CHLA, OHSU, Denver - and looking ahead for fellowship advice

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15+ Year Member
May 25, 2007
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I'm having trouble putting my residency rank list together. My top programs are CHLA, OHSU, and Denver. Everyone says to follow your gut, but in my case I know I am fellowship-bound, and my PI, who is the fellowship program director in the subspecialty I'm looking at (hem/onc) at my home institution, says that pedigree is the most important factor when he looks at fellowship applicants.

Both CHLA and Denver have top-tier reputation in hem/onc. But my gut says I would be happiest at OHSU. How much of a future career hit would I take by picking a smaller program, with lower patient volume and presumably fewer opportunities in research (if only because of fewer patients and smaller referral base), compared to a larger, nationally known hospital? Would it make that much difference for fellowship if I'm happy and successful where I'm at and become a great pediatrician, since that's the main point of residency?

What are your thoughts about any of these 3 programs in general, or for fellowship in particular? I'm particularly interested in advice from subspecialists in the hem/onc field.

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Can't compare the three programs (didn't visit either Denver or CHLA) but just as note on OHSU - I've heard nothing but good things about this place. In fact, people have been telling me (and by 'people' I mean advisors and physicians on the west coast) that their reputation is only going up in the last 5-10 years, esp on the west coast. I found their leadership team (Dr. Ferrel (sp?, sorry), etc) to be extremely dynamic and can you imagine being in Portland for three years? Taking that tram up to work everyday or biking up there as exercise?

Again, I can't speak to the other places and I definitely can't speak about how much institution name plays into fellowship placement, but OHSU is a 'name' and a rapidly more recognized one at that. And from my personal experience in med school, if you are happy where you work it is so much easier to succeed and excel in your work.

Hope you figure it out! And remember, no matter where you end up, you'll probably have a blast no matter what.
I still say go with where you're be happiest, and if that's OHSU, then you'll be fine. If you are happy during residency, you'll perform better and will be less likely to burn out and actually pursue the fellowship of your choice. And honestly, your goals may actually change, so it would be a shame to pass up a place you feel really good about just because it has a better pedigree. Heme/onc is certainly competitive, but you should be able to match almost no matter where you train. It's a shame if it's true your PD relies so heavily on pedigree; he's missing out on a lot of very good physicians. Not every place will be like that.