Review Detail

by John Langland     August 28, 2007    
Overall rating 
Staff Surgeons 
Operating Experience 
Clinical Experience 
Overall Experience 

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.
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.
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.
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.


I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
Summer 2017
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