GS prog in Chicago?

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by outforblood, Sep 20, 2002.

  1. outforblood

    outforblood Junior Member

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    Does anyone know anything about Gen Surg programs
    in chicago? I would greatly appreciate any info on the subject.


    Also, how important is research experience (or rather lack there of) in applying to residency programs?


    Lost in a sea of confusion,
    outforblood
     
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  3. Spoonie Love

    Spoonie Love New Member

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    In response to your question:

    the programs here in Chicago include Rush (my program), University of Illinois Chicago, Loyola, Northwestern, University of Chicago, and Chicago Med. These are all university based programs. There are a few private hospital programs, e.g. the St. Joseph's program as well. The best place to look up all programs in all states is in your student affairs office. There should be a book with all this information (including addresses and contact persons for these programs) there for medical student applicants.

    The university programs have affiliated hospitals. Rush's includes Cook County and North Shore, UIC has a VA, as does Northwestern and Loyola. I'm not sure about UC or Chicago Med.
    I am biased towards my program, but each program listed has strengths/weaknesses. You should request info/brochures from all you may be interested in, not just Chicago, but everywhere.

    BTW, I am a 5th year surgery resident here at Rush. Also "ER" on TV is nothing like County.:clap:

    Also research is +/- depending on the program. However, most would agree that if you've done it, you should be able to discuss it intelligently - otherwise if it shows up on your CV and it turns out that your inteviewer just happens to be an expert on it you will be shark chum. This sounds obvious, but I remember some med student applicant horror stories from when I was applying years ago. I did not do any serious research prior to applying and it did not hurt me.

    Bottom line on each program:

    Rush: Excellent training for becoming a well-rounded surgeon; great operative experience, and with the new County opening up, will get even better

    U of C: Great if you want to be Dept. Chair someday; emphasis on academics/research, including 2 years mandatory research during residency

    Northwestern: Private Ritzie hospital with VIP's so it may be hands off in the OR

    Loyola: Rep for being malignant but a strong program

    UIC: ??

    Chicago Med: ?? - very small

    Keep in mind that a) I am from Rush and can only speak accurately about my program and b) these are only reputations - any resident from these other programs can tell it like it really is with their respective programs.
     
  4. ULTRON

    ULTRON No Food And Drinks in Lab

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    I have a quick question: Do surgeons apply for licensure in multiple states? For example, if you indend to practice in Illinois, you may also apply for licensure in Indiana and more states...and pay the annual licensure fees? I've heard that there arn't many surgeries taking place in one hospital - so you gotta travel a lot to different hospitals and even other states to make up the required number of surgeries....??

    ULTRON
     
  5. toxic-megacolon

    toxic-megacolon Toxic Member

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    UChicago's website and FREIDA say the program is 5 years, with research "encouraged" Where did you hear it was 7?
     
  6. happy puppet

    happy puppet nothin left to do but...

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    In speaking with U chi people, it does not demand 2 years research, only encourages. A lot of people end up doing it tho', for their own reasons.

    Also, chi Med and Northwestern are merging...that means more trauma (out of Sinai) and a much larger program (from 4 chiefs to 8 or 9). NWU seems to be very positive about the merger; residents either love the idea or hate it. However, it may make a more diverse OR experience.
     
  7. Smurfette

    Smurfette Antagonized by Azrael
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    Be forewarned that many university programs that "strongly encourage" research often require research without coming right out and saying it. Many places call themselves 5 year programs when in reality few of their grads made it through in less than 7. In programs like this (meaning nearly 100% do research), those who don't want to do research may feel bullied into it, or if they refuse to do research and try to go straight through the program in five years, get treated differently than their peers. I know I ran into a couple programs on the interview trail last year where residents told me that the rare resident who opted out of research was often somewhat ostracized. I don't know about U. Chicago, but I have heard they are fairly malignant in reputation and that it basically is a 7 year program.

    By the way, the original few posts in this thread are over 3 years old and pre-80 hour work week. Just in case some of you didn't notice the dates.
     
  8. SFX

    SFX canonized

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    What about MGH? (the Chicago one, not that other one in Boston.)
     
  9. Smurfette

    Smurfette Antagonized by Azrael
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    I think that at that one most residents do the 5 yr thing and just a couple do research, if I remember correctly. AMY should know the answer to this one as she's a resident there.
     
  10. Amy

    Amy Animal Lover
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    At MGH, one resident/year does a research year (b/w 2nd and 3rd year). I agree w/ Spoonie's assessment for the most part, as far as the "stereotypes" about each program. Loyola is strong academically, but very malignant and not friendly towards women. I must admit that the new County Hospital is very nice (the old one looks super scary, and I've never been inside), but unforunately they have the same employees they always did and trying to get anything done is SO painful. Some people love it there though. Northwestern is in a great location in the middle of the city, with a nice campus.

    Best of luck with your decision. There are a LOT of programs in Chicago, so if you want to end up here, you should be able to find something you like (we have everything from super small community programs to major academic we're-all-gonna-be-dept-chairs-someday programs).
     
  11. boston

    boston Junior Member

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    I am a PGY-3 at U of C. Research at our program is encouraged and strongly supported but not required. About 3/4 of the residents end up choosing to do 2 years of research based on their own career goals, whether it be a career in academic surgery or a fellowship that is hard to obtain without research, e.g. pediatrics, surg onc, etc. Some do choose to go straight through in 5 years. One of our chiefs this year is doing so and joining a group in private practice directly after graduation. The majority choose further fellowship training in their area of interest. Whichever road you choose to take, the path will be open and you will be well-prepared. Our outside hospital rotations include Cook County (trauma) and 2 community hospitals, MacNeal Hospital and Weiss Hospital. At MacNeal we do general and vascular cases. At Weiss we do general, vascular, and plastics cases. I am happy to answer any questions about the program.
     
  12. pazzer2

    pazzer2 Member

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    I'm a former categorical resident at UIC. I did two years at UIC surgery before leaving to switch to another field.

    I totally loved the department and the people, I just realized that surgery was not for me. The training at UIC consists of rotations at the following hospitals (things may have changed since I left 8 years ago):

    Michael Reese- private practice hospital, my least favorite of the 4 rotations
    U of Illinois - academic center, many transplants
    Christ - Level 1 trauma center on the south side, great private practice rotation and preparation for real life
    West Side VA - typical VA hospital, with excellent patient base. Residents get to run the show here.

    Overall UIC is a great place, you'll get great experience. Nearly all the graduates go onto do fellowships.
     
  13. eilis721

    eilis721 Member

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    Boston,
    Are you happy at U Chicago? How is the interaction between fellow residents? Do you get along well with attendings? Any comments would be appreciated. Thank you so much.
     
  14. boston

    boston Junior Member

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    Hi eilis,
    In terms of resident - attending interaction. It really varies depending on the individual attending -- this is what you will find at every program. Wide range of individual personalities. Some are more formal, others will have you call them by their first name. Some will interact mostly with the senior, others won't mind rounding with the intern. Much of the teaching occurs in the OR, some occurs during rounds or clinic.

    I am going to forward a reply I sent to another applicant since it answers your other questions:

    "It has a great academic reputation, but are residents happy in general? Is there good camaraderie? "

    Residents are happy in general as far as I can tell. This is not to say that everyone is happy all the time. General surgery resident is tough. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not telling you the whole truth. Our program is not malignant. However, if you come to our program, be prepared to work hard. It is no cakewalk and you will be working harder than your internal medicine classmates. Our program directly is very serious and strict about compliance with the 80 hour work week and over the past 2 years we have made a number of organization adjustments that have worked very well to keep us compliant, as well as ensure patient well-being with good continuity. As a plus, lifestyle has noticeably improved over the past few years.

    Camaraderie -- I can say for a fact that the one thing I value most about my program is my fellow residents. Many of the seniors and chiefs that I have had in the past few years have been great role models, both as physicians and as human beings. We are a close-knit group and look out for each other. I imagine I feel the same way about my fellow residents as marines in the same platoon. I would be happy to take an extra call for them in an emergency because I know they would return the favor in kind.

    "Does the progam director genuinely care for the welfare of the residents?"

    I can tell you without a doubt that when I meet with Dr. Posner (our program director) that I can tell that he genuinely cares about each and every one of us individually. He is constantly making active efforts to improve our educational experience. For example, recently we have added 2 new faculty. One specializes in advanced laparoscopy who will be developing and building a new laparoscopic teaching lab to replace the current one. Another is a surgical oncologist who trained at Sloan-Kettering. He is a phenomenal teacher who has organized a oral board review conference is simply amazing.

    "Is there stability among the faculty and leaders?"
    Our program is very stable -- financially and faculty-wise. Our previous program director (Fabrizio Michelassi) left to become chairman at Cornell, an opportunity he understandably could not pass up. Dr. Posner (our current program director) has been here for many years and will likely be around for many more years. We seem to be adding many new young faculty these days and there is a noticeable infusion of energy and new blood. Overall there is not a more solid program in the city.

    As always, take what I (and anyone else) says with a grain of salt. Although I try to be as honest as I can with you, I may be inherently biased. You will have to go by your gut feeling when you make your rank list; it's impossible to be completely objective. Nevertheless, I hope this helps you. Feel free to ask further if I there is more I can clarify.
     
  15. peach79

    peach79 Junior Member

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    hi everyone...I am an applicant interested in academic surgery, and unfortunately had to accept u of C and northwestern interviews for the same day. I am having an awful time deciding which to take, which to decline. the info here is helpful, and i was wondering if anyone who has any experience/exposure with these 2 programs could address how they 'stack up' to eachother? I have heard the u of c experience can be rough but is top rate, while NU is solid but can be weaker in operative experience since its private. any thoughts???

    ps I REALLY want to stay in chicago, so i also am concerned about where i am "more likely" to match. argh. :(
     
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  17. washkeep

    washkeep ProudFieldFairy

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    Does anyone have any updated info on Chicago Gen Surg residencies? I'd really like to be in Chicago for residency (I'm an m3) but I don't really know much about any of the programs. Any advice/info would be GREATLY appreciated!!
     
  18. GSresident

    GSresident PGY4 on July 1, 04

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    I just want to put in a plug for Northwestern. It is where I did medical school. I saw residents operating quite a bit. Not as much as I did at University of Kansas but enough that I would let any of them operate on me.

    My current plastics program director did 3 years of GS at NW. He is a badass. I think if you went to NW you would be just fine and having NW anywhere on your CV opens doors. I probably wouldn't be a plastic surgeon without it.
     
  19. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli

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    I can't speak for the GS program at Northwestern, but the integrated plastics residency seemed excellent on the interview trail and has a great reputation. And as GSresident says, having that NW on your CV can never hurt you.

    U of Chicago has a combined plastics program, which is a little different in that you are property of general surgery for three years. When I interviewed there I was really impressed, especially with their general surgery years. I would have ranked it higher if it were truly integrated as opposed to combined (also, that program is very microsurgery oriented, and as cool as that is, for a private practice plastic surgeon the answer is not always "free tissue transfer"). U of Chicago seemed especially academically oriented and I agree that it would definitely be a great place to go if you wanted to be an academic chairman of surgery or get into a competitive fellowship like peds surgery. When I made my rank list (although it was for plastics, not GS) U of Chicago was just a half of a quarter of a tenth of a notch below NYU in my global view of excellent training programs with great academic opportunities. I think in these cases that the viewpoint I got from plastics interviews definitely translates to GS.
     
  20. TomC727

    TomC727 Member

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    I have rotated with all the surgical residencies of the city except for Northwestern and Chicago Med. So the residents from the following programs I rotated with are:

    Loyola
    UIC
    UIC MGH
    U of C
    Rush

    All the residents I worked with from the various programs were good technically, but UIC was the best. They were the finest in technical skills out of all the programs. All programs are quite strong, but if I would pick one, UIC was my favorite. I will not get into specifics but even some of the residents from a few programs had quite a few criticisms of their program, except for UIC. Not one resident I worked with had anything bad to say about it.

    Hope this helps.
     
  21. boston

    boston Junior Member

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    I am still around, now a senior resident at UofC. Older -- possibly wiser?? As always, glad to answer any questions about the program, so you all can make as informed a choice as you can. Really, when you are choosing a program, there is no *best* program -- there is only "best for you." We all have different goals in life and in our career of where we want to go. In the end, you want the program and the applicant to be a good fit or a good match. It is like marriage -- in more ways than one.

    UofC will open doors for you -- particularly in surg onc, pediatric surgery, vascular, and transplant. Current chiefs this year are going into surg onc (Univ of Pittsburgh), surg onc (Sloan-Kettering), plastics, and pediatrics. Last year, trauma (Cook County), surg onc (MD Anderson), surg onc (MD Anderson), and Vascular (UAB). Quality of the fellowship match is just one measure however.

    What about operative ability? Recently, one of the current chiefs started a whipple with me without the attending present. For him it was his 12th whipple. I asked if he could do it by himself. He said that although he was not completely comfortable with it yet, he could probably take me through the entire whipple. He also has done a dozen esophagectomies (transhiatal)... as well as several transthoracic.

    We certainly are more top-heavy than community programs, but in the end I think it balances out and we get to do our share of complex cases. I finished all my vascular numbers as a PGY-2. After PGY-3, I had twice the number of required vascular cases. Finished all my peds requirements as a PGY-3 as well.

    Research is entirely optional -- so is academics. Three years ago a chief went into private practice, straight through -- probably one of our best chiefs. Next year, another chief will join him in the same practice -- straight through, 5 years. Still 75% of us choose to go into research -- entirely voluntary -- but most of us end up in academics based on personal interest.

    I think there are several strong programs in Chicago and that we stack up well with any of them. You will get solid training at any of these programs -- more a matter of "fit" with your career and personal goals. Again, I am glad to answer any questions about our program and to dispel any potential rumors floating out there with firsthand experience.
     
  22. stlcard

    stlcard Junior Member

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    Does anyone have info, from a resident's perspective, regarding this program. It is affiliated with UIC.
     
  23. Amy

    Amy Animal Lover
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    Word on the street is that the program is shutting down...
     
  24. washkeep

    washkeep ProudFieldFairy

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    Thanks for the info... I do understand that residency is more of a match than college or med school and that's actually really important to me. I really need a good environment where I mesh. Anyways, I'm actually really interested in trauma/burn. Are there certain chicago programs that would provide better experience? Thanks again..
     
  25. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Almost all programs will provide you with sufficient trauma/burns experience. If they do not have it in-house, they will send you elsewhere for a rotation.

    If you are interested in being a trauma surgeon, pick the best general surgery program you can match into without regard to whom gives you the most trauma/burns experience. Remember, that many many medical students change their mind about the field they are interested in and you should not choose a residency based on a single specialty. The exceptions are the very hard to match into programs like Plastics...you'll need to make some contacts.

    Choosing a hospital with lots of trauma may sound great now, but given that its largely non-operative, you'd be better off with a hospital with less trauma, more general surgery and more exposure to other fellowship trained fields. Just as many medical students change their mind about what field to go into, many surgical residents do as well. You may find that you like Transplant or Colorectal better, so it doesn't make much sense to me to be searching for a trauma heavy residency. You will get enough, believe me, in almost any program. Furthermore, if you end up doing a trauma fellowship, there will be more than enough training to satisfy you.
     
  26. Also, PLEASE do not just apply to Chicago programs! Apply much more widely.
     

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