0

Best program in the country

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
All staff put resident education first. If they do not, residents do not rotate with those staff. The culture at CCF Ortho is that residency education happens in the OR. This translates to less clinic time and less floor work. Interns, for example, spend 5 out of 6 days a week in the OR. Although floor work and clinic work is a necessary evil to learning how to become a complete surgeon, it is not lost as all residents are responsible for their specific patients from preop, to surgery, to postop. That residents "owns" that patient from beginning to end. Help is always available from medical services or senior residents in managing these complex CCF patients, but it provides inpatient continuity and unmatched autonomy for the residents. The staff have their idiosyncrasies but will let
Didactics / Teaching
Formal didactics is at least twice a week for a minimum of 5 protected educational hours. you operate if you prove you know their moves and their steps.
Operating Experience
Unparalleled. See above. You are there to learn how to operate. That being said, you get what you put into it. The process is graduated and you are never left alone until you have proven yourself.
Clinic Experience
Lighter than most and geared towards PGY3-5
Research Opportunities
No pressure to do any research whatsoever, but if you're inclined you can go really big.
Residents
Great group of people - good mix of single and married.
Lifestyle
It's a pay-it-forward system where you log heavy hours as a PGY1-3 and get rewarded with less hours PGY4-5 that are almost solely dedicated to sharpening your surgical skills
Location / Housing
Extremely affordable. Many residents own 3 story houses for 250k or less in safe neighborhoods
Limitations
If you want "hot trauma" where you operate on fresh ankle fractures during the night, this is not the place. You can get it 6 months at Metro during residency but not much more thereafter since the majority is cold trauma that consists of bread and butter trauma surgery (hip fractures, ankle fractures, tibial nails). However, you will get all the trauma - hot or cold - if you seek it out.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
I believe this is one of the top 3 residency programs in the country. No resident who approaches residency casually will go far, but if you approach this residency aggressively I believe with the resources, staff, culture of learning by operating, connections, you can graduate a truly gifted surgeon capable of dealing with any degree of complexity.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
2017
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(Updated: October 23, 2007)
Overall rating 
 
9.6
Staff Surgeons 
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
10.0
Operating Experience 
 
9.0
Clinical Experience 
 
9.0
Research 
 
10.0
Residents 
 
10.0
Lifestyle 
 
10.0
Location 
 
8.0
Overall Experience 
 
10.0

Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Staff approachable and willing to teach. Some were very funny and had me laughing the entire time I was with them. Faculty on joints, F&A, and the chairman were among the best faculty I encountered while rotating at different schools. Very slick surgeons.
Didactics / Teaching
Very very strong didactic experience. OITE questions review sessions always had multiple faculty present. surgical skills lab. conferences, lectures - it's cleveland clinic.
Operating Experience
Mentor/apprenticeship style residency. Residents operate early and often. Every subspecialty is well-covered. Weaker experience in trauma, offset by fantastic training in everything else.
Clinic Experience
Less clinic experience and less volume than other programs I am familiar with. However, this is offset by complexity of some patients. very strong sports medicine experience. each resident is assigned to follow a high school sports team for the entire duration of residency.
Research Opportunities
Dedicated research year. Plenty of opportunities.
Residents
Incredible group of residents.
Lifestyle
Residents worked hard. didn't feel like they got a beat down. had plenty of time to hang out and do other stuff. to me, that's a great lifestyle.
Location / Housing
It's cleveland. can't compare to other larger cities, but it's not bad at all. If I remember correctly, any place that has $1 burgers and $5 pitchers is okay in my book. i guess that's just about anywhere.
Limitations
the only limitations that I could percieve are the paucity of research experiences available and/or location. But, I am not really looking for a very research heavy program and I love outdoor activities so this place will rank highly.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Overall, I had a great time. This is a great residency program and you will leave here very well trained. The trauma experience may be a little weak, but they are currently addressing this with the possible addition of a new rotation, and there are a number of elective months built into the residency. Residents, Faculty and facilities are all top notch. Would be lucky to land a spot here.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
2007
Was this review helpful to you? 
(Updated: January 01, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
9.1
Staff Surgeons 
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
9.0
Operating Experience 
 
10.0
Clinical Experience 
 
9.0
Research 
 
9.0
Residents 
 
10.0
Lifestyle 
 
10.0
Location 
 
6.0
Overall Experience 
 
9.0

If you don't know about this program, find out now

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Another large department, but the quality is extremely high. Residents rotate only with those attendings who have proven themselves to be interested and effective teachers. When there is a rotation that residents don't rate highly, it is dropped. Chairman, Dr. Ianotti, PD, Dr. Kuivila, and Assistant PD, Dr. Goodwin, are all just ridiculously friendly, approachable, reasonable, and responsive to resident feedback. The mission of this program is resident education, not making money on the backs of resident labor - the Cleveland Clinic Foundation is efficient enough to make money regardless. All areas are well represented, except trauma, and everyone here is the first to admit that. Greatest strength is probably joints, and quite a few residents go that route for fellowship.
Didactics / Teaching
Every Tuesday morning is protected time for resident didactics. This usually means a basic science lecture and a talk on a clinical topic as well. Attendings fend for themselves (with PA/NP support) in OR/clinic while residents are at conference. There are also specialty-specific conferences at other times during the week and lots of OITE review sessions.
Operating Experience
I never saw residents operate as much as they do here. Attendings are incredibly focused on making their residents the primary surgeons. Most of the residency is set up as a preceptorship (1 resident per attending), so double scrubbing is rare, unless it's a call case where the attending doesn't scrub at all.
Clinic Experience
Clinics run efficiently, with plenty of PA/NP support. Nothing is too formal, and attendings are benign but very interested in teaching. I don't generally like clinic, but here is place where it's really not bad at all.
Research Opportunities
There is a 6-year research track as well as a 5-year clinical track. Although the numbers seem to change year-to-year, this year there were 3 spots for each. I was torn about whether I wanted to do the research year. All the residents I spoke to who did the research year had nothing but good things to say about it, although I don't know much about the specific research opportunities available. What I do know is that residents are required to apply for outside funding, although securing that funding is not a requirement. You could see this as a painful process, or you could see it as a good preparation for academics, depending on your perspective. Also, residents can get into the OR 1 day per week during the research year to keep up their skills or explore an area where they want more exposure.
Residents
Fantastic bunch of guys, with a good mix of single and married residents. Very cohesive group; humorous and happy beyond belief. They get great fellowships afterwards. Many go into joints; those who do this can really just pick their fellowship. Some peds and spine and hand and sports, etc., though, so there's a good amount of diversity as well.
Lifestyle
This is not a program that has trouble with the 80 hour workweek. Call is rather light, especially in regard to trauma, and there is a night float system, which makes for a painful 2 months as a PGY2 but saves everyone else a lot of headaches. This program is at the other end of the spectrum compared to your county-based trauma war-zones like Big County (USC) in L.A. or Ben Taub (Baylor) in Houston. BUT, you will operate as much as either of those places - just on elective stuff, rather than trauma/call cases. And meanwhile you won't be bogged down doing the uneducational stuff more appropriate for ancillary staff and nursing.
Location / Housing
The hospital is located in a poor part of Cleveland. Not too far away is University Hospitals (Case), which is in a much better location. Residents can still live in nice neighborhoods and commute short distances, however, and traffic is more than reasonable. There are some satellite hospitals and clinics that require more driving, however, as well as a peds rotation in Akron. Cleveland is a lot of ghetto, but there are also those aforementioned nice neighborhoods that are surprisingly affordable. If you want to live in a grand old house from the bygone era of Rockefellers etc., you can.
Limitations
Operative experience overall may leave you "needing" a fellowship. This isn't just my opinion. I have heard this from many people and seen it first hand to some degree. This is not a research powerhouse but you will have no problem finding opportunities. They don't have many "big names" but they have a few.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
This program blew my mind. I had no idea what to expect coming in, but I came away extremely impressed. The combination of a friendly, learning-focused atmosphere with tons of operating seems hard to beat. Not the best place if you want to be up all night nailing stuff, but otherwise an absolutely stellar program. I didn't match here, but I'm 100% positive I would have loved it.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
fall 2008
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