Review Detail

by John Langland     August 28, 2007    
(Updated: January 01, 2012)
Overall rating 
Staff Surgeons 
Operating Experience 
Clinical Experience 
Overall Experience 

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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.
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.
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.
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.


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