Advice please

Discussion in 'Dermatology' started by rabbitsfeet777, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. rabbitsfeet777

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Hey guys,

    I'm in my summer between my 1st ans 2nd year, and like i've read on the forum, if you are even remotely interested in dermatology, it is best to start research early in the game.

    I took ya'lls advice and I am working voluntarily on project in a Derm Path lab this summer and attend the sign outs every morning with the pathologists and residents. I'm learning a lot and really enjoying my time with these wonderful folks.

    I guess I've heard too many rumors and I have no idea what's fact vs myth. Obviously this is competitive, but what do i need to do give myself a shot at a derm residency. I have good grades, probably top 15% in class. Should I start preparing for the Step 1 now? Is it always about your board scores in this field or do bright people who really have a passion have a shot? I wish I could do a dermatopath residency first and than apply to derm, but that would take too many years.

    Any advice guys?
     
  2. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. Monica Lewinsky

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Dermpath is a fellowship after derm residency (or a path residency), not the other way around.

    Your MS1 grades will not make or break your chances for any specialty.
     
  4. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    They may not "make or break" your chances but you can definitely make your road harder if you limp through first year or decline during second year. There are specialties, including derm, where the applicant pool is so competitive that your overall GPA/class rank can influence your chances independent of other factors. Keep up the high grades if you want to get into derm.
     
  5. Monica Lewinsky

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Half of derm residents are not AOA.
     
  6. rabbitsfeet777

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I'm not too worried about grades, I mean I'm not top 1% but I've done well grade wise. What about USMLE scores? How do I go about that and what should be my goal, realistically.

    Appreciate ya'lls input.
     
  7. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Great, I get to explain match statistics to people that don't understand them...again. By the bylaws of AOA only the top quartile of a class may be considered for AOA; only half of those considered may be elected, maximum. Some schools do not have AOA chapters, and still others do not hold elections for senior AOA until after ERAS is submitted. So 50% AOA is an incredibly high percentage.

    50% AOA is the highest by far for any specialty. And you're referencing statistics from one match cycle; it doesn't literally mean that half of all derm residents are AOA.

    Doing well is great--just keep it up. High class rank and AOA are important factors for successfully matching into competitive specialties.

    USMLE scores are increasing yearly. You can get a breakdown of statistics for the 2007 Main Residency Match here. Average Step I score in 2007 for matched applicants was 240, second only to plastic surgery. I believe that scores for matched applicants in 2008 will be higher on average in light of recent trends; I would say that 240+ would be competitive and 250+ would be a very competitive score for derm. If you have more questions about dermatology specifically you should PM MOHS_01.
     
  8. Monica Lewinsky

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Thanks for insulting me, I really love it when I get flamed.

    I never said that class rank doesn't matter. It does, but its not as important for matching into derm as research, Step 1, letters from people who matter, and clinical grades. To suggest that performance in anatomy is paramount to performance on the IM 3rd year rotation is ignorant.
     
  9. MOHS_01

    MOHS_01 audemus jura nostra defendere
    Physician

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2005
    Messages:
    10,527
    Likes Received:
    4,015
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Monica,

    Really, come up for air;) j/k

    Seriously though... if you were to rank importance in the grand scheme of things that sets the priorities for the match, anatomy score / rank DOES play a heftier role than, say, IM wards -- not because of its increased importance; rather, class rank is set early into the process and determines things such as AOA status, etc.

    As far as research -- unless you are either really in there digging it out in someone's lab or stumbled into something exceptional, every derm candidate under the sun has a few case reports, case series, etc on their CV, so that is not much of a criteria. At best it demonstrates some semblance of a work ethic when it behooves the individual.

    Clinical grades suffer from the worst grade inflation and lack of standardization of any portion of medical education. This is well known (and is the reason that class rank is often reported as two seperate numbers, pre-clinical and overall).

    Letters from "people who matter" are nice -- but everyone gets a pretty good letter. If you really want to make an impact it takes a phone call.
    Students on this board who are interested in pursuing a competitive specialty would be well served to heed the advice of those who have successfully gone before them. Listen to Dre -- he knows his sh**.
     
  10. laxman310

    laxman310 TheManWithAPlan

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Hi group.

    Currently I am an M3, about to start on Monday, and just wanted some advice in terms of ultimately attaining a residency position.

    What I do know:
    It would help to be above the mean for board scores (240+), research publications, AOA, etc. Derm is among the most competitive specialties, if not the most competitive.

    What I dont know:

    I plan on doing research in Derm, and was wondering if its better to take a year off to do research, or to go ahead and graduate, and do research for 1-2 years after. It seems like a lot of the Derm research positions that are open are meant for those who have already graduated (or am I assuming?).

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  11. laxman310

    laxman310 TheManWithAPlan

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Oh, and does anyone know where to find rankings for the different programs?
     
  12. Long Dong

    Long Dong My middle name is Duc.

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Messages:
    1,894
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    You can go ether way. Most students who take a year off to do research ether just love doing it or are doing it to strengthen their application to make up for weaker areas like a not so hi step 1 or grades/class rank. I got 259 on my step 1 and my derm department still advised me to take a year off to do research because at the end of my 3rd year I had no publications. My family said hell know (they paid for school and bills) you need to graduate and get out from under our support, so I didn't and luckly matched without pubs on my app.

    Most who do research after graduating usually are those who didn't match the first time around or are those who wanted derm after doing some other residency. This is one option I was planing to do if I didn't match the first time around, after completing my internship.

    Go here for a ruff idea, but take it with a grain of salt:

    http://dermatology.cdlib.org/133/original/academy/table6.htm

    Overall rankings of programs

    Dermatology Program
    Overall Rank and Points

    Pennsylvania, University of
    1) 91

    San Francisco, University of California
    2) 89.5

    Yale-New Haven Medical Center
    3) 66

    New York University (NYU)
    4) 63

    Michigan, University of
    5) 56.5

    Emory University
    6) 56

    Thomas Jefferson University
    7) 54

    Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN
    8) 48.5

    Harvard University
    9) 44

    Columbia, New York Presbyterian Hospital
    10) 42.5

    Northwestern University
    11) 37

    Stanford University
    12) 33

    Wake Forest University School of Medicine
    13) 29.5

    Boston University/Tufts University
    14) 29

    Oregon Health Sciences University
    15) 28.5

    Case Western Reserve
    16) 28

    Baylor College of Medicine
    17-18) 25

    Johns Hopkins University
    17-18) 25

    Southwestern, University of Texas
    19) 24

    Los Angeles, University of California
    20-21) 19.5

    Miami-Jackson, University of
    20-21) 19.5

    Alabama, University of
    22) 17

    Houston, University of Texas
    23) 16

    Utah, University of
    24) 14

    San Diego, University of California
    25) 13

    Massachusetts, University of Program
    26) 9.5

    Duke University
    27-28) 9

    Mount Sinai School of Medicine
    27-28) 9

    Vanderbilt University
    29) 8.5

    Pittsburgh, University Health Center of
    30) 7
     
  13. NPR

    NPR

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Medical Student
    That's odd. I spoke with my derm department yesterday and despite inferior stats compared to you, they seemed to be oddly optimistic about my chances.

    Step 1: 250
    Publications: 0 although I have spent extensive time working in my home lab. I guess that bodes well for my chances at home. Not so good when applying elsewhere.
    Clinical grades: This is the biggie. I didn't have a great 3rd year which further cost me Jr AOA status. I'm hoping to rebound in 4th year and secure that Sr AOA slot. I even brought this up multiple times in the conversation yesterday and they indicated it wouldn't be too big a hindrance. Kind of odd.

    But yeah...I too couldn't bear the thought of taking a year off before 4th year. I'll give it my best shot and if it doesn't work out, I'd explore research after an internship year.
     
  14. Long Dong

    Long Dong My middle name is Duc.

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Messages:
    1,894
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    You've been working with your program extensively that's why they are supportive. Thing with me though was I approached mine late, towards the end of 3rd year begining of 4th with my interest and they didn't know me worth jack. The advisor I got said she couldn't help me much cause I hadn't worked with her but if I took a year off and worked with her she could get me a strong letter, some pubs, and help me with the politics to match at my home program. Luckly I found someone at another school who did help me late in the game get some submissions off that eventually got pubed and get a great letter from.

    This goes to show you soon to be applicants how important it is to show your interest early and make those connections. It's been said over and over again on this board and the dermboard, as long as you make the cut offs (which was 230 at my school) it's more of who you know not what you know. My year 11 students from my school matched derm only 3 were aoa, 2 phd's and less then say about 3-4 had over 250, so it can be done without aoa and being above 250.
     
    #13 Long Dong, Jun 25, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  15. rabbitsfeet777

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Wow. I feel kinda overwhelmed about even considering derm with these super high credentials from you guys, that's awesome and congrats. I'm gonna be taking my Step 1 in less than a year and our school is in transition to the Organ System curriculum as the guinea pig class.

    I was wondering what you guys suggest was most helpful in scoring well on Step 1. Like should I start preparation now? Are there certain texts other than First Aid? I know there is no "secret" to success on this, but I am willing to work hard and give my best...I'm just confused about how to attack it. I don't have much guidance and ya'lls input would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you for your time!
     
  16. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  17. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Yes, start preparing now. Get a copy of First Aid, and go through the appropriate sections as they're covered in your basic science classes, making notes and whatnot. I think ideally you should try to read the book at least twice before you take the exam. Don't drive yourself insane stressing about the test now, but it is important.

    One thing to avoid would be getting like 5 different review books and trying to get through all of them. Commit to one source, like First Aid or Step Up, and use some of the Hi-Yield or BRS books (whatever you like) to fill in the gaps. If you have time, you can do also Qbank or USMLEWorld questions, or you can wait until like a month before the test to start hitting those hard.
     
  18. NPR

    NPR

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I used this plan and achieved similar results as the poster: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=426142

    My school also uses the organ curriculum system and it seemed to make no difference to me.

    I did not start preparing until 6 weeks prior to the exam but yeah, starting early probably doesn't hurt.

    And like the previous poster mentioned, First Aid and a question bank (I used USMLEWorld) can take you very far. I did end up using all the books noted in that thread above but I didn't spend hours reviewing them. I read em once, soaked up what I could, and moved on.
     
  19. radslooking

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    Messages:
    771
    Likes Received:
    3
    +1 on the study methods talked about above. that's how you kill step 1.
     
  20. razzle07

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    I know you guys probably get this question a lot, but I'm new to whole process of looking up specialties. Everyone is talking about having publications, but the question I have is can you match into Derm without doing any research at all?

    I just decided not to hang out at home with my family and friends for my last summer.

    I don't know how serious I am about derm, I'm just basically exploring my options.

    Thank you for your time
     
  21. sestamibi

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    1
    With 0 research, it's going to be an uphill climb.

    I'm assuming you're a 2nd year now, there's plenty of opportunity to get involved in some form of research as a 2nd year student (and it doesn't have to be in a research lab and it doesn't even have to be in derm. Just make sure you can be enthusiastic and educated about it during interviews)

    With sterling grades, Step 1, AOA status, and LORs, research may not be necessary. But I'd have it there anyway just in case.

    Publications, on the other hand, are not absolutely necessary. Some research just does not generate publication-worthy results.
     

Share This Page