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2016-2017 Psychiatry Interview Reviews

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pyknotic

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That is interesting, since that means there is not very much time to pursue your own interests if the only way to get that is to do a chiefship and research (as these are forced choices). most programs PGY-4s can mostly do whatever they want. i didn't realize that wasnt the case at UCLA.

I'm not sure what is meant by "forced choices" here. Perhaps it would be helpful to explain further.

All PGY-4 residents are expected to do 6 half-days of clinics per week, with an additional half-day of lectures. This leaves 1.5 days for anything you want (most residents use it for moonlighting). Of the 6 half-days, you are able to choose from over 40 different clinics (general outpatient, mood, psychosis, women's, substance, psycho-oncology, CBT, DBT, TMS, therapy, etc.), and as PGY-4's you get priority in selecting which clinics you want.

You are able to get 2 half-days of "clinic credit" towards research, which can be whatever project you wish to pursue. Regarding chiefships, you get an additional 2 half-days of clinic credit. Anyone can do a chiefship in any area they want. Some examples are education chief, psychotherapy chief, telepsychiatry chief, inpatient chief, geriatrics chief, consult-liaison chief, research chief (if you want additional time to do your research), etc.

So overall, at least from the perspective of the residents, there is very much the sense that PGY-4's can mostly do whatever they want.
 
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GlassRose

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I wanted to add a program that I don't think I've seen reviewed on here -- hopefully this is helpful to some people. I'm also hoping some other people to jump in with more reviews before ROL are due -- it's been really quiet in here and these are so helpful, not just now, but for the years to come.

Baystate Medical Center (located in Springfield, MA. Now affiliated with UMass Medical Center)

1. Ease of Communication:
PC very easy to get in touch with and helpful (which is done via Interview Broker -- very easy).

2. Accommodation & Food:

No accommodations provided, but discounts offered to places nearby. No dinner the night before. Lunch the day of the interview was pizza which was catered from their cafeteria -- not great, but not awful. I wish they had done a dinner the night before so we could have mingled with residents outside the hospital.

3. Interview Day (Schedule, Type of Interview, Unusual Questions, Experiences):
Day begins at 8 am; three other applicants there. Bottles of water and granola bars available in PC's office. The morning starts off with a program overview with the PD, Dr. Fischel. He seemed incredibly warm and passionate about their program. 4 interviews total, 3 with faculty and one with chief resident. Interviews were very conversational, nothing strange was asked. Interviews were all in the morning and then we had a hospital tour followed by lunch. Hospital has some old wings, but also has a couple areas that are brand new and quite beautiful. The plan is to update the rest of the hospital to look like the newer sections in the coming future. The hospital has a warm, cozy feel to it with hues of yellow and oranges. The area where we had lunch was an area with ornate, dark woodwork and a very gothic/cathedral-like feel to it. I was disappointed with talking to some of the residents at lunch because they didn't seem terribly enthusiastic about the program (I think this was mostly because they weren't fans of the area). While they cited that they "loved" the program, it didn't go much farther than that. They raved about the attendings there, but it sounded like some classes weren't as close and didn't hang out outside the hospital. (No judgement here on my part one way or another about this, just wanted to point it out.) This is one reason it would have been nice to go out to dinner with them the night before. A couple residents were somewhat local and seemed a lot more enthusiastic about the program/area.

4. Program Overview:
This is a newer program (took its first class of residents in 2009) which has traditionally matched primarily DOs and IMG/FMGs (most likely because this is seen as an undesirable location). Four residents per year. It is an underserved area with a variety of psychopathology. There is a lot of poverty in this area, but also many colleges, so you will see a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and patient demographics. Lots of Spanish-speaking patients. There isn't much research going on here. EMR is Cerner. Baystate used to be affiliated with Tufts, but they recently became affiliated with UMass Medical Center in Worcester. I don't think this changes anything for residents except now UMass students can choose to do some rotations at Baystate now. Large ECT service here and you can elect to spend time with a private practice doc in Amherst who is doing TMS.
PGY1: 2 months inpatient medicine, 1 month outpatient medicine, 1 month emergency medicine, 2 months neuro, 3 months inpatient psych, 1 month geri psych, 1 month addiction, 1 month emergency psych. **Medicine rotations cannot be subbed with any peds rotations
PGY2: 6 months inpatient psych, 3 months CL, 3 months Child and Adolescent (partial program and consulting to outpatient docs) and intro to outpatient psych
PGY3: All outpatient (down the street from the main hospital) 80% adult, 20% child
PGY4: 50% outpatient and 50% elective (with many choices for elective such as ECT, student mental health, women's mental health, and the ability to do rotations at other programs for up to 8 weeks)

Call: This is a unique aspect of the program which may be viewed as either negative or positive by applicants, but they have no overnight in-house call and no nightfloat system. In fact, on the tour, the resident said they don't even have a designated call room for psych in the hospital -- it's in another building somewhere. It's been a while since my interview, so I might not have all the small details exactly right.
PGY1: Generally on call with a senior until 10pm once per week for the months you're on inpatient psych
PGY2: On call about once per week (alone) all year. Stay at the hospital from 10-12 then take the pager home with you. You do not get a post-call day. Apparently most issues can be taken care of over the phone, but if you have to go in, you just have to make sure 8 hours have passed so you are within duty hour restrictions. You end up working about 2 full weekend days per month (8-10ish). Residents said this is an intense year because of the call schedule. They also said that attendings understand (obviously!) if you emailed them telling them you wouldn't be in until a little later if you had a particularly busy night.
PGY3: I think you are primarily covering the consult service on the weekends, from 9-5 one to two times per month
PGY4: Pretty sure there is no scheduled call

Didactics: Protected half-day didactics when on psych and you follow the other services' didactic schedule when you are with them. The also have a cool mindfulness session on mornings when they don't have t-group -- I think these alternate weeks. PGY3's have additional didactic time too, I believe, Unfortunately, I really don't remember much about the psychotherapy training here or how supervision works, but it was cited as being a strength of the program. It's pretty much the standard: get two or so advisors (psychodynamic + CBT) and run cases by them. Didactics third year psychotherapy-specific.

5. Faculty Achievements & Involvement:
Many faculty with impressive training -- MGH, Yale, MUSC, etc. They seem very dedicated to resident education and well-being. Residents cited Dr. Fischel as being very engaged with residents and open to resident feedback about the program.

6. Location & Lifestyle:
I think this program's biggest hurdle is selling the area, so I feel compelled to discuss that a little. For people who aren't familiar with Western Mass, it can come across as a very sleepy, rural area with not a whole lot going on. While I would agree that this area might not be particularly attractive for someone who is looking for a big night life scene (clubbing, etc), it is a wonderful areas for families. I would also argue that it's not a terrible area for someone who is single because there are several colleges/graduate schools in the area -- the five colleges (UMass Amherst, Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith) as well as colleges in Springfield. All the colleges around there make it a fairly young, progressive area. Northampton (which is only about 20 min from the hospital) has amazing restaurants, quirky shops, and a solid nightlife.

Cost of living in the area is incredibly cheap and the salary at Baystate is one of the highest I've seen (more about this later). As for things to do in the area, I'd say outdoor activities are king. There's great hiking, kayaking, and you are a couple hours from great climbing and decent skiing. The Berkshires are beautiful too. Boston is 2 hours away (unless you're driving at warp speed -- don't let people try to tell you it's any closer than that because it's not). Hartford is about 45 minutes. NYC is 2.5 hours away. This means you can live in fairly close proximity to big cities without having to deal with all the hassle associated with them. Springfield has rustic charm to it. Back in the day, it used to be a manufacturing hot-spot, but companies moved out, decimating the area's economy and the city deteriorated greatly. Now these large, abandoned warehouses sit as kind of haunting reminder of when life was prosperous and booming there. Springfield (and towns nearby like Holyoke) didn't fully recover from the closure of the factories, and the main industry in this area is actually the hospital itself which employs more people than any other local company; the local colleges are probably second to that. Many of the old factories are being converted into new businesses, apartments, etc which will be good for the area -- both aesthetically and economically speaking. Several parts of Springfield are notorious for crime and gang activity and political corruption is no stranger here. But there are plenty of areas right outside Springfield that are very safe and very nice to live in. There's also some nice areas right across the border in CT.

7. Salary & Benefits:
  • $58,900 PGY1 to $66,800 PGY4
  • 4 week vacation, 5 sick days
  • Adoption support, 3k per adoption with a limit of two adoptions per year (I am only mentioning this because I think I saw a specific question asked about it before on SDN and it seems very unique)
  • Moonlighting can start PGY3 for US grad and PGY4 for IMG/FMG
  • 2.5k yearly "educational stipend", but unsure what you can use that money
8. Program Strengths:
  • Well-trained faculty very interested in resident well-being and education, wonderful PD
  • Diverse psychopathology
  • Early outpatient exposure, pick up psychotherapy patients starting PGY2
  • Ability to tailor your third and fourth years to your interests
  • Lots of great outdoors-y things to do in the area
  • Very low cost of living + high salary makes for a comfortable residency (great area for families)
  • Cool intellectual, retro, Earthy vibe in this part of MA
9. Potential Weaknesses:
  • The area will be the biggest downside to most applicants
  • Home call set up with no post-call day seems less than ideal (that said, I'm sure you get very good at triaging so you don't have to go back to the hospital)
  • Not much in the way of research
  • Many residents seemed less than enthusiastic about being there citing it was "the match" that brought them (again, I think this has more to do with the area than the program itself because they said they enjoyed the program)
10. Overall Impression:
A good program in an area which will turn off most people. I think you'd get solid training here and see very interesting psychopathology. The PD and other faculty I met seemed wonderfully friendly, down to Earth and eager to put Baystate's residency on the psychiatric map. Not sure why they don't do a traditional call schedule or nightfloat system as it seems like their current system could make for a brutal second year (perhaps residents prefer this?). Very small residency size as well as a small department which might not be for everyone.

I apologize if there are any errors, I interviewed here a while back and my notes are vague at best. Best of luck everyone!
 
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BabyPsych

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Hi all, please excuse the lack of detail on some of the items but most of the things I leave out are details you should be able to find online or in your interview packet (or simply weren't things that were relevant to me and so I paid less attention to them).

1. Ease of Communication: No issues

2. Accommodation & Food: No accommodations provided, I did AirBnb. Breakfast and lunch were both quite good.

3. Interview Day (Schedule, Type of Interview, Unusual Questions, Experiences):
Started off with intro by PD and APD. They talked a lot about their personal journeys to psych, which I enjoyed but I can see how some wouldn't like it as much. PD has a strong research background, APD is very interested in education. They both seemed really invested in the program and repeatedly noted how they sought resident feedback and were continuously trying to improve the program (residents voiced the same). Interviewed with APD but not PD; you could definitely see the psychoanalyst in him, he wasn't shy about asking what could be considered blunt or personal questions, but in a non-judgemental way, and nothing that made me feel at all uncomfortable.

Other interviews were good/standard. Inpatient and outpatient facilities seemed standard, nothing that blew me away but also nothing that I saw as being lacking or poor from what I saw.

6. Location & Lifestyle:
-Upper East Side of Manhattan - really nice area, close to central park.
-It's NYC, which you're probably either into or not.
-Housing is subsidized but still pricey (one resident quoted 2k$/month for a 1 bedroom). There are multiple options for the subsidized housing, which is assigned on a lottery basis. Residents said they thought most everyone who wanted housing got it, but not necessarily their top pick. All housing was within 10-15 minutes walking distance of the hospital. Again per residents, almost all the housing options had amenities like 24 hr doorman and on-site laundry.
-Residents all said they had a good QOL despite COL.

7. Salary & Benefits:
-Standard salary and benefits package from what I could tell. Subsidized housing as mentioned above.

My General comments/experiences/overall impression:
-APD and PD talked at length about how they view residency as a time to figure out what you want to specialize in within psychiatry, and they really emphasized flexibility. Did not seem like big fans of teaching med management in outpatient setting, and one resident mentioned that if you wanted to learn how to do complex med management you are going to have to seek that out for yourself. I appreciated the flexibility, but it did leave me slightly worried that there wasn't a solid foundation of training underneath.
-Residents all seemed very happy, seemed to sincerely love the program. As a group, probably middle of the road in terms of cohesiveness. I felt like I "clicked" with many of the residents and like I could easily fit in.
-Residents reported that most faculty were invested in education
-For both faculty and residents, lots of bright, interesting people who are passionate about their particular field; potential trade-off might be that you silo off early into your own area of interest and self-limit exposure to things you haven't done before.
-It was hard to get a handle on how the recent merger affected things. Most people said that it was overall good and that it just resulted in more training opportunities, however, some residents didn't seem that enthusiastic about it. One resident outright said that things with the merger had been chaotic, and that environment/training at the inpatient child psych unit, which is off-campus, was not good(which was particularly disappointing for me as I have a strong interest in child - we did not tour the unit); and generally that the program's competitiveness had more to do with location than the actual quality of the training.
-Pt population is both Upper East Side and Harlem, so lots of patient diversity
-Strong support for research, but also got the feeling like you would really have to seek out your own mentorship here if its something you wanted to pursue

Overall, I had really positive vibe from almost everyone I interacted with, and I want to rank the program highly. However, I was left with some lingering concerns: 1) Does the emphasis on flexibility come at the expense of a strong foundational training in psychiatry? and 2) What is the real story in terms of how the merger is affecting resident training?

If anyone has any other insight into this program, especially the two points listed above, I would greatly appreciate it, either in reply or PM.
 
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BabyPsych

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Cincinnati--

I just want to add my own two cents to the already existing reviews from this year and last year, as they are pretty detailed and accurate - but I feel there are some pros that have been overlooked.

Facilities:
I got a chance to tour the free-standing inpatient child psych hospital, and in my opinion, it was really incredible. Sensory rooms and specific units for kids with ASD, play areas, and they even have horse stables for equine therapy (whaaat?!). The Children's Hospital, in my opinion, is also incredible. The new adult inpatient psych unit seemed solid, nothing mind blowing, but certainly better and nicer than many places.

Research:
-Children's has three large, separate buildings dedicated to research (basic, translational, and clinical), two of which are very new and state of the art. I didn't get to go inside them, but they were pointed out on tour and the list of resources the tour guide rattled off was impressive.
-Tons of funding available through Children's, but I'm unsure how you might take advantage of this if you're doing purely adult psych research.

City/lifestyle:
-I was pleasantly surprised by Cincinnati. I had never been to Ohio before, and I applied purely based on the rep for Children's assuming they would have a strong child psych program (which they do). I mostly thought it was going to be kind of boring and cold, but the city has been undergoing lots of revitalization and there really seemed like a lot to do there, museums, many music venues and an active concert scene, theaters. To me it felt like a big city, although of course nothing compared to places like NYC or LA.
-The restaurant they take you to for the dinner leaves a lot to be desired, but other restaurants in the city I explored on my own time were much better. There is a neighborhood called OTR that has undergone a lot of gentrification and it's very hipster, lots of people in their 20's and 30's.
-City culture seems pretty extroverted, like friendly Midwestern extrovert, which isn't quite my thing but it's certainly not enough to turn me off the city
-Really cheap to live there and lots of affordable areas within reasonable commuting distance of the training sites.

Residents and faculty (and generally what others have said):
-Some faculty seemed very passionate and invested in what they were doing and in training residents, but there was a lack of specifics in some areas that made the program not seem as unique or strong.
-The other residents were honestly the biggest turn-off for me. Many of them seemed bored/disinterested, not just with the interviewees, but also with their own training and livelihood. None of them seemed passionate about what they were doing. A common theme seemed to be residents that acted friendly but it came off as pretty insincere. There were disparaging comments made about patients that made me feel very uncomfortable (I understand that people need to vent, but some of the things they said definitely went beyond your standard venting). The residents also didn't seem very cohesive.
-I DID meet residents who seemed genuinely nice and who I could see working well with, but they were the exception rather than the rule.

Overall: This seems like a dream program especially for those interested in child psych, except for the people you would be training with. These are the people you would spend the vast majority of your waking hours with, so it's hard to ignore that fact, even if the training is otherwise excellent. For me personally, I don't have friends or family anywhere close to Cincinnati, so the idea of feeling alone for the next 3-5 years (with the idea of staying for fellowship) doesn't sound great to me.

I would love to hear if anyone has had different experiences with the program, as I am struggling with where to put this one on my rank list. Interviews are just a snapshot and I don't want to judge the whole program based on just the handful of residents I interacted with.
 

clozareal

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UCLA-Semel - Los Angeles, CA

1. Ease Of Communication:
MyERAS message on in early November with 6 interview dates to choose from in Dec – Jan. Scheduled through the ERAS interview scheduler. This was one of my last interview invitations I received.

2. Accommodation & Food:
Stayed with friends in the area. No accommodations provided.

3. Interview Day (Schedule, Type of Interview, Unusual Questions, Experiences):
Day started at 9am, which was much later than other days. Be sure to read the parking instructions carefully and look at the map; it’s a confusing campus! I used valet to park because it was raining during my interview day and didn’t want to walk far. When I arrived, each person had a nice folder and they included a colored facesheet with photos with names/schools of all the other applicants interviewing that day.

Introduction and orientation was given by the chief residents. One of the APDs came to give an introduction as well, which was focused on the hospital systems at UCLA and how psychiatry fits into it. The welcome by Dr. Spar was pretty short with 15 mins. Chair of Psychiatry was not even mentioned during the interview day and didn’t stop by to say hello like they did at most other programs. I had 2 interviews in the morning and 1 interview in the afternoon. I’m not sure if they tried to fit my interests with my interviewers because I didn’t really think it matched up well. Everyone interviews with either of the APDs or the PD, but only one of the three. There was a lunch with the residents, which was highly attended (I think it’s required for residents to come to it?) and we had delicious Indian food. After lunch, we took a tour of the West LA VA, which is enormous and looked pretty nice until we got to the psych ward, which looked like dark jail cells with barred and rail fenced doors. There are 35 psych beds at the VA. No dedicated psych ED at the VA. Some of us interviewed during the VA tour and they took the rest to a meditation garden at the VA which had a nice view of LA.

Last interview was in the afternoon. All interviews were conversational and they had read all my application. After all the interviews ended, we took a tour of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, which is one of the most gorgeous hospitals I’ve been to. There are 74 psych beds at Ronald Reagan, which they claimed was full at all times. There are also 25 child beds.

After the interview day ended, they took us to an extremely trendy place within walking distance for happy hour with really fancy food (lobster rolls, ahi tuna guacamole, wagyu sliders, etc.) to be expected of a program in Los Angeles. The happy hour was well attended by the residents and program directors, with probably more than a dozen of people from the program there.

4. Program Overview:
This is a program that allows you the flexibility to carve out your future career during residency with strong faculty and administration. Residents here seemed to work hard but also had lots of time off to pursue their own interests.

PGY1 – Psychiatry: 2m geri at UCLA, 2m inpt at VA (cap of 5 pts), 1m EM psych at Harbor, 2x2wks of night float at UCLA paired with 2 weeks of vacation each. Medicine all at the VA: 1m inpatient (golden/black/silver weekends), 1m ED, 2m outpt, 2m neuro. Harbor track intern has their entire PGY1 at Harbor-UCLA. Protected didactic time 2x/week
PGY2 – inpt psych at UCLA 5 blocks (psychosis/psych ICU 2 blocks, mood 2 blocks, dual diagnosis 1 block), VA inpt 4 blocks, CL/ER 3 blocks, C&A 2 blocks, night float 1 block from 10pm-8am (with 5-8am being backup call). Protected didactic time 2x/week
PGY3/4 – Kind of confusing… they had 4 categories that you had to complete. Every resident has to do 1) outpatient, then 2) two of either mood, psychotic, or anxiety and one of specialty clinic (women’s, child, HIV, Asian/Pacific, etc.) vs CL or substance abuse, and then 3) community psych. Global health can be done in 4th year and they would pay your salary while you are gone. LOTS of electives. There are 50+ different clinic/seminar elective opportunities that you can do with world-renowned faculty.

Call:
PGY1 – q5d call; No call on Med ER, Medicine + Habor Psych ER you take call with your team depending on the number of members on your team. Night float 2 weeks
-UCLA call: weekday 5-10pm, weekend (fri/sat) 5pm-8am the next morning.
-VA call: weekday 5-10pm, weekend 5pm-8am. Sunday home call 3-10pm and you come in only if PGY2 contacts you.
PGY2 - q7-8; weekdays 5PM-8AM at VA and weekends 8AM-8AM. 5pm-8AM at UCLA occasionally on Fridays; 3 weeks of night float (10PM - 8AM)
PGY3 - q14; until 10PM at UCLA, no overnight call
PGY4 - No call

Fellowships: they have CAP, Geriatrics, addiction, mood, palliative, sleep, and they’re starting a forensics fellowship this year.

Psychotherapy training:
UCLA-Semel is the king of outpatient psychiatry in all of California. They were once known to not be friendly to psychotherapy, but I believe that has been changing over the last two years with the PCFA stepping in. They have an unbelievable amount of specialty clinics dedicated to almost every type of psychiatric disorder, patient population, and therapy type. In terms of clinics, they also have an anxiety disorders clinic, partial hospitalization program, OCD outpatient day program, Intensive Short Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Clinic, Eating Disorders Clinic, Women's Life Clinic, VA HIV Clinic, Psycho-Oncology Clinic, Post Deployment Clinic, and many many more. The psychotherapy modalities you have access to include the standard dynamic, interpersonal, CBT, supportive, DBT (although Harbor-UCLA is probably stronger in this), parent training, family therapy, motivational interviewing and brief psychotherapy, but they also have the less common ones such as hypnotherapy, dream analysis (is this for real?), mentalization, ISTDP-AB, couples therapy, sex therapy, and any of the psychoanalytic institutes in LA (NCP, ICP, PCC, LAIPS, Jung) as well as the 450+ private practice faculty affiliated with UCLA (the Psychiatric Clinical Faculty Association). Psychotherapy cases are required in PGY3 and consist of at least 2 patients, one in CBT and the other in Dynamic with at least 42 sessions in this year. This is not including the 2 half days you have off in PGY3 to do whatever you want, and 3 half days off in PGY4.

However, 50% of residents start in PGY2, and some start in PGY-1 as long as you can find a mentor which isn't difficult at all. There is therapy for both adult and child although the adult psychotherapy is much stronger. In terms of quality, residents are supervised through a one-way mirror by a faculty member during psychotherapy sessions, and if you aren't seeing patients in that way, then many residents will record their session and review them with psychotherapy faculty, which I believe is the best way to get better at psychotherapy is to have someone give constructive feedback on what you're doing right and wrong during your interview.

5. Faculty Achievements & Involvement:
Extremely well-accomplished faculty in pretty much every single realm of psychopathology. Dr. Stephen Marder is a world-expert in schizophrenia and has helped people launch academic careers. He is the Director for the MIRECC which is a national research fellowship at the VA as well as the Director for the UCLA Psychosis Clinic. Dr. Spar (PD) created one of the first geriatric units in the country at UCLA. Dr. Whybrow (Chair) is a world leader in depression and bipolar. Dr. James McGough is famous in the ADHD research circles. Dr. James McCracken is a world expert on child and adolescent anxiety disorders and OCD. This is just hitting the tip of the iceberg at the wealth of academic faculty that you would learn from here.

One of the big strengths of the program is the Psychiatric Clinical Faculty Association (PCFA), which is a group of 450 private practice psychiatrists in LA who volunteer their time to host events at their beach homes and teach/supervise residents psychotherapy. It's also a great organization to tie you into the private practice network in Los Angeles for career opportunities after graduation. Many of these faculty are retiring and they are looking for young enthusiastic residents to take over their patient panel. It's said that graduates typically fill up their private practice patient panel within 2 years. The PCFA has been hosting a Therapy Retreat at a beach home for 2 years now and is part of their budget to keep conducting this since residents seemed to love this.

6. Location & Lifestyle:
Most of your rotations will be in Westwood at Ronald Reagan and WLAVA. This is mainly a quiet college town, but there are grocery stores, restaurants, etc. all in walking distance if you choose to live in Westwood. Many residents live in Santa Monica, Venice, Brentwood, and West Hollywood. If you think about the California Los Angeles stereotype, this is the program that fits that mold best compared to the other LA programs. The cost of living is all over the place because LA offers both high end and cheaper options.

7. Salary & Benefits:
Moonlighting is mostly done externally starting PGY3. You can moonlight at other hospitals, county outpatient clinics like the skid row clinic downtown, Edelman Westside, or Venice Family Health, emergency rooms, psych urgent care center, rehab faciltiies, and private practice offices. The pay is about $125-175/hr with the average being $150/hr, which you can do half-day blocks (you have 2 half-day blocks PGY3 and 3 in PGY4). This is probably among the highest I’ve seen. Given my interest in public psychiatry and underserved populations, one of my worries is that I wouldn’t have that much exposure to this population outside of the VA if I come here, but there are ample moonlighting opportunities around LA to get exposure to this AND get paid for it.

PGY1 – $53,947
PGY2 – $55,736
PGY3 – $57,925
PGY4 – $60,211

Medical benefits for residents and dependents at no cost with no copay on office visits and prescriptions are free of charge. Life and long-term disability insurance also provided at no cost to residents.

Meal stipend: $1100 in PGY1 and 2, $600 for PGY3
Academic Enrichment fund: $800 per year, +$200 per consult seen on back-up call
Personal allowance: $1000 per year
Vacation: 4 weeks (20 work days) per year.
Sick leave: 12 days per year
Maternity leave: 2 weeks per year
Paternity leave: 1 week per year
Protected conference days: 5 days per year, with travel underwritten
Psychotherapy: $35/hr from the New Center for Psychoanalysis
Resident Retreat: 3 day, 2 night retreat at Lake Arrowhead
UCLA Recreation: gym pass for $17 per month (all gyms, fitness classes, pools, rock walls, golf practice areas)
Housing allowance: NONE (UCLA’s programs are the only UC residencies not to offer housing allowance).
Moving allowance: $2500 one time
Parking: not covered at UCLA but is covered at WLAVA

8. Program Strengths:
• Access to world-renowned faculty who provide a high quality of clinical training
• Extremely flexible schedule to do whatever you’d like to do
• Incredible outpatient elective opportunities in very specific patient
• PCFA private practice psychiatry network so you can start your own private practice if there is someone retiring who’d like to gradually trust you with their patient panel and given the apprenticeship of psychotherapy training, access to some of the best psychotherapists in LA
• Extremely cohesive group of residents who have impressive backgrounds
• Breadth and quality of research is astounding and will provide anyone who wants an academic career with limitless opportunities.
• The diversity of people and things to do in LA, including some amazing food, fantastic weather, and tons of outdoor activities which include having the beach right there
• UCLA has a fantastic child daycare program that is only available to UCLA faculty
• High moonlighting pay and time off to be able to do it

9. Potential Weaknesses:
• No housing stipend which almost every other top psych program had in CA
• No structured county hospital experience other than 1 month of ED or if you are Harbor track; can moonlight for this however
• Cost of living in Los Angeles as well as traffic, which isn’t much of a concern if you stay on the west side which most people do anyways
• Residents said that their didactics could be improved upon. They said this everywhere though so I’m not sure how much to take this into account
• You'll need to be a self-starter since there are so many opportunities that you can really get lost in the fray

10. Overall Impression:
This is a top notch program that will allow anyone to carve out any kind of career they’d like, especially those who are interested in an academic career, private practice, and administrative leadership. The breadth and intensity of the clinical training makes this residency training program among the best in California, if not the country. I've interviewed at the top programs on the east coast and UCLA is definitely on par with them while still maintaining the chill SoCal vibe.
 
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clozareal

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University of Southern California (LAC+USC) - Los Angeles, CA

1. Ease of Communication:
MyERAS message first week of October with 5 dates from Nov 10 to Jan 12 to choose from, asking me to rank 2. The dates were only Thursdays and Fridays. Easy to schedule. I had to reschedule and that was easy as well. Happy hour email came the day before the happy hour, which was annoying.

2. Accommodation & Food:
Happy hour was at a really nice Italian restaurant (Casa Nostra Ristorante) and was very well attended by the residents and applicants. Alcohol not covered. We had a pastry and fruit breakfast with coffee and Mexican food for lunch (tacos, chips). No accommodations provided but list of hotels nearby was given. No USC discount.

3. Interview Day (Schedule, Type of Interview, Unusual Questions, Experiences):
Lots of applicants (16-18?). Half had the tour in the morning and half had interviews and then it switched for the afternoon. Orientation was given by the program directors and the chair, and they made an effort to get to know each of our interests. Had a cool video of why residents liked the program. The chair (Dr. Steven Siegel) is pretty new (<1 year) and his goal is to increase resident publications in clinical (not basic) research. He said that residents run high-quality research and quality improvement projects, but have trouble with closing the loop and publishing them.

I had an interview with a resident, one of the PDs/APDs, the Chair, and a faculty member. One of the interviews asked some unusual questions (what Disney character would you be?) and the chair also asked formatted questions to each applicant (Why psychiatry? What are you hoping to learn in the next 3-5 years? How would those two things help you accomplish your future goals).

The tour of the facilities was the longest one yet (2+ hours?). We toured LA County and Keck Hospital. Both seemed like fantastic institutions that were nicer than I had imagined. They showed us a video of Hawkin’s, which is the adult and child inpatient facilities in Compton, about 12-miles south and has 62 beds total. Looks pretty old and rundown. Heard they were supposed to do renovations? Maybe it was already done. LA County does not have inpatient psychiatry units and has 24 Consult-Liaison beds.

4. Program Overview:
• PGY-1: 2m psych, 2m non-psych alternating (6 days 6:30am-5:30pm, 1-3 admissions every day, full patient load as other interns). 1m dedicated QI/Research
• PGY-2: same services as PGY1 but teaching role
• PGY-3: Outpatient, 4 supervisors, 4-6 therapy cases (CBT or Dynamic), will carry 90-100 cases, can moonlight after 4 months of 3rd year (no one I talked to moonlighted)
• PGY-4: Mostly electives (7.5 months), 1m child crisis, 0.5 months community psych, 3 months supervisory role. No call.

1x/m of a process group with the other residents
1x/2m of a faculty process group

The facilities were pretty impressive, especially for a county program. It’s a gigantic campus and it took 2 hours for the whole tour. My fitness tracker recorded 5 miles walked just from the interview day. LAC is almost a brand new building, and Keck hospital is also pretty new. When I interviewed here for med school 4 years ago, there were only half the buildings here that I saw during the interview day. There are courts on site which is nice. Residency class is becoming more and more impressive with each year.

There is no inpatient psychiatry at LAC+USC hospital. All of the inpatient care is done at the Augustus Hawkins Mental Health Center, which is about 12-miles south of downtown LA in Compton. Anyone who’s lived in LA knows how long a 12-mile drive can take in LA… There are 33 beds for the adult teaching wards and 10 beds for adolescent with residents carrying 5-6 patients. Lots of medical student teaching since they also rotate here. Night float is also done here on-site.

The emergency psychiatry is in LA County Hospital. You do shifts from 8-5pm or 3-11pm. The C/L service has their own 24-bed ward that is co-managed by psych and internal medicine. The rotation includes outpatient ECT treatment. Geriatric Psych rotation is at West LA VA, which is 15-miles west through LA, again a nightmare of a drive through downtown LA. Ambulatory psychiatry is in the Clinic Tower at LA County. You evaluate 1-2 new patients weekly and have a caseload of about 90-100 patients with 4-6 ongoing psychotherapy cases. The psychotherapy training is decent with 3 separate supervisors (CBT, dynamics, pharm) for outpatient years.

Research: The Chair (new since September 2016) stated outright that their psychiatry program will NOT be doing basic or translational science. He said he could discuss why but didn’t go into it. When I met with him, he remarked that residents often start research projects but rarely end up publishing them, which he wants to change. He seems incredibly ambitious and said that he was bringing in lots of new faculty with his “Chair’s Package” (money to hire new faculty?). I got the feeling as if there’s some dissention among faculty, but I couldn’t really pinpoint it.

Unique Aspect: this program had an extremely strong focus on quality improvement and most residents will present their projects at national conferences. You can also do an elective in administrative and public policy by the LAC Dept of Mental Health.

5. Faculty Achievements & Involvement:
Lots of faculty involved in clinical research. No clinical neuroscience or basic science for psychiatry due to institutional policy.

6. Location & Lifestyle:
LAC+USC is immediately east of downtown Los Angeles, 5-10 mins away by car. Lots of residents live downtown or in Pasadena. There’s beautiful weather year round, tons of cultural diversity, a little further from the beach than the other LA programs (other than UCLA-SFV which arguably isn’t in LA), lush mountains, and lots of entertainment (shows, plays, live screenings, comedy, celebrity events, theater, sports, etc.).

7. Salary & Benefits:
Unionized residency.

PGY1 - $52,002
PGY2 - $57,601
PGY3 - $62,412
PGY4 - $67,256

Moonlighting starts after 4 months of PGY3.
Bonus: $2000 for starting 2nd year
Meals: $10 per meal, $28 per day at LAC+USC, reimbursed $25/day off-campus
Parking: no cost at LAC+USC
Vacation: 24 days, can have up to 40+ days since federal holidays are observed at a county hospital
Sick Leave: 8 days
Maternity leave: “Available” ???
Paternal leave: “Available”
Medical/Dental benefits: Given choices; resident + dependents have to pay
Life insurance: $2000 term policy
Long-Term Disability Insurance: None

8. Program Strengths:
• Family feel with cohesive residents and incredibly supportive faculty.
• Intense community and public psychiatry in an underserved setting
• Forensics and C/L fellowship seem strong here
• Emergency psychiatry is top notch with 3 psychiatrists as faculty there at all times
• Some people hate Los Angeles, but I enjoy the diversity, food culture, and weather here. LA can get overrated and the traffic can get soul crushing at times.
• Diverse training environments: Private (Keck), Public (LA County), and VA (West LA VA) although the exposure to Keck and VA are minimal in the schedule structure
• Lots of vacation time

9. Potential Weaknesses:
• Lack of neuroscience curriculum
• Driving from downtown LA to the other sites would crush my soul every day
• Psychotherapy training probably isn’t their strong point
• Lack of subspecialty clinics and electives
• Lower benefits/salary than many other CA programs, moonlighting starts in second half of 3rd year
• Not a lot of internal fellowships
• No separate research track, no basic/translational science for those interested
• They have immense potential with their county population, but they advertised very minimal unique resident training or delivery of care models specific to this population as other county/underserved programs did (i.e., Harbor-UCLA, UCSF, CHA, NYU, Columbia).

10. Overall impression: This is a solid clinical training program with great faculty support and a cohesive residency class. Nothing really stood out to me other than the county population, but nothing was really a big negative either. I’d probably rank this in the lower third of my list.
 

inquiringmind1

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I have heard some things about UCI (University of California, Irvine) regarding unhappy residents and issues with the administration. Anyone who interviewed there have any thoughts?
 
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clozareal

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I have heard some things about UCI (University of California, Irvine) regarding unhappy residents and issues with the administration. Anyone who interviewed there have any thoughts?

I went into my interview thinking that too but couldn't find any evidence of that. The medical students from UCI also said that the residents are definitely NOT unhappy and they, in fact, hang out a lot outside of work. I think having a new PD and Chair has a big part in solidifying some of the grumblings regarding the administration. I interviewed with some new faculty there who seemed to be pretty sharp and extremely nice. I know they had problems with the administration before, so I think the dust at UCI has definitely (and finally) settled down.
 

sazerac

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I went into my interview thinking that too but couldn't find any evidence of that. The medical students from UCI also said that the residents are definitely NOT unhappy and they, in fact, hang out a lot outside of work. I think having a new PD and Chair has a big part in solidifying some of the grumblings regarding the administration. I interviewed with some new faculty there who seemed to be pretty sharp and extremely nice. I know they had problems with the administration before, so I think the dust at UCI has definitely (and finally) settled down.
Agreed.

There is a resident-only dinner where you can ask about these kinds of issues. According to my notes "new staff, happy residents" sums it up nicely.
 

Lisa1992

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I went into my interview thinking that too but couldn't find any evidence of that. The medical students from UCI also said that the residents are definitely NOT unhappy and they, in fact, hang out a lot outside of work. I think having a new PD and Chair has a big part in solidifying some of the grumblings regarding the administration. I interviewed with some new faculty there who seemed to be pretty sharp and extremely nice. I know they had problems with the administration before, so I think the dust at UCI has definitely (and finally) settled down.

Residents I spoke with said the new PD is malignant and they seemed very unhappy with the new administration and program in general. There were some applicants I met at Loma Linda who said they were told by the residents at UCI to avoid the program at all costs.
 
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clozareal

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Residents I spoke with said the new PD is malignant and they seemed very unhappy with the new administration and program in general. There were some applicants I met at Loma Linda who said they were told by the residents at UCI to avoid the program at all costs.

That's funny because the applicants I met at Loma Linda were told by the residents that they were extremely happy. Some of the med students who did a rotation there corroborated this, stating that the residents loved hanging out with each other and do so frequently. UCI med students typically have had a large proportion of their class wanting to match into psychiatry, which might be a clue that their psychiatry rotation is good.

The new PD seems pretty awesome to me. He is a little eccentric (but most PDs are eccentric in their own way) but made it clear he is super excited to be program director.
 
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inquiringmind1

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That's funny because the applicants I met at Loma Linda were told by the residents that they were extremely happy. Some of the med students who did a rotation there corroborated this, stating that the residents loved hanging out with each other and do so frequently. UCI med students typically have had a large proportion of their class wanting to match into psychiatry, which might be a clue that their psychiatry rotation is good. They also said that the residents are really happy with their quality of life.


Well I will tell you what heard from a few residents during the resident dinner I attended. I was told The ACGME survey results for 2016 were some of the lowest in the country among psych programs and that there have been multiple meetings with residents and the GME office regarding an overall dissatisfaction with the program, specifically the program director. On the flipside, the residents do appear to get along well. I want to do my residency in CA so it will certainly be on my rank list but definitely not high.
 
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clozareal

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UCLA San Fernando Valley (SFV) - Los Angeles, CA

1. Ease Of Communication:
MyERAS message early October with interview scheduling through the new MyERAS Interview Scheduler, which I’m not sure why more schools don’t use it because it’s super easy to use on my end. There were 26 interview dates from 10/25 – 1/25. Very little information in the initial email with no info about itinerary, dinner beforehand, travel, or housing options. Informed the night before my interview day of happy hour the evening after my interview, which was annoying. The happy hour was 15 miles away in LA traffic at 5:30pm rush hour in the opposite direction of where I needed to go after, which I wish they would have told us much earlier. I didn’t go, but I heard from another applicant that 3 residents showed up and maybe 3 applicants (out of 12) did too.

2. Accommodation & Food:
No accommodations. No list of places to stay. Lunch was cold, stale cheese pizza and soggy Caesar salad “soup.”

3. Interview Day (Schedule, Type of Interview, Unusual Questions, Experiences):
Interview day started at 8:15am in a building behind the Sepulveda VA with a presentation from a black and white printout of a PowerPoint presentation. Many applicants had some pages missing or pages upside down or a giant packet with double the pages. After the orientation at 9am, I started with the tour of Olive View and one of the residents drove us in a van over there. We met in these old creaky military barracks where the physicians back in the day used to live, but now they’re physician’s offices. I had my first interview there and it was extremely awkward. I got the stoic “I’m not showing you any emotion” and “let me dig into your childhood history for any emotional trauma and pry it out of there” questions. The facility seemed like a standard hospital. The emergency room had a few separate rooms but most of it was in one large “fish bowl” as they call it. The psych ward seemed standard too, nothing too flashy or too run down.

We then drove to the Psychiatric Urgent Care Center in Sylmar, which was extremely nice (the facility, not Sylmar which is a mostly bad area). Then we drove back and I had my tour of the Sepulveda VA, which is where they filmed the outside of Gray’s Anatomy. Nice hospital where you spend most of your time. Lunch came around and we ate our cold stale pizza lunch with soggy salad drowning in ranch (as you can tell I was not a fan of the lunch). I had 4 interviews in the afternoon, each for 30 mins. Several of the applicants had their interviewers no show, so the chiefs were trying to find someone to interview us. This meant they had not read our applications at all. Each applicant interviewed with the program director, who basically kept asking “any questions,” “any more questions” and then answering with terse responses (multiple applicants had the same experience I did). The APD was a bit nicer but also pretty short – my interview was supposed to be 30 minutes, I spent all of 5-10 minutes with her. Apparently the PD and APD only work half days every day, which makes me somewhat uncomfortable in terms of support from the administration.

This is something they also didn’t mention: every resident who met an applicant gets to decide how to rank them, and this rank list is then compared to the faculty one and then merged. This means that all your conversations at lunch, dinner, the tour, etc are part of the interview.

4. Program Overview:
Program has a mix between academics and community psychiatry between UCLA (private hospital even though it’s a public institution), Sepulveda VA, and Olive View (county). Olive View is a county hospital that sees some of the sickest patients in a huge catchment area of northern LA. You spend a few months at UCLA-Semel and the West LA VA alongside those residents as well as the USC residents at the WLAVA.

PGY1 – psych: 2m inpt at UCLA-Semel, 2m inpt at WLAVA, 3m inpt at Olive View, 1m psych ER at olive view; medicine: 1m outpt neuro at Olive View, 2m inpt at Olive View, 2 mo outpatient med at Sep VA
PGY2 – 50% inpt and 50% outpt; 2m OV inpt psych, 2m UCLA inpt psych, 2m outpt neuro at Sep VA, 1m psych ER at OV, 3m OV C&L, 3m PACE C&L (primary care)
PGY3 – 50% inpt and 50% outpt; 2m outpt CDTU, 2m outpt geriatrics, 2m urent care (which is a level of care immediately below going to the ED), 3m UCLA inpt child, 3m SFMHC outpatient child
PGY4 - Required continuity clinics - mood disorders, college counseling at cal state northridge, psychotherapy. The rest of creating your own electives and chief residency. You can create electives at NPI (or VA, olive view, SFV county, etc) so if you want you do an entire year at NPI outside of the required continuity clinics.

Call:
PGY1: WLAVA 1wk NFx2 (5pm-8am, 5 nights), OVMC Fri 4pm-8am ER, sat 8am-12pm, sun 8am-8pm, extra senior to help for the first 2 months
PGY2: 2 shifts/month: WLAVA M-F 5pm-8am, OVMC Fri 4pm-8am, Sat 8am-8am (24 hr), Sun 8am-8pm (24 hr)
PGY3: 1 shift/month (same, even lighter since you are supervising interns)
PGY4: no call, but 1 Saturday supervisorial role

5. Faculty Achievements & Involvement:
You’d probably be more exposed to VA/community attendings, but definitely have access to UCLA-NPI attendings.

6. Location & Lifestyle:
They claim they are in LA, but really they are in the Valley which is more inexpensive than LA. Many residents live in Northridge, Pasadena, and all along the 405 freeway. The VA closes at 4pm so you’ll get out by then at the latest starting 2nd year. Many residents have at least one afternoon a week off and most of the time they get out by 2-3pm. It sounds like a program that would be very conducive to having a family or enjoying your time outside of work.

7. Salary & Benefits:
Same as UCLA-NPI it seems like. How come UCLA-SFV is similar to Semel but Harbor-UCLA isn’t I wonder?

PGY1: $52,941
PGY2: $54,696
PGY3: $56,845
PGY4: $59,089

Medical/Dental: no cost to resident or dependents, no copays or prescription charges.
Life Insurance: provided at no cost to resident
Long-term Disability: provided at no cost to resident
Vacation Policy: 20 work days per year
Sick Leave: 12 work days per year
Moonlighting: starts PGY-2. They encourage you to do moonlighting esp internally since they don't have extensive call schedule to provide coverage. Earn $85, $100, or $125/hr depending on which shift you take.

8. Program Strengths:
• Diversity of patients with access to a county population (Olive View), private insurance population (UCLA), and the VA (WLAVA and Seplveda VA)
• Early psychotherapy training with continuity of care from PGY2-4, can see same patient in outpatient setting for all 3 years
• Access to UCLA-Semel for electives
• Psychiatric Urgent Care is unique
• Moonlighting starts 2nd year although pays pretty low
• Great work/life balance
• Great weather with lots of activities nearby

9. Potential Weaknesses:
• Heavily VA based training all 4 years
• Driving to the other sites, especially within the same day in LA traffic
• Interview day was not good experience for me
• Sounds like a low budget program, which is starkly different than UCLA-NPI
• Half-time PD and APD

10. Overall Impression:
I did not have the greatest interview day experience, so that probably clouds my impression a bit. I didn’t particularly click with my interviewers and met only about 4-5 residents in total so I couldn’t get a good sense on whether they are actually happy here, but other applicants have said they are. I do not get the sense that this program is as strong as UCLA-NPI or Harbor-UCLA. I’m not looking for a program that is too focused on the VA population, which this program focuses heavily on for outpatients. This program was a little too laid back for me since I'm looking for a more intense program with more structure/oversight from faculty. Overall, I’d be ranking this program in the lower third of my list.
 
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clozareal

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University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - San Diego, CA

1. Ease of Communication:
My last interview invitation in mid-November. Message through MyERAS asking to email the program administrator. Given 6 dates between Dec 8 – Jan 26 to choose from. Was told that the interview day started at 12pm. Got an email the evening before saying to come at 7:50am, which was unexpected and frustrating. Initial email made it seem like the Friday orientation was optional, which it was highly recommended that it wasn’t. One of the applicants had to reschedule her flight because of this miscommunication.

2. Accommodation & Food:
No accommodations provided. Sheraton nearby was a popular choice for a lot of us.

3. Interview Day (Schedule, Type of Interview, Unusual Questions, Experiences):
Some applicants interviewed on Thursday while others interviewed on Friday. The applicant dinner was Thursday night. I was in the Thursday group, which started with Resident rounds at 8am, didactics at 10am, lunch at 12pm, and then 3 interviews in the afternoon. Had to walk between the UCSD Medical School campus and the VA, which is about a block away from each other. Interviews were extremely conversational and no unusual questions came up. Friday interviews consisted of an orientation by Dr. Zisook (outgoing PD) and Dr. Cadenhead (incoming PD), followed by a tour of Hillcrest Medical Center and the VA, then a tour of the beaches at La Jolla Cove, then back to the VA for interviews.

4. Program Overview:
Well-rounded, solid program across the board. Highly regarded for their research, although it wasn’t clear to me how many residents got involved. Seems like an extremely heavy VA program, but not as much as UCLA-NPI. Time is split between the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest (near downtown SD) and the VA. Hillcrest used to be a public/county hospital until UCSD took it over and now it seems like their mission isn’t quite to serve the underserved as much as other places (Harbor, LA County, SFGH). Public psychiatry seems pretty strong here though as you can work with the homeless population (who flock here because of livable year-round weather). Seems like they have the standard ACGME requirements for their clinical rotations. Call seems on the heavier side.

I got the sense that they are strong in psychopharmacology (Dr. Stahl teaches here), but also that they had ample opportunities to train in psychotherapy if residents wanted to. I think that there’s less of it scheduled in compared to other programs, but they have a psychoanalytic institute nearby that has a strong partnership with them. It seems like hit or miss with getting a good therapy supervisor.

About 90% of graduates stay in Southern California. Many of the residents are involved in organized medicine. They have many internal fellowships, including lots of research fellowships. Geriatrics in particular is extremely strong here and some residents said they came to this program just for that. Dr. Cadenhead will probably move the residency department from the VA to Hillcrest which is where her lab focusing on psychosis is. The changes she is trying to propose is to allow more elective time since right now there’s little flexibility in your third and fourth years to pursue your own interests.

5. Faculty Achievements & Involvement:
I felt like lots of strong academic research was being done here, from basic science to epidemiology. UCSD has lots of big name faculty, especially in neuroscience research. I’m not sure how involved they are with the residency though. The chair didn’t make an appearance during the interview day(s) and I heard that he is relatively new.

6. Location & Lifestyle:
It’s San Diego. It unarguably has the best weather year round of any city in in the US. It has an easy-going culture. Many residents lived in Hillcrest and all over San Diego. Few residents even live in North County (more suburban and quiet). Best Mexican food in the US given its proximity to the border. Fish tacos are a huge thing here. I don’t think it’s as expensive to live in San Diego as it is to live in LA or SF, but I also think it’s not quite as busy. I would argue that the traffic is better here.

7. Salary & Benefits:
PGY1: $53,947 

PGY2: $55,736 

PGY3: $57,925 

PGY4: $60,211

Moonlighting starts PGY3. Many residents moonlight at the jail at $140/hr.
Educational fund: $500/year
Housing: $400 per month ($4800/year)
Licensing: $820/year
Medical, Dental, Vision: no cost for residents + dependents
Life-insurance: $50,000
Disability and malpractice: covered
Vacation: 4 weeks in two 2-week blocks
Food allowance: meals while on call
Parking: Free at the VA, 50% reduced fees at Hillcrest
Free iPad
Access to UCSD facilities, including the gym

8. Program Strengths:
Well-rounded program with great support if you are interested in an academic career. It’s heavily research-focused and they have strong faculty who can guide your academic career. There’s access to underserved populations including homeless and correctional. San Diego is obviously an amazing city and the beach culture is real here. The residents seem truly happy and these residents seemed to be the most diverse group of residents I’ve seen on the interview trail. Sid Zisook is stepping down but that’s to take more of a teaching role, which seems like a good thing since he comes with high praise.

9. Potential Weaknesses:
New program director might bring some changes that will hopefully be for the better (e.g., more electives), but this means tolerating some uncertainty. There’s lots of driving between La Jolla and Hillcrest which is about 12 miles, but there is a shuttle. Seems like the program is very VA heavy which may skew your training toward that population. Call seems on the heavier side. Psychotherapy training seems hit or miss, starts a bit later in third year, and is probably less balanced in terms of patient population (more lower functioning patients).

10. Overall impression:
Solid, well-rounded program that is geared toward those who want an academic career or a public psychiatry focused career. Extremely supportive administration. Beautiful location by the beach. Pretty rigid schedule that may change soon with the new PD, who seems amazing.
 

empmind

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Mount Sinai Hospital, Icahn (main campus)

1. Ease of Communication:
Invite was through ERAS, no real issues here. Everything was prompt.

2. Accommodation & Food:
Just some light snack foods in the PD's office area for breakfast, had a pretty decent lunch where I got to meet the applicants, an applicant dinner was available as well but I was not able to go due to my travel plans.

3. Interview Day (Schedule, Type of Interview, Unusual Questions, Experiences):

Starts with with meeting the chief, some light snacks, good coffee, hearing some presentations by the PD and APD, seeing some of the floors. Had 3 interviewers. The first interviewer was grossly unprepared, basically had to verbally describe my whole CV to him. Had a very awkward interview with the APD (Simon) who kept asking me really personal questions that had nothing to do with me applying for psychiatry. He constantly had this perverted little smirk on his face, kept looking at me inappropriately...the whole thing was weird. After talking with some people, it seems like I'm not the only one creeped out by him. People don't take him seriously though, so I guess its not a big deal.

4. Program Overview:

The program has a relatively light call schedule, especially compared to other East Coast programs. Residents seemed pretty happy about the overall structure and workload. Some residents complained that the classes were bad, but evidently they get better later on in the training, around 3rd year. The program emphasizes flexibility, but according to the residents, that only comes into play in your 4th year. Residents weren't particularly enthused or dissatisfied with the program. Of note, Mt Sinai just went through a merger and a lot of Icahn units were moved elsewhere. The program directors keep emphasizing how this is supposedly positive, but some residents are not happy with the changes. I wasn't able to get into the details.

5. Faculty Achievements & Involvement:

Seems like a lot of research is coming to Mt Sinai. ECT and NMS training available here as well. Several different tracks available for residents doing research - PhD and physician-scientist track

6. Location & Lifestyle:

It is next to Central Park, most residents live around East Harlem. The area is pretty safe, though not the most fun neighborhood to be in. Some residents commute from downtown, but that seems to the exception.

7. Salary & Benefits:

The salary is pretty standard, residents say it is just enough to cover the expenses of living in Manhattan. There is subsidized housing available, around $300 below market per month based on what one resident told me.

8. Program Strengths:

The program seems to have a good work/life balance, is in a decent location next to the park, and plenty of research opps available.

9. Potential Weaknesses:

Residents didn't seem to have anything particular to say about the program. Not sure how the merger will affect the training.

10. Overall Impression:

Seems like an above average program with a good lifestyle and the chance to live in NYC.
 

OldPsychDoc

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...Apparently the PD and APD only work half days every day, which makes me somewhat uncomfortable in terms of support from the administration.
...
9. Potential Weaknesses:
...
• Half-time PD and APD
....
I'm curious as to what you mean by "half-time PD" and how that is different from any other program.
All PD's I know have other responsibilities to help them "earn their keep". While the ACGME mandates that a PD's position is at least 0.5 FTE, many of us will have 0.5 FTE (or more!) of clinical work as well.
 

clozareal

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I'm curious as to what you mean by "half-time PD" and how that is different from any other program.
All PD's I know have other responsibilities to help them "earn their keep". While the ACGME mandates that a PD's position is at least 0.5 FTE, many of us will have 0.5 FTE (or more!) of clinical work as well.

Maybe this is what the residents were referring to. They stated that the PD and APD are only there until noon and then go home. This may be more typical than not but the residents brought it up multiple times so I decided to include it in the reviews. Just goes to show how the interview day provides extremity limited information for applicants to judge their assessment of the program by.


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coyotelime

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I agree with your pros and cons, but I had a surprisingly positive interview day. I am also putting it lower - the idea of spending lunch driving just isn't my cup of tea. And as much as people love California, the personalities/workload at SFV seemed almost too laid back for me - this would be a wonderful program with those wanting a great location and optimal work/life balance.

Edit: with the part time PD/APD, autonomy was emphasized numerous times throughout my dinner and interview day. Another strength/weakness depending on how you work and learn best.
UCLA San Fernando Valley (SFV) - Los Angeles, CA

1. Ease Of Communication:
MyERAS message early October with interview scheduling through the new MyERAS Interview Scheduler, which I’m not sure why more schools don’t use it because it’s super easy to use on my end. There were 26 interview dates from 10/25 – 1/25. Very little information in the initial email with no info about itinerary, dinner beforehand, travel, or housing options. Informed the night before my interview day of happy hour the evening after my interview, which was annoying. The happy hour was 15 miles away in LA traffic at 5:30pm rush hour in the opposite direction of where I needed to go after, which I wish they would have told us much earlier. I didn’t go, but I heard from another applicant that 3 residents showed up and maybe 3 applicants (out of 12) did too.

2. Accommodation & Food:
No accommodations. No list of places to stay. Lunch was cold, stale cheese pizza and soggy Caesar salad “soup.”

3. Interview Day (Schedule, Type of Interview, Unusual Questions, Experiences):
Interview day started at 8:15am in a building behind the Sepulveda VA with a presentation from a black and white printout of a PowerPoint presentation. Many applicants had some pages missing or pages upside down or a giant packet with double the pages. After the orientation at 9am, I started with the tour of Olive View and one of the residents drove us in a van over there. We met in these old creaky military barracks where the physicians back in the day used to live, but now they’re physician’s offices. I had my first interview there and it was extremely awkward. I got the stoic “I’m not showing you any emotion” and “let me dig into your childhood history for any emotional trauma and pry it out of there” questions. The facility seemed like a standard hospital. The emergency room had a few separate rooms but most of it was in one large “fish bowl” as they call it. The psych ward seemed standard too, nothing too flashy or too run down.

We then drove to the Psychiatric Urgent Care Center in Sylmar, which was extremely nice (the facility, not Sylmar which is a mostly bad area). Then we drove back and I had my tour of the Sepulveda VA, which is where they filmed the outside of Gray’s Anatomy. Nice hospital where you spend most of your time. Lunch came around and we ate our cold stale pizza lunch with soggy salad drowning in ranch (as you can tell I was not a fan of the lunch). I had 4 interviews in the afternoon, each for 30 mins. Several of the applicants had their interviewers no show, so the chiefs were trying to find someone to interview us. This meant they had not read our applications at all. Each applicant interviewed with the program director, who basically kept asking “any questions,” “any more questions” and then answering with terse responses (multiple applicants had the same experience I did). The APD was a bit nicer but also pretty short – my interview was supposed to be 30 minutes, I spent all of 5-10 minutes with her. Apparently the PD and APD only work half days every day, which makes me somewhat uncomfortable in terms of support from the administration.

This is something they also didn’t mention: every resident who met an applicant gets to decide how to rank them, and this rank list is then compared to the faculty one and then merged. This means that all your conversations at lunch, dinner, the tour, etc are part of the interview.

4. Program Overview:
Program has a mix between academics and community psychiatry between UCLA (private hospital even though it’s a public institution), Sepulveda VA, and Olive View (county). Olive View is a county hospital that sees some of the sickest patients in a huge catchment area of northern LA. You spend a few months at UCLA-Semel and the West LA VA alongside those residents as well as the USC residents at the WLAVA.

PGY1 – psych: 2m inpt at UCLA-Semel, 2m inpt at WLAVA, 3m inpt at Olive View, 1m psych ER at olive view; medicine: 1m outpt neuro at Olive View, 2m inpt at Olive View, 2 mo outpatient med at Sep VA
PGY2 – 50% inpt and 50% outpt; 2m OV inpt psych, 2m UCLA inpt psych, 2m outpt neuro at Sep VA, 1m psych ER at OV, 3m OV C&L, 3m PACE C&L (primary care)
PGY3 – 50% inpt and 50% outpt; 2m outpt CDTU, 2m outpt geriatrics, 2m urent care (which is a level of care immediately below going to the ED), 3m UCLA inpt child, 3m SFMHC outpatient child
PGY4 - Required continuity clinics - mood disorders, college counseling at cal state northridge, psychotherapy. The rest of creating your own electives and chief residency. You can create electives at NPI (or VA, olive view, SFV county, etc) so if you want you do an entire year at NPI outside of the required continuity clinics.

Call:
PGY1: WLAVA 1wk NFx2 (5pm-8am, 5 nights), OVMC Fri 4pm-8am ER, sat 8am-12pm, sun 8am-8pm, extra senior to help for the first 2 months
PGY2: 2 shifts/month: WLAVA M-F 5pm-8am, OVMC Fri 4pm-8am, Sat 8am-8am (24 hr), Sun 8am-8pm (24 hr)
PGY3: 1 shift/month (same, even lighter since you are supervising interns)
PGY4: no call, but 1 Saturday supervisorial role

5. Faculty Achievements & Involvement:
You’d probably be more exposed to VA/community attendings, but definitely have access to UCLA-NPI attendings.

6. Location & Lifestyle:
They claim they are in LA, but really they are in the Valley which is more inexpensive than LA. Many residents live in Northridge, Pasadena, and all along the 405 freeway. The VA closes at 4pm so you’ll get out by then at the latest starting 2nd year. Many residents have at least one afternoon a week off and most of the time they get out by 2-3pm. It sounds like a program that would be very conducive to having a family or enjoying your time outside of work.

7. Salary & Benefits:
Same as UCLA-NPI it seems like. How come UCLA-SFV is similar to Semel but Harbor-UCLA isn’t I wonder?

PGY1: $52,941
PGY2: $54,696
PGY3: $56,845
PGY4: $59,089

Medical/Dental: no cost to resident or dependents, no copays or prescription charges.
Life Insurance: provided at no cost to resident
Long-term Disability: provided at no cost to resident
Vacation Policy: 20 work days per year
Sick Leave: 12 work days per year
Moonlighting: starts PGY-2. They encourage you to do moonlighting esp internally since they don't have extensive call schedule to provide coverage. Earn $85, $100, or $125/hr depending on which shift you take.

8. Program Strengths:
• Diversity of patients with access to a county population (Olive View), private insurance population (UCLA), and the VA (WLAVA and Seplveda VA)
• Early psychotherapy training with continuity of care from PGY2-4, can see same patient in outpatient setting for all 3 years
• Access to UCLA-Semel for electives
• Psychiatric Urgent Care is unique
• Moonlighting starts 2nd year although pays pretty low
• Great work/life balance
• Great weather with lots of activities nearby

9. Potential Weaknesses:
• Heavily VA based training all 4 years
• Driving to the other sites, especially within the same day in LA traffic
• Interview day was not good experience for me
• Sounds like a low budget program, which is starkly different than UCLA-NPI
• Half-time PD and APD

10. Overall Impression:
I did not have the greatest interview day experience, so that probably clouds my impression a bit. I didn’t particularly click with my interviewers and met only about 4-5 residents in total so I couldn’t get a good sense on whether they are actually happy here, but other applicants have said they are. I do not get the sense that this program is as strong as UCLA-NPI or Harbor-UCLA. I’m not looking for a program that is too focused on the VA population, which this program focuses heavily on for outpatients. Overall, I’d be ranking this program in the lower third of my list.
 

clozareal

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All right! Let's see those post-rank list deadline interview reviews that everyone's promised to post.
 
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WingedOx

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The one in Minneapolis is great too and Chicago will be getting its first in 2017.

Uhh, sorry for bumping an old thread but I just saw this. Which Chicago hospital is getting this?

Edit: nevermind, I answered this question for myself.
 

JerryMouse

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More interview impressions

Hofstra Zucker Hillside
The clinical training here seems excellent, with many specialized units, large patient volume, lots of supervisors, etc. After PGY1, there is a lot of elective time for clinical interests or research. Residents get lots of psychotherapy supervision (4-6 hrs per week). The PD also said that anyone interested in research will have plenty of time and support to do so.

Call is pretty light too, with only 2-3 weekday evening or weekend day calls per month during PGY1-3 and 6 total weeks of night float. The pay starts at 70k and is one of the highest in the country. There is very busy in-house moonlighting that pays $100/hr. The only downside is its location in a boring Long Island suburb. But to make up for this, there is cheap (for the area) subsidized housing right next to the hospital. Nevertheless, many residents pay more and commute longer to live closer to the city instead of the subsidized housing. I have a feeling that this program will become steadily more competitive to match into due to the aforementioned perks.

Institute of Living
The clinical facilities are mostly on a nice campus and the adjacent hospitals. They claim that their services are not resident dependent, but I find that hard to believe with Q4 (?!) evening call plus a bunch of 24 hrs weekend shifts for PGY1-2. There is very busy in-house moonlighting that pays $120/hr. Hartford itself is very run down and people only go there for work. All residents commute from the surrounding suburbs.

For those interviewing here and trying to save money on hotel, there are dorm-style rooms (single rooms with shared bathroom) in a building next to the hospital that you can get for $20 a night.

Maine Medical Center
This program has decent clinical training despite being in a small city/large town. There is a large inpatient psych hospital with adult, child/adolescent, and developmental units. The main hospital has geriatrics. The C&L exposure seems weak in terms of patient variety and attending quality. There is a lot of individual and group psychotherapy supervision available. The faculty I interviewed with were nice but seemed to lack energy. Despite the refugee population in Portland, the patient population remains very whitebread.

Call is pretty light. It's about 3x evening short call/month during intern year, then less frequent every year after that. They have a few weeks of evening float (4-midnight) instead of night float. There is in-house moonlighting at the ED ($65/hr) or psych hospital ($100/hr). Residents are mostly married with kids. The Portland area is a very desirable place to live and has the only psych residency in that area. The competitiveness of matching here varies widely each year, depending on how many students from prestigious schools end up ranking it highly. A surprisingly large number of them want to come here in some years.

Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW)

The clinical training here seems excellent, with lots of different sites including the county psych hospital, academic hospital, VA, fancier private hospital, and a bunch of others. The program has a large focus on psychotherapy and there are opportunities to get involved with the psychoanalytic institute for those interested. The outpatient year is in PGY2 instead of PGY3, which is meant to give better continuity for outpatients, but I doubt it makes much of a difference since PGY3s only get an afternoon a week for continuity clinic.

In previous years, this program supposedly had a very cush call schedule, but they've added more so their call is about average now. During PGY2 (their outpatient year), there is call about 2-3x/month which is about the same as the outpatient year at most other programs. During PGY3 (the equivalent of most programs' PGY2 year), there is a lot of VA and C/L overnight pager call and weekend coverage, in addition to 6 weeks of night float. The in-house moonlighting pays poorly at $60ish/hr, though it's possible to find external moonlighting that pays better. Unfortunately, the program's many clinical sites are scattered throughout the city, requiring lots of commuting. It is impossible to live close to all the main clinical sites, so there will be a 30 minute commute each way for at least 30% of the time.

I anticipate that this program will remain relatively uncompetitive to match into given its location in Milwaukee and the harder call schedule. Their previously almost nonexistent call was likely a huge selling point that helped them match better applicants.
 
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3lefts

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More interview impressions

Hofstra Zucker Hillside
The clinical training here seems excellent, with many specialized units, large patient volume, lots of supervisors, etc. After PGY1, there is a lot of elective time after for clinical interests or research. Residents get lots of psychotherapy supervision (4-6 hrs per week). The PD also said that anyone interested in research will have plenty of time and support to do so.

Call is pretty light too, with only 2-3 weekday evening or weekend day calls per month during PGY1-3 and 6 total weeks of night float. The pay starts at 70k and is one of the highest in the country. There is very busy in-house moonlighting that pays $100/hr. The only downside is its location in a boring Long Island suburb. Many residents pay more and commute longer to live closer to the city, instead of living in the cheap subsidized housing next to the hospital. I have a feeling that this program will become steadily more competitive to match into due to the aforementioned perks.

Institute of Living
The clinical facilities are mostly on a nice campus and the adjacent hospitals. They claim that their services are not resident dependent, but I find that hard to believe with Q4 (?!) evening call plus a bunch of 24 hrs weekend shifts for PGY1-2. There is very busy in-house moonlighting that pays $120/hr. Hartford itself is very run down and people go there only for work. All residents commute from the surrounding suburbs.

For those interviewing here and trying to save money on hotel, there are dorm-style rooms (single rooms with shared bathroom) in a building next to the hospital that you can get for $20 a night.

Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW)

The clinical training here seems excellent, with lots of different sites (county psych hospital, academic hospital, VA, fancier private hospital, and a bunch of others). The program has a large focus on psychotherapy and there are opportunities to get involved with the psychoanalytic institute for those interested. The outpatient year is in PGY2 instead of PGY3, which is meant to give better continuity for outpatients, but I doubt it makes much of a difference since PGY3s only get an afternoon a week for continuity clinic.

In previous years, this program supposedly had a very cush call schedule, but they've added more call so their call is about average now. During PGY2 (their outpatient year), there is call about 2x/month which is about the same as the outpatient year at most other programs. During PGY3 (the equivalent of most programs' PGY2 year), there is a lot of VA and C/L overnight pager call and weekend coverage, in addition to 6 weeks of night float. The in-house moonlighting pays poorly at $60ish/hr, though it's possible to find external moonlighting that pays better. Unfortunately, the program's many clinical sites are scattered throughout the city, requiring lots of commuting. It is impossible to live close to all the main clinical sites, so there will be a 30 minute commute each way for at least 30% of the time.

Thank you! Were you reviewing 3 different places? What's the name of the third one?


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JerryMouse

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Thank you! Were you reviewing 3 different places? What's the name of the third one?
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Um the names are there. Just view it on a normal browser if you're scrolling past them on your iphone.
 
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3lefts

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Um the names are there. Just view it on a normal browser if you're scrolling past them on your iphone.

Oh, okay, thanks! Not sure why the MCW and MMC titles don't show up in the app, but they do on the browser.


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