Baylor College of Medicine Pathology Residency/Fellowship Program

May 31, 2013
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Welcome! The purpose of this thread is to address any questions that residency/fellowship applicants might have regarding the Baylor College of Medicine program in Houston, Texas.
 
Jul 29, 2013
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Is the Baylor pathology program affected by the money problems BCM has had? I just want to be a part of a great pathology residency and not get affected by politics.
 
May 31, 2013
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Houston, TX
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Resident [Any Field]
I think that's a great question, and it's certainly one that I've heard time and time again since I was a first-year medical student at Baylor (when all of the troubles began). From what I have seen over the last five years, and certainly since Dr. Klotman took over the presidency of the College, the financial situation has continued to improve. I don't feel that the quality of my training has in any way been affected by Baylor's former financial issues, and I wouldn't change my medical school or residency program choice if I had to do it again. We are given $600/year for books, we are allowed one national paid meeting per year, and three in-state meetings. I feel that our program offers an excellent training experience! Please let me know if you have any other questions, and I hope this helps!
 
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twentyone

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Jul 29, 2010
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Welcome! The purpose of this thread is to address any questions that residency/fellowship applicants might have regarding the Baylor College of Medicine program in Houston, Texas.
Should people have questions about the Baylor program?
 
May 31, 2013
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Houston, TX
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Resident [Any Field]
Thank you! The purpose of this thread is to share information about our training program. I am very excited about being able to train here, and I feel that we have a lot to offer. I think that this thread is an excellent way for potential applicants to get answers to questions that may not be addressed on the program website.
 

twentyone

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For people who for some reason have to be in Houston- what would you say puts BCM ahead of the other choices in the vinicity?
 

Thrombus

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Houston will run out of mold and humidity before they need more pathologists. With 4 training programs and a large fellowship program, the glut is worse than national average.
 

twentyone

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Houston will run out of mold and humidity before they need more pathologists. With 4 training programs and a large fellowship program, the glut is worse than national average.
It's unsustainable for every graduate of every program to stay where they trained. I'm asking about choosing between residency and fellowship programs, not job seeking.
 
May 31, 2013
12
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Houston, TX
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Resident [Any Field]
Houston will run out of mold and humidity before they need more pathologists. With 4 training programs and a large fellowship program, the glut is worse than national average.
twentyone, I’m glad you asked!

1) Houston is actually a very nice place to live! Yes, the weather is hot and humid, but air conditioning certainly helps! I moved to Houston five years ago, and my expectations were not terribly high. However, I was pleasantly surprised, and I do actually enjoy this city. The arts scene here is surprisingly good, with a world-class symphony, ballet company, many great art museums, and tons of theatres! There are numerous excellent restaurants to enjoy, several professional sports teams, etc. I’ve found that there really is something for everyone here. The cost of living here is rather low as well, especially for a major U.S. metropolitan area; several of our residents have been able to purchase townhomes, condos, or houses. On top of all of that, with the world’s largest medical center (the Texas Medical Center) in the middle of the city, Houston is definitely worth a second look!

2) To be more specific, here are a few reasons why I think BCM is a great place to train, and why I ranked them number one:

-the ability to rotate at both large academic hospitals and private community hospitals—our program enables us to rotate at a wide variety of hospitals…from the major county hospital for Harris County (Ben Taub General Hospital), to the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, to St. Joseph’s Medical Center (a private hospital), we get to see how pathologists function in both the academic and private practice settings. Thus, wherever we end up in our careers, we will come in with a better understanding of how different practice environments work. Our graduates have gone on to take jobs in both academics and private practice. Bottom line? What you get from this wide range of hospitals is a well-rounded training experience.

-variety of specimens—this goes hand-in-hand with the previous statement…as a result of different rotation sites and widely different patient populations, the volume and variety of specimens that we see is amazing! Just in the past few months, I can name a few unique specimens that even some of my attendings and Pathologists’ Assistant had not seen in their training or career. With all of our training sites combined, the volume of surgical specimens is over 90,000 per year! We certainly work hard, but we never violate duty hours, and we still have time to read and study. This is evidenced by our board passage rates; I cannot recall anyone from our program failing their AP/CP boards, at least during the last five years or so that I’ve been hanging around the department.

-fellowships—we offer a variety of ACGME-accredited fellowships, including Cytopathology, Hematopathology, Dermatopathology, Neuropathology (this is a joint fellowship between BCM other TMC institutions such as M.D. Anderson and the Methodist Hospital), Blood Bank/Transfusion Medicine, Pediatric Pathology, and Molecular Genetic Pathology. I can say with certainty that the Pediatric Pathology and Molecular Genetic Pathology fellowships are among the best in the country! BCM residents who have gone on to do fellowships elsewhere have been successful in obtaining spots at top-ranked institutions across the U.S.

-research—if this is something that residents are interested in, we have a wide range of opportunities for basic science, translational, and clinical research! Baylor College of Medicine is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top medical schools for research based on funding. Essentially, if there is something that interests you, chances are that you’ll: #1, find a PI or attending who will work with you, and #2, have the funding to pursue the project. This is evidenced by the fact that our residents are a constant presence at major local and national meetings, including the Texas Society of Pathologists meeting, the College of American Pathologists meeting, and the annual meeting of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology. Over the past few years, several of our residents have given platform presentations at these meetings. One of our program requirements is that each resident needs to have one peer-reviewed publication by the time they graduate. While not every resident chooses a research career, we feel that it is important to pursue some research in order to facilitate growth both as a physician and a pathologist.

-fellow residents—this was certainly a huge plus for me! I really do enjoy my fellow residents…they are nice people, and our program as a whole is incredibly collegial. We are always working together to build the program up, and we don’t throw each other under the bus. To give you a few examples of the “teamwork” mentality of our program, we frequently have “recut sharing” sessions around one of our multi-headed scopes, and we are always sharing study resources, books, etc. Additionally, if one of us is having a rough grossing day, other residents will often pop in to help out, even if they aren’t on Surg Path that month! Although we are a relatively large program (29 residents), we all get along well, and many of us spend time together outside of the hospital! It’s always comforting to know that there is always a friend and colleague who is willing to lend a sympathetic ear. Residency is difficult, but working with really smart people who also happen to be really nice helps!

-faculty—this is also a major strength of our program! Our attendings are amazing people who are devoted to resident education and to making us the best pathologists that we can be! They are always available to chat about an interesting/difficult case, and they have no qualms about showing us how to approach a unique or uncommon specimen that needs to be grossed. In fact, even our department chair, Dr. Tom Wheeler, has an office at Ben Taub General Hospital, and frequently signs out with residents and fellows on Surg Path and Cytology! He is a renowned expert in genitourinary and thyroid pathology, and it certainly is a treat to see his mind work and to learn from him! We are constantly working with attendings to make our program stronger and more conducive to learning, from rearranging the sign-out schedule to changing the way that we are taught to gross specimens. The fact that resident feedback is taken very seriously by our attendings is a very important part of what makes this program great.

I could go on for hours about all of the things I love about this program, but what you see above is the (somewhat) abbreviated version. I cannot say a whole lot about how the other two Houston programs (UT-Houston and the Methodist Hospital) function, but I can say that the residents, fellows, and faculty from those programs are also very nice and well trained. Ultimately, applicants need to choose a residency program that will meet their individual needs and career goals!
 

WEBB PINKERTON

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Dr Wheeler has a nice blog on Medscape

I really enjoyed reading "Where have all the polyps gone?" I could easily make that title into a song I think.
 
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Thrombus

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The entire crop of trainees in Houston is ample To supply the entire flyover country by itself.
 

rollwithit

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The entire crop of trainees in Houston is ample To supply the entire flyover country by itself.
Oh noes!!!!11!11. Less than 20 people completing their residency in the country's largest medical district a year!!! Quit flooding the market, Houston!!!!11!1!1
 
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Aug 1, 2013
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Houston is proud to host the larget medical center in the world and really outstanding pathology training opportunities, and each year a new crop of pathologists search for jobs.

As we have seen from our graduates--they get jobs despite being told that the market is "saturated." The city grows, people retire, new hospitals are built, people move to be closer to family, people are recruited, etc. But whatever is being said about the job market in a particular city, it should not deter a candidate from careful consideration of which program will allow him/her to flourish and, ultimately, may launch their career.

I have to compliment the Baylor resident for taking the time to share some very good inside information that students and residents need to help guide their training choices.

For a spirited debate, perhaps someone could start a thread on the Houston job market, but for this one, let's provide information that will help visitors decide if Baylor College of Medicine Pathology programs are most suited to their interests and training goals.
 
May 31, 2013
12
0
Houston, TX
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Houston is proud to host the larget medical center in the world and really outstanding pathology training opportunities, and each year a new crop of pathologists search for jobs.

As we have seen from our graduates--they get jobs despite being told that the market is "saturated." The city grows, people retire, new hospitals are built, people move to be closer to family, people are recruited, etc. But whatever is being said about the job market in a particular city, it should not deter a candidate from careful consideration of which program will allow him/her to flourish and, ultimately, may launch their career.

I have to compliment the Baylor resident for taking the time to share some very good inside information that students and residents need to help guide their training choices.

For a spirited debate, perhaps someone could start a thread on the Houston job market, but for this one, let's provide information that will help visitors decide if Baylor College of Medicine Pathology programs are most suited to their interests and training goals.
Well said, HoustonTXDoc. Thank you for your input :)
 

WEBB PINKERTON

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This is probably the sweetest thread I have ever seen on this forum. Just a huge lovefest.:highfive:

CAP was right, pathologists are groovy.
 

2121115

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Oh noes!!!!11!11. Less than 20 people completing their residency in the country's largest medical district a year!!! Quit flooding the market, Houston!!!!11!1!1
It may be that even less than 20 are needed.
 

Substance

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This is probably the sweetest thread I have ever seen on this forum. Just a huge lovefest.:highfive:

CAP was right, pathologists are groovy.
Speaking of which, you guys, instead of bitching about it here, should mass email the CAP chastising them for putting up such an embarrassing website.

I'm going to coin a word here: decruitment. That website is a decruitment tool.
 

WEBB PINKERTON

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Speaking of which, you guys, instead of bitching about it here, should mass email the CAP chastising them for putting up such an embarrassing website.

I'm going to coin a word here: decruitment. That website is a decruitment tool.
Whatever man. You need to chill out. Wanna smoke a J?
 
Oct 1, 2013
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forgive me if these are all scurrilous rumors, but word on the street is that the blood bank rotation at Baylor is.... different and that it includes these sorts of things in addition to the usual pathology blood bank duties found in most hospitals:

1. residents regularly go into the OR to "assess bleeding" (I have only heard of this happening at Baylor and nowhere else)
2. residents see and physically round on non-apheresis patients for bleeding problem consults like you're a benign hematologist (in my program, the blood bank gets involved when product usage is an issue and does so from afar by interpreting labs & having phone conversations--not by taking the place of benign heme internists; sure, we see apheresis, stem cell, donors, etc where i am but that's it)
3. 6:00 AM starts including weekends

i'm not making better/worse judgments. just what i heard. you solicited questions. are these rumors true?
 

gbwillner

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forgive me if these are all scurrilous rumors, but word on the street is that the blood bank rotation at Baylor is.... different and that it includes these sorts of things in addition to the usual pathology blood bank duties found in most hospitals:

1. residents regularly go into the OR to "assess bleeding" (I have only heard of this happening at Baylor and nowhere else)
2. residents see and physically round on non-apheresis patients for bleeding problem consults like you're a benign hematologist (in my program, the blood bank gets involved when product usage is an issue and does so from afar by interpreting labs & having phone conversations--not by taking the place of benign heme internists; sure, we see apheresis, stem cell, donors, etc where i am but that's it)
3. 6:00 AM starts including weekends

i'm not making better/worse judgments. just what i heard. you solicited questions. are these rumors true?
Can't speak for the training service but I remember Coag at TCH- attendings rounded on all ECMO patients...
 
May 31, 2013
12
0
Houston, TX
Status
Resident [Any Field]
forgive me if these are all scurrilous rumors, but word on the street is that the blood bank rotation at Baylor is.... different and that it includes these sorts of things in addition to the usual pathology blood bank duties found in most hospitals:

1. residents regularly go into the OR to "assess bleeding" (I have only heard of this happening at Baylor and nowhere else)
2. residents see and physically round on non-apheresis patients for bleeding problem consults like you're a benign hematologist (in my program, the blood bank gets involved when product usage is an issue and does so from afar by interpreting labs & having phone conversations--not by taking the place of benign heme internists; sure, we see apheresis, stem cell, donors, etc where i am but that's it)
3. 6:00 AM starts including weekends

i'm not making better/worse judgments. just what i heard. you solicited questions. are these rumors true?
Thank you for your questions. It is definitely true that the Coagulation/Blood Bank rotation at Texas Children's Hospital provides a different experience for residents and fellows, but I believe that it is a highly unique and very useful rotation with great teaching from attendings and fellows. I have addressed your questions below.

1. I am not aware of any instances where a resident has had to go into the OR alone at TCH to "assess bleeding." If the Coag team (which would consist of one of the attendings plus a fellow and a resident, and never a resident alone) is called to the OR during a Massive Transfusion Protocol, it is to consult face-to-face with the surgical team regarding the need for/proper use of blood products. Dr. Teruya, who is the head of Transfusion Medicine at TCH, definitely believes in being "visible" to the clinician, and being available for consultation whenever needed. Additionally, he was at one time a clinical hematologist, so he does have quite a bit of expertise and offers a very unique perspective with regard to Coag/blood banking. At the other hospitals where we do Blood Bank rotations (Ben Taub General Hospital and the VA), we are generally not called upon to do this.

2. We do attend ECMO rounds at Texas Children's, but again, this is part of our presence as an active consultation service. As you know, infants on ECMO often have complex and numerous needs for blood products, and we are just one part of a large interdisciplinary effort to give these kids the best patient care possible. We attend rounds to help the Neonatology and Pediatric Surgery services assess what is needed, and what the best use of our resources will be. So in essence, we are doing what you referred to (i.e., interpreting labs and having conversations), but in a more direct, face-to-face manner.

3. On the TCH Coag/Blood Bank rotation, we generally start at 7 AM, Monday through Friday (with protected time for CP lectures). I have never had to go to the hospital on this rotation (outside of CP call issues) on a weekend.

Again, I think this unique model for a Coag/Blood Bank rotation service is very beneficial to trainees, not only because it makes us more aware of what clinicians need and expect from us, but because it will better prepare us for a wide variety of practice settings, whether academic or private. Please let me know if I have adequately addressed your questions. Thanks!
 
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