Feb 28, 2010
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I am a rising 3rd year student and was curious if anyone could give me insight into the DeKalb Medical center and the DVA Atlanta programs in addition to what is presented on the CASPR website? Any insight would be much appreciated, thank you kindly.
 

ldsrmdude

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I know that some of the other people on here have clerked at Dekalb, but I got the chance to visit for a day about a month ago. The impressions that I got were that it was a very intense program that was quite structured as to their heirarchy (ie I don't know if the 1st year residents do much surgery as they seemed to be on more medicine rotations or managing patients, and the surgery I saw had the 3rd year doing the Lapidus with the 2nd year doing the tailor's bunion) - it could be that way at many programs, I am not sure. I was there on a weekend where the Podiatry Institute was putting on a cadaver workshop, and the residents were excited about being involved in that. There were podiatrists from several parts of the country (and different countries) in attendance and I got the feeling that the PI was pretty much on the top as far as teaching seminars. Other than that, I got there at 6 am and all of the residents were already there, and I am sure that they put in a lot of long days. I really enjoyed my short amount of time there, and had a great experience watching Dr. Banks and his residents in surgery. Dr. Banks did a great job of explaining the procedure as he was going and helping out his residents. All of the people I met there were extremely nice and welcoming. That's about all I know from my short time there.
 

Feli

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I think that DeKalb has a legit claim as the best pod surg residency in the country... certainly consensus top 5 in the nation no matter who you talk to. It's a very competitive program that draws a lot of good student interest based on great training and popular southern location. I would have given the program very serious consideration if I was planning to be single during residency.

There are many other good pod surg residency programs out there, but DeKalb has very few weaknesses in terms of training. Their emphasis is elective and reconstructive foot and ankle surgery (and educating others of that subject area), but they get adequate exposure to trauma, limb salvage, office, etc also. They learn basically everything outside of ankle implants, but your surgical fundamentals will be so rock solid you could easily take a course and learn them... and honestly, who knows how long those will be around anyways? The grad residents there get good numbers and very high quality instruction. What really sets them apart is the teaching quality from their attendings and how committed the PI core faculty are to teaching. They will drive across Atlanta to bring their good cases to DeKalb, and they will spend the time to teach well. You will not be able to find a better set of core attendings together on faculty at a single residency program, and many of their past grads who left the region have also gone on to assemble other high qualiy residency programs (Kaiser SF, Penn Presby, Scripps, Gundersen Lutheran, etc). Also, the amount of education the DeKalb residents are invoved with through the Podiatry Institute is pretty amazing. They have great cadaver labs, PI seminr lectures, and a host of other pod surg writing/editing responsibilities.

All of that training comes at the price of pretty much eating, sleeping, and breahing podiatry for 3yrs, though. As was mentioned above, their days are LOOOOONG. If you like sleeing in on Saturdays, this is not your kind of program. If you value being home to your family/spouse by 6pm more often than not, it's not for you. By 8pm? Still probably not for you. They do many weekend seminars, evening/weekend cadaver labs, evening dinners or journal clubs, etc. The residents I met at PI there were all bright and hardworking, but many of the highly demanding programs do tend to attract the perfectionist and competitive "type-A" personalities. It all varies year to year, though. It's a great clerkship since the whole program is fantastic at teaching, and it's good for learning anatomy since they do most forefoot surgery with no tourniquet. It's sorta a "love it or hate it" month for students since the hours are quite long (my month was circa 6a-6p on weekdays and maybe 7a-1p on weekends... one day off during the month). Also keep in mind that their residents' hours are even worse than the student hours. Even if you don't decide that the residency is for you, you'll still definitely learn a ton during the rotation. I don't consider myself a lazy person by any stretch, but I decided that with the many good programs out there today, you can probably get similar numbers with a bit more free time elsewhere. You won't get the comprehensive PI seminars, labs, etc which the DeKalb residents get... but you can always read McGlamry's, go to their seminars, or buy and watch their surgery videos.

Atlanta-VA is mostly clinic and wound care from what I heard from classmates who rotated there, but it can probably get you decent training if you apply yourself. Most of their best surg cases are the ones that Dr. Jimenez (from PI) brings over to them, and they get to attend some PI academics. You can't really compare the program to PI residency unless you want to compare a cat to a pit bull, but that's the same that could be said for many programs. Always visit /clerk any program you are seriously considering to see how it fits you and how you gel with the residents/culture there. Your best bet might be clerking at DeKalb and then visiting the Atl-VA for a day or two at the beginning/end of the month in Gaaw-jah. :thumbup:
 
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Zimmel
Feb 28, 2010
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Thank you both so much for the thoughtful insight into both programs!
 
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The residents I met at PI there were all bright and hardworking, but many of the highly demanding programs do tend to attract the perfectionist and competitive "type-A" personalities
What does the student who matches with them typically look like on paper? (GPA/class rank, etc.)

I've heard it can be a boys club? How true is that? What is the atmosphere like at Dekalb?
 

ldsrmdude

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I'm sure Feli can answer this question better than I can, but there were several female residents there, including the one that was on call the day I was there and was in charge of not losing me :) When all of the residents were together, I didn't get the impression that there was a boy's club going on, and didn't get the feeling that the ladies were considered any less than the guys. That's just my impression from the few hours I had there.
 

Feli

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What does the student who matches with them typically look like on paper? (GPA/class rank, etc.)

I've heard it can be a boys club? How true is that? What is the atmosphere like at Dekalb?
They are a very teaching focused program. They are just looking for bright and interested candidates who are willing to focus almost exclusively on the teaching/learning program for 3yrs (and usually as alumni lecturers/teachers, aka "distinguished faculty" also) accept residents from all schools, genders, etc.

They probably have at least somewhat of a Temple bias since many of the faculty are alums of that school, but they will consider and accept the best regardless of school. They have accepted at least one female resident per year in recent matches; their current pgy-1 and a matched student who will begin in July are female candidates from my school. You can see their current and former residents here... many leaders of the profession:
http://www.podiatryinstitute.com/faculty.htm

Paper app is tough to eval. You definitely need good grades to get the clerkship and serious consideration for the program, but like most programs, you will make or break your chances on the clerkship and at the interview.