About the ads

Best "Hidden Gem" program

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology: Eye Physicians & Surgeons' started by idoc, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. SDN is a nonprofit organization. Services are made possible through the generous support of SDN members and sponsors. Thank you.
  1. idoc

    idoc Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Messages:
    109
    SDN 7+ Year Member

    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    Ok, so with interview season luming around the corner, no doubt the topic of which progams to apply to will be coming up. So, to beat the others to the punch, I have decided to pre-emptively strike with this post. I've been reading and contributing to this board for about 5 years now and am currently the chief resident at my program. The topic of which programs "Suck" and which programs are top tier have been beaten into the ground, so I am trying to get the word out about some excellent "hidden gem" programs that people should look at. I will save my list so as not to expose my bias at this point, but I will contribute later. I am curious to hear other peoples opinions.
  2. idoc

    idoc Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Messages:
    109
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Wow. This post has really caught fire! Ok, I'll give my list of programs and let the chips fall where they may.

    University of Kentucky
    University of Alabama, Birmingham
    Wake Forest
    University of Florida, Gainesville

    If you are applying in the south, I would definitely check out these programs, along with the big names if you are so inclined.
    I am currently the chief resident at Univ. of Kentucky, and I couldn't be happier with the experience here. The surgical numbers are ridiculous and the faculty is about as nice as they come. Good luck to all applying.
  3. MR1

    MR1

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2006
    Messages:
    407
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    My two would be Oklahoma and MUSC (Charleston,SC). I might be a little biased for the south as well
  4. Visionary

    Visionary Medical Retinologist

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,198
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Physician SDN 10+ Year Member
    I'll second UAB and even UK, although they did pick idoc as chief! :laugh: Just kidding, man!

    I've heard good things about MUSC and Oklahoma as well. The latter apparently has amazing surgical numbers.

    Other programs that stood out to me on the trail were:
    SLU - despite being "the other program" in St. Louis
    Cincinnati - their PD is nationally involved in resident education development

    and, of course:
    Louisville (my home program, so admittedly biased) - great surgical numbers (~100 cats in just 4 months as a senior at the VA); adding a 4th resident starting 2008; strong in retina and now oculoplastics exposure; recent graduates to Wilmer (retina), Emory (glaucoma), & MEEI (cornea)
  5. Eyescan

    Eyescan

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    24
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    How funny! Louisville was also listed in the list of worst programs in the country! The program director has a good reputation but more than one of the faculty have less than perfect reputations.

    In my opinion, a hidden gem should have at least two faculty members in each subspecialty. I have learned somethings that the 2nd or 3rd faculty member in the sub-specialty was the only person to offer the advice on a particular surgical technique or disease. Some other factors are harder for the medical student to evaluate, such as if the attendings staffing cataract surgery are good teachers or not.
  6. Visionary

    Visionary Medical Retinologist

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,198
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Physician SDN 10+ Year Member
    Regarding your first point, I assume you are referring to a past post on this site, as no one actually publishes a list of worst programs. That being the case, you have to consider the source. Do you believe someone who knows of the program only through heresay or someone who has trained there? Admittedly, Louisville was not well-regarded some years back; however, it has improved by leaps and bounds even since I first applied for residency. I feel I'm receiving excellent training here.

    Now to your second point, what you describe sounds more like a top tier program than a hidden gem. Why don't you educate me (and the rest of the readers) by providing a list of all the programs with at least 2 faculty in each subspecialty (don't forget neuro!) that is not top tier? That would be useful.
  7. nyeyes

    nyeyes Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Houston
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    UMDNJ: great volume, no fellows so residents act as pseudo-fellows for all fields doing all the surg & lasers, great well recognized & multiple faculty in all areas, very academic, hard work is exepected
  8. LASIKguy

    LASIKguy Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Messages:
    34
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Texas Tech - Lubbock, Texas

    Very High volume for retina and cataracts
    Last yr graduates:
    250-300 Class I cataracts
    30-60 Class I vitrectomies and retina procedures
    >100 Lasers, > intravitreal 50 injections - all Class I

    Average numbers in peds, glaucoma, plastics.

    NO fellows to steal any cases!!

    A senior went to a top retina program and impressed everyone by performing retina procedures by himself in his first month - performed a complicated total RD with SB/FGEx/Vit/EL/SO in < 2 hrs and our retina attending got a call.

    A senior went to a top cornea fellowship and impressed them with < 15min cats, prior fellow froma top 10 program was made fun of by everyone since was doing cats in 1 hr.

    Perfect for someone going into cornea or retina !!
  9. Eyescan

    Eyescan

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    24
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Without saying that they are hidden gems, there are a number of programs with at least 2 faculty in most subspecialties, including Oregon, Arkansas, Minnesota, etc.

    MN has 2 neuro, 4 peds, etc.
    AR has 3 neuro, 2 ocular pathologists, etc.
    OR has 3 neuro, etc.

    Since Visionary didn't know (was she being sarcastic??), I suppose they are HIDDEN gems!
  10. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm

    Joined:
    May 8, 2003
    Messages:
    7,532
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    SDN 10+ Year Member
    Hmm, you said 2 faculty in "each" subspecialty; not "most." The reason I bring that up is b/c I think most of us were thinking the same thing that Visionary was. I'd guess that there aren't many programs with 2 faculty in ocular path, neuro, and uveitis.

    Of course, you'll definitely want a program with at least two faculty in cornea and retina. Two faculty in peds, glaucoma, and oculplastics/orbit would also be good.
  11. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm

    Joined:
    May 8, 2003
    Messages:
    7,532
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    SDN 10+ Year Member
    Your retina staff sound great. We get tons of retina cases and have no fellows, but neither of our retina attendings let us do much.
  12. Visionary

    Visionary Medical Retinologist

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,198
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Physician SDN 10+ Year Member
    Interesting. Any particular reason you assumed I am female? Just curious.

    Also, I echo Mirror Form's recent response to your last post. To further clarify, are you referring to full-time faculty only, or do gratis faculty count? We, for instance, have some very involved gratis faculty who contribute a great deal to our program.
  13. Eyescan

    Eyescan

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    24
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I checked Oregon. They have 2 or more full time faculty in ALL subspecialties. Uveitis isn't really a full fledged sub-specialty because some retina people think they know it all.

    Minnesota also had 2 in every sub-specialty until one guy died.

    Ok, Arkansas is missing the 2nd glaucoma person but has 2+ otherwise.

    The 2 faculty rule is merely an objective measure. Without any objective measure, lots of programs claim they are one of the best, especially during interviews. Surgery numbers, while helpful, are sometimes inflated.

    I've operated with several retina, oculoplastics, and peds faculty. All of them operate very differently and have different philosophies. I've worked with several cornea faculty, but they have similar (in my opinion) philosophies. I'd hate to think if I only trained with one of each sub-specialty.
  14. Visionary

    Visionary Medical Retinologist

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,198
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Physician SDN 10+ Year Member
    So your extensive list of programs with 2 or more faculty in each subspecialty that is not considered top-tier is: Oregon? My point was that you would be hard-pressed to meet the 2+ in each subspecialty rule. It's great, when you can get it, but I don't think it's realistic. Better to consider the program as a whole. Does it have any glaring deficiencies? Are the general surgical numbers good? Do the residents feel well-trained upon graduating? If they choose to pursue fellowship training, how successful are they? Are they happy?

    Of course, your observation that exposure to multiple faculty in a particular subspecialty expands your appreciation of that subspecialty is entirely accurate. Keep in mind, however, that your true understanding and future practice standards within the fields you mentioned (retina, oculoplastics, peds, and cornea) will be dependent to a much greater degree on the faculty with whom you train at the fellowship level than the residency level.

    To further clarify, I never promoted my program as "one of the best." You're correct to be suspicious of such a boast, unless it's coming from one of the nationally ranked programs. They have earned that right. I do, however, believe my program merits consideration amongst the less well-recognized programs in the country (i.e., "hidden gems"). Honestly, I have nothing to gain by embelishing. They don't pay me to advertise the program (too bad, there). Moreover, I'll be finished 6/30/08.

    I'll end by saying that future residents look to this site for information and guidance. Please don't put down other programs when you don't have any first-hand knowledge of them. It's low-brow.

Share This Page


About the ads