avgjoe

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Hi guys,
As we all start to do interviews, it would help if we shared our experiences with each other. I've copied this format from the ophtho forum, feel free to make changes as necessary.

1. Name of the program
2. # of interviews that day (indicate if one to one or panel interview)
3. a place you would recommend visiting during the stay
4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
5. overall impression of the program - pros and cons
6. How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?

Thanks!
 

stressfracture

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#1- UT-San Antonio (it has a longer name "health science etc." but I can't remember it all)
#2- I had 3 thirty-minute interviews- One with an attending, One with the program director, and one with the Chairman of the Department. Each interview had a resident as well.
#3- I was in SA at the time, so no good recommendations on a hotel
#4- The interview with the attending and his cohort was basically a 30min pimp session. He started out by asking about an interesting case that I have encountered and then used it as a springboard to a "senario" in which I had to manage a patient that just came into the ER. It wasn't too much of a pressure cooker, but wasn't really expecting it. From what I gather, he usually asked about the workups for acute cholecystitis or appendicitis, etc.
#5- Impression: Pro- new, and very enthusiastic chairman. He really wants to build the reputation of the program and create "doctor/scientists". The attendings seemed nice and there was a good mix of hospitals that everyone rotated through. Plus, there are incentives for doing well on the ABSITE and a bimonthly textbook club where junior residents review chapters with a senior. The CON- a MANDATORY 7 year residency (recall: the "doctor/Scientist" vision)
#6 - It was the first and only interview so far.
Hope that helps...
 

stressfracture

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1. Name of the program-MCV
2. # of interviews that day (indicate if one to one or panel interview)- I had 3 interviews each 20min with a wide mix of M.D.s - from plastics attendings to emeritus faculty. The PD arranged for every interviewee to have 10 min of "face time" with either himself or the Dept. Chairman. More a Q & A than an interview. There was a cocktail reception the night before and lots of residents and faculty were there. They were all very engaging and fun to talk to. My wife enjoyed talking to the Residents' spouses.
3. a place you would recommend visiting during the stay- The Commonwealth Park Suites were good. Big rooms, comfortable beds and only 3 blocks from the hospital. They had a valet parking option for $9 that made it a little easier. The reception is the the Crown Plaza (another option that the dept. gives you), so that's something else to consider.
4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program- See above. Oh, this is pretty standard, but have LOTS of questions. More than selling yourself, it seemed like the interviewers wanted to answer your questions about the program.
5. overall impression of the program - PROS: lots of trauma and an abundance of research opportunities- those are "flexible"- not everybody has to do research, and they stressed that point. The PD is really receptive to residents' concerns and needs. He is strict on the 80hrs. They also have a good bit of protected time for conferences and didactics. Lots of new construction. The Chair has a real vision for the program. CONS: transplant is what they are known for. With that reputation comes the assurance that only as a chief will you even get to retract on any cases. There is a lot of trauma.
6. How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far? - It was only the second place, but did seem more established, with more tradition. Couldn't get a real good feel for how much everyone liked each other, but they all said they did...
 

stressfracture

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I know many people have already interviewed at a wide variety of programs. Why not fill the rest of us in. Granted, these are thoughts from only one perspective, but I think they would be beneficial. If nothing else, adding your own experiences to this thread would cause you to actually sit down and put into words how you felt about the place, the people, the experience.
 

stressfracture

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1. Name of the program- UTKMC
2. # of interviews that day (indicate if one to one or panel interview)- 4 one-on-one interviews with faculty and PD/Chairman
3. a place you would recommend visiting during the stay-n/a- I stayed with my brother
4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program-Have a good time and ask lots of questions.
5. overall impression of the program - PRO: the residents are truly nice. It seemed like they all liked each other (eg. they get together every wednesday night to hang out and their bimonthly journal club is at a different attending's house each time). The chairman is well-respected and super nice. He was very honest about the fact that the program didn't have the national recognition of Mass Gen, but also quick to point out that the individual faculty members were all accomplished and well-known. They operate a lot. No fellows (except vascular) so there are plenty of cases to go around. In fact, lots of cases go without a resident because the attending:resident ratio is so low. They encourage autonomy. the facilities are really nice.
CONS: less well-known. The chiefs don't go into a huge variety of fellowships and about half of the graduates go into gen. surg private practice. Not really a con, but it all depends on what you want. Also, not a lot of research opportunities, but they are definitely there and you can get it.
6. How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far? - more friendly, like a big family. The faculty seemed much more approachable. It looked like a place where one could train and really be happy.
 

fishmonger69

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1. Name of the program - Univ of Louisville
2. # of interviews that day (indicate if one to one or panel interview) - 3 individ and 1 q/a session with dr. mcmasters
3. a place you would recommend visiting during the stay - hampton inn across from jewish; they are considering dropping jewish as their hotel choice
4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program - DO NOT MISS THE DINNER THE NIGHT BEFORE! it was quite nice to meet up with so many residents/faculty at one time. by far the largest turnout of my 3 interviews thus far
5. overall impression of the program - pros and cons
PROS: operate a ton, 1100+ majors in 5 years and that's likely leaving quite a few out; opportunity for ccm fellowship after year 3; great history (students say it's still somewhat malignant as Polk runs Monday rounds, but McMasters is doing a fine job swinging it the other direction; lots of fellowships/research so you can get your spot upon finishing up
CONS: if you don't like work, this is not the place for you; fellows present but apparently do not get in the way of resident cases
6. How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far? - strong, collegial atmosphere. you can tell you'll work your ass off but that it'll be worth it; faculty very approachable (might change when you become 'staff' but i doubt it). overall a strong program imho.
 

fishmonger69

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1. Name of the program - U.Tenn-Memphis
2. # of interviews that day (indicate if one to one or panel interview) - 2-3 individual interviews
3. a place you would recommend to stay - DO NOT STAY AT THE Hilton/Doubletree downtown across from the ballpark, it was awful (regardless of their 'recent renovation' notice online)
4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program - social the night before is worthwhile. the brewery Boscos is a nice place that residents often meet at with faculty during the week.
5. overall impression of the program - pros and cons
PROS: again, lots of OR time. probably close to the number of cases as Univ.Louisville with a heavier slant towards trauma. most residents that i spoke with loved their trauma, so if you're not interested in this aspect of surgery you might not feel as comfortable. however, the minimally invasive dept is making large strides and will likely be a very strong department. transplant is also quite strong with a liver program in place, lots of exposure if you want it. lots of construction/research going on, always a good thing.
CONS: sorry, memphis is nasty. living downtown is not really an option if you have a significant other or you value your life. west of town is beautiful and offers many housing options.
6. How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far? - enjoyed the residents and faculty. workload will be high with tons of trauma. not a fan of memphis though (sorry native memphis folks)
 

solstice118

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1. Name of the program-Indiana University
2. # of interviews that day (indicate if one to one or panel interview) 5 interviews 3 -20 min with 2 faculty for each session. 2 of 3 sessions have your CV, one session does not. 2- 10 min int with PD and Chairman
3. a place you would recommend visiting during the stay- University Conference hotel and place
4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program- Go to the diner the night before. Good turnout of residents. Do city tour and hospital tours.
5. overall impression of the program - Overall good NON-malignant program (seemingly). ALOT of hepatobiliary, trauma, peds. City is affordable even if you want to live downtown. Avg 800-1000 cases. Fairly big program-9 cat slots.
pros and cons
Pros-Resident Comradery is EXCELLENT! Everyone was very eager and happy to answer questions. They also seemed to get along. Chairman seemed very intersted in resident welfare-alot of protected time for didactics and skills training in a pig lab.
Cons- The city might be not the most happenin' place for single professionals. Colorectal experience is not as good but they say it will improve.

6. How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far? First one I've been to.
 

Espion

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1. University of Kansas, Kansas City
2. Technically you are supposed to end up with 4 one to one interviews (one PD, one chairman, two other faculty, including chiefs). Through scheduling weirdness, I ended up with 6.
3. Rats...where did I stay...Oh yeah. The Sun Inn (otherwise known as the Ghetto Inn, heh). Yes, it is ghetto, but it is also literally across a small two-lane street from the building you will interview in. So, I would recommend it simply for the ease of getting to your interview with no worries.
They give you the option of letting one of the residents pick you up and take you to the social at the PD's house the night before (which I highly recommend, its a catered dinner and it had an amazing turnout of residents). Believe me, let them pick you up and drive you, because that house is not easy to find in the dark. And so help you if you end up in Missouri with its plethora (plethora, El Guapo?) of one-way streets.
4. As above. And also relax, because the interviews are very laid-back and non-malignant. They are very interested in getting to know you as a person.
5. Pros: They are looking for residents who are truly a "right fit" for their program. No one is trying to shake you down. Kansas City has about 2 million people, so it is the major trauma center for a significant population. One major point about their program that sets them apart (and this can be a pro or a con, depending on your perspective) is "the circuit" year. As a PGY-4, you spend your year between night float and rotations in Kansas City, Topeka and Garden City. Garden City is, I think, about 6 hours away. So you will spend a significant portion of your year away from your family, but that is made up in sheer experience. In a couple of these places, you are it. I get the feeling that the graduates come away as excellent technical and clinical surgeons...thus preparing them for fellowship or private practice (about half and half, depending on the year).
Cons: For me, the only thing I didn't like is that there wasn't much of an emphasis on taking a year or two for dedicated research. This could be good news for others of you, though.
On probation for the 80-hour work week, for which they instituted night float (covers Sunday 24 hours, then Monday through Thursday 6pm to 6am. For the teams not on night float, the only call days possible are Friday and Saturday, which amounts to about every other weekend off, depending on the service.)
6. This was my first interview of two I have gone on so far (most of mine are Dec/Jan). Very family and resident oriented. PD and Chairman are brand new as of a year ago, and they have done amazing things in such a short period of time. I think in part, because they actually listen to their residents and make their suggestions part of their solutions.


Rats. Brevity has never been a strong point. Its a wonder my personal statement was less than 500 words. (A miracle.)
 

NebelDO

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1. Mayo Clinic- Rochester, MN
2. A total of 4 interviews-each 20 mins. I had 1 with a Chief, 1 with hepatobiliary attending,1 with colorectal attending, and everyone got 3 minutes with Dr. Farley the PD.Some people got the Chairman as one of their interviewers, some got a bunch of residents.
3.The place to stay is at the Kahler hotel. right across the street from the clinic. 40 bucks for a student room.Cant beat it.
4.Night before was a mingle, finger food kind of dinner. Lots of resident turn out. a couple of chiefs plus a few residents from each year.I got all my questions answered here.No attending came to the dinner however. This is by design.
5.Pros: Its Mayo, case load is unbelieveable each chief has done > 1000 cases. They are way above the RRC minimums(yes even for truama) in all categories. The residents have so much autonomy its scary. The facilities are the best you will ever find. Everything except the progress notes is on the Computer. There is research oozing from everywhere. you can do what you want.like they say, If you take care of mayo, mayo takes care of you.You will get to operate here, the only time where there are fellows is when you are on vascular, and CT.Even then, there are plenty of cases to go around.All the residents get along so well together. The locals are very nice.
6.Cons: I think the only con is the location.(I like it because im a small town guy)buts its not for everybody who is used to the city life. the city of rochester has around 100,000 people. Its a small town with not much hustle and bustle. the twin cities are 77 miles away. For peds residents go to St Paul childrens. Trauma now is at the Clinic, they do not ship residents out anymore.Most truama here is blunt(people being run over by their own hay baler or something).
 

robotsonic

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This is my first interview. I hope more people start sharing experiences - it was actually really nice to talk to other students about their experiences today at the interview.

1. Name of the program: St Luke's Roosevelt (NYC)
2. # of interviews that day: 2 total; 1 panel with the PD, chair, and vice-chair; 1 with an attending (although others had the second interview with 3 residents)
3. a place you would recommend visiting during the stay: I live in the city. NYC is absurdly expensive so if you need a place to stay then PM me.
4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program: Go to the cocktail event the night before. The residents are very friendly and after they've had a few drinks it's pretty amusing ;) Seriously, though, the residents seem very happy and were all willing to discuss the program openly.
As for the actual interview day, just relax and have fun - the interviews were completely relaxed, no tough questions, nothing unexpected, and the food is good. Questions asked: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Did you go to the social event last night?
5. overall impression of the program
Pros: Esprit de corps. The residents are laid-back and they seem to get along very well. Two residents per year get to do a year of research after PGY3. Everyone publishes at some point during the residency. The housing location is excellent (west side), and the prices are reasonable (for NYC housing, which is always ridiculous). Graduating residents are getting the fellowships they want.
Cons: The place is not as academically focused as some of the bigger programs in the city. And as the residents will tell you, this isn't the place to go if you hope to be department chair someday.
6. How did it compare to other programs? This was my first interview.
Overall, the place seems really great. It's not one of the academic powerhouses but it's not a community hospital either; seems like a nice mix. The atmosphere is excellent, you get to teach Columbia med students, and you can do research if you want. Very good overall feeling.
 

Soon2BENT

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1. Name of the program
University of Louisville

2. # of interviews that day (indicate if one to one or panel interview)
3 with faculty, 1 roundtable with chairman

3. a place you would recommend visiting during the stay
The Inn at Jewish or Hampton Inn

4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
Go to social get together beforehand and get to know the personalities of all the attendings and residents. Good food and free drinks!

5. overall impression of the program - pros and cons
Pros- Tons of operating time, will be well prepared as a chief, great resident repore. Louisville is a very affordable town to live in with an up and coming nightlife

Cons- honestly can't think of one

6. How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
Currently on second interview. Will edit later.
 

daisygirl

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Nov 28, 2001
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SUNY Downstate

# of interviewers/interviewees
One on one interview and a total of two. Each interview was about 30 minutes. Personally, I liked this format. There appeared to be about 30 candidates there on the day that I interviewed.

a place you would recommend visiting during the stay
I cannot help with this. I live in a surrounding borough.

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
I wasn't asked anything atypical. I was asked the usual stuff- why surgery?; why downstate?;where else have you interviewed?; where do you see yourself in five years?; any further questions? Other than the usual mumbo jumbo, the interviews were very conversational and quite enjoyable actually. I hit it off with both my interviewers which probably helped.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
Very positive. I was throughly impressed with the introduction held in the morning of the interview. Yes, the introductory speech was long (they had many attendings representing all of the different clinical sites and some other attendings about research, etc..), however, it was very useful. I also was particularly impressed with the enthusiasm emanated from those who spoke to us regarding their program. It was quite obvious that the faculty are quite proud of their program and the residents also seem very happy.

Pros- Exceptional clinical exposure, oodles of penetrating trauma (and of course blunt), what appears to be a cohesive group of attendings dedicated to their role in educating future surgeons, emphasis on not only clinical training but the incorporation of basic science into the curriculum, excellent fellowship placement (current chief matched into surg-onc without doing any research), new operating rooms are soon to open, lots of opportunities for research (not sure if this is protected time though, and I should have asked this). I left the day feeling that you will be well trained if you match at Downstate.

Cons- The area. It just plain sucks. They also rotate through four different hospitals that are not exactly around the corner from each other. Lastly- may be a pro or con depending on your view, this program will work you hard.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
I was quite surprised at just how much I liked Downstate. I could definitely see myself ranking the program quite highly. I've interviewed at three other programs so far: UMDNJ-Newark (liked this program a lot), Stamford Hospital in CT (felt that this program sucks and I will not be ranking it), and Maimonides (no comment just yet with this one). My upcoming interviews are at better programs so I'll update at a later date.
 

happy puppet

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# of interviewers/interviewees
Two one-on-one and then a round table with the chair; pretty straight-forward, relatively formal interviews (at least my first one: he asked me what hurdles I'll have being a woman in surgery...hmmm...kinda thought that was an illegal question!) Otherwise, no pimping. Very organized in terms of time (felt like Step2CS, knocking on the door at "one minute left"!) Dr. Bell has you write down all your other interviews.

a place you would recommend visiting during the stay
Crashed with a friend in Bucktown; took the El to the medical center (Chicago: red line stop).

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
Very fellowship heavy; NW is esp strong with surg onc and research; trauma is not as important. The whole Mt. Sinai merger seems to still be in the air but I suspect it will go through which may or may not be a bad thing.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
Good. I know a decent amount about the program anyway tho', but the presentation was very thorough. NW treats its residents AWESOMELY. Big focus on resident education; they even buy you loupes. Residents pretty mellow.

Pros: big academic center in best part of Chicago; right on the lake, can bike to children's on the lake path; awesome opportunity for any fellowship, in house call almost non-existent due to NF system. beautiful hospital. Big numbers for everything.

Cons: as much as they try to deny it, this is NOT an underserved population. Children's perhaps more so but their private hospital (Evanston) is North Shore richies. Consequently, weak on trauma. Hafta commute to Mt. Sinai (their trauma place) and Evanston, both of which can be 45 minutes.
 

Winged Scapula

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1. Name of the program Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

2. # of interviews that day (indicate if one to one or panel interview) One to One, usually 3 faculty and one resident interview

3. a place you would recommend visiting during the stay Downtown Hershey is cute; Hershey Park is close-by as is the Outlet mall. Perhaps downtown Harrisburg because if you go out, that's likely where you'll go.

4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program Know the differential for Small Bowel Obstruction (one of the interviewers asks)
 

fishmonger69

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Oct 8, 2005
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WashU

# of interviewers/interviewees
4 interviews - 3 with faculty and 1 with chief resident; each interview 20 mins with 1 20 min break period interspersed; well organized, even with about 30 interviewees present

a place you would recommend visiting during the stay
parkway is within walking distance to everything you'll need for the weekend.

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
bring your appetite - dinner was great both nights. don't be afraid to polish your non-medical talking skills as the faculty and residents are very sociable and willing to discuss just about anything.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
Good; residents and faculty appear to get along quite well. Chair and PD take a very proactive approach to resident training; cases seem a little on the low side, but all divisions are strong.

Pros: big research center that will allow you to do just about anything research-oriented (can moonlight during lab years); night-float system with call q7-q14 on most services; short-tracking for vascular and CT; great skills lab that PD has put a ton of effort into

Cons: almost impossible to come up with one, both for me and the residents/faculty i spoke with. operative load appears a little low compared to some other programs, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. just something to note.
 

UT-Lilly

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1. UT-southwestern (Dallas)
2. three one-to-one interviews during the day, one with an R5; break period to chat with faculty and PD and chair
3. I'm from Dallas, and stayed with my parents.
4. If you did research, know about it--this is a research-heavy institution.
5. PROS: breadth of pathology, autonomy, skills lab, likely the best didactics in the country, mix of county/VA/private/community/Childrens, program will support you in any path you wish to take (extra projects, rotations); CONS: too much trauma for me, too many residents for me, too much county work for me, county system often constrained by finances, little early OR experience.
6. Likely some of the best GS training in the country. UTSW puts a TON of effort into teaching. Pretty formal training, like at M&M and Chief's conference. Unsure how much "malignancy" there really is in the program.
 

daisygirl

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# of interviewers/interviewees
One on one interview and a total of two. Each interview was 20-30 minutes. There appeared to be about 50 candidates there on the day that I interviewed. The interview day was completely disorganized. I actually left this place at the end of the day feeling pretty pissed off since I had held the program in high regards prior to setting foot in the place for an interview.

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
Maybe you'll get lucky and your interviewer will read your file prior to sitting down with you. This was not a blinded interview, but it should of been due to the lack of organization. The person interviewing me simply happened to be the next attending who had time to interview a candidate. One of my interviewers read questions off of a sheet that he was supposed to fill out (by reading my freakin' file). These were the questions: step one score? AOA? prior research? As you can see this was truly an interview where the institution is trying to figure out if the candidate fits their program :rolleyes:

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
Very negative. The morning introduction by the PD was the same old song and dance. There were some residents hanging around, however, there were only two of them. At one point the PD testily told one of them to get more residents "now".

Pros- Exceptional clinical exposure, good trauma exposure, excellent fellowship placement. You will be trained well at Monte, however, I get the feeling that it would be a painful five years.

Cons- The program is still in a great degree of flux. They've had three chairman in a ten year span. They haven't had a permanent chairman in over a year, but they're "interviewing candidates". I did not get the impression that the residents were happy (hell, it appeared that they needed to be dragged into the area where the candidates were). My gut feeling tells me that there is quite a rift between faculty and residents. I also heard that one of their infamous vascular attendings will be leaving the program soon.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
The interview day left me totally unimpressed. I don't expect a red carpet to be rolled out for my arrival, however, I do expect an organized interview day. I left the interview day utterly disgusted.
 

surg-girl

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I have to disagree with daisygirl, I did not get a good overall impression.

# of interviewers/interviewees
Two one-on-one interviews. About 25 interviewees.

A place you would recommend visiting during the stay
Not sure, I stayed with a friend.

Any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
My first interviewer was a new faculty member, so he was very nice but did not know that much about the program. No tough questions--if you couldn't be a surgeon, what would you be? And if you couldn't be a doctor, what would you do? My second interviewer was previously a green beret and had more of an old school interview style--he pressured me, and purposely asked some questions that would make me uncomfortable to see how I would react. He asked me if I thought women should be treated equally in surgery, if women could perform as well men. (I told him i thought we were better.) He used this to lead into an illegal question about family life. You get the picture.

Overall impression of the program - pros and cons
Overall impression is 3/10.

Pros- Great trauma experience, with King's County right across the street. New buildings.

Cons- The area is not nice...but you can choose to live in a nice part of Brooklyn, since you'll have to have a car to drive to the 5 hospital sites they use. They brag about this many sites as one of their strong points, but sounds like a lot of driving to me. The program director seems like he is pretty tough, and would unsupportive if he was unpleased with you. He made a joke in front of all the interviewees for a resident to "sit down, and stick to the script." It was obviously a joke, and everyone laughed...but I got a bad feeling.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
It was pretty unorganized. Interviewers would just come to the office and randomly choose an applicants folder. This is compared to other interviews, where they had a personalized printed list for everyone. They had a post-call trauma chief interviewing candidates. Last thing, I had to kill a cockroach on our table during lunch.
 

daisygirl

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surg girl- sorry to hear that you had a bad experience at downstate. my view of downstate is probably somewhat skewed since i had hit it off with both of my interviewers.

a bit off topic, but i need to rant. this whole interview process is draining me. i've been routinely asked illegal questions on interviews. For example: are you going to get pregnant in the near future? as a female, how do you think you'll handle the lifestyle of surgery?-- i especially love this one since the lifestyle sucks irrespective if you are an xx or xy. i am repeatedly asked where have i interviewed (not sure if this is illegal, however, i don't understand why programs find this a necessary question).

i have only liked two of the seven programs that i have interviewed at. i felt the rest of them were bordering on an interrogation. i essentially feel like i am having one bad interview after another. all of this negativitiy is making me feel as if i won't be matching this year. :(

sorry for the rant. i just need to blow off some steam.
 
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Winged Scapula

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daisygirl said:
i am repeatedly asked where have i interviewed (not sure if this is illegal, however, i don't understand why programs find this a necessary question).
The reason for the question is to ascertain where else you might be interested in. If you are interviewing at all Top tier programs in the West and you show up at our little Podunk place, we might wonder why you're here and how interested you really are. They are likely trying to figure out if you are mainly looking at the type of program they offer (ie, academic vs community), your geographic interests, etc. Sometimes its just a way to keep up the conversation.
 

robotsonic

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1. Name of the program: NYU

2. # of interviews that day (indicate if one to one or panel interview): 2 one-on-one faculty interviews, 25 minutes each. The interviewers had a grading sheet, and had to ask a few odd questions and then grade your answer. Nothing too strange. And there are always the standard interview questions. Also, the two people who interviewed me seemed to know my file well and asked good questions about things that I had done.

3. a place you would recommend visiting during the stay: visiting? check out the east village :p

4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program: Go to the social event the night before if you can. When I went there were a ton of residents, all willing to discuss the program openly. Wear comfortable shoes on interview day! There was a lot of walking.

5. overall impression of the program: I was extremely impressed with NYU. It has a reputation for being malignant, but it did NOT seem malignant. The residents all know about NYU's reputation and they were all willing to discuss it. It seems that NYU used to be very malignant until a relatively recent (last ten years) turnover in chairman and faculty. The current chair and PD are both focused on resident education, and they have made an effort to get rid of the malignant aspects of the program (no flogging at M&M, etc). They do have high standards of their residents, but the residents enjoy that and are given a lot of autonomy in return. The R5s constantly talk about how they do cases on their own, without the attending ever scrubbing in (while mentioning that the attendings are supportive and always willing to help if the resident asks for it). At Bellevue, the R3 runs the trauma activations, while the chief and attending stand back and watch. They are all very proud of the autonomy that the residents have.

Pros: Bellevue is amazing (with the most beautiful SICU ever). The 3 hospitals in which you work are all within walking distance of each other. They just created a new skills lab with laparoscopic training setups. Many of the residents take a year or two off after PGY3 for research, and they get great positions (with a lot going to MSKCC). Finally, the residents really do have a lot of autonomy, and they get great operating experience as a result.

Cons: No guaranteed housing. There is some housing nearby, but it isn't guaranteed that you will be able to get a place. Many of the residents find a place on their own, and none of them seemed to have a problem getting a place nearby.

6. How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far? I really really liked NYU, which surprised me. I haven't been to many interviews yet, so I can't really compare them. Overall, though, :thumbup: .
 

PatrickBateman

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This is very helpful. Thanks.
 

ExtraCrispy

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All right, I've procrastinated enough . . . I'll start updating this with my experiences.

1. Name of the program: SUNY Stony Brook

2. # of interviews that day (indicate if one to one or panel interview): 2 interviews, both one-on-one. Both were very short and relaxed, without any inkling of pimping. The interviewers don't know much about you, as most randomly pick up your file from a stack before calling your name. The entire day has a laid back - and sometimes disorganized - feel. . . the orientation consisted of the PD sitting down with the group of us, in his street clothes, and asking, "so whaddya wanna know?" He was candid about the pros and cons of the program, and seems most interested in recruiting candidates who will be happy there. There were 12 candidates present on my interview day.

3. a place you would recommend visiting during the stay:
I stayed at the Holiday Inn, which was pretty standard. They're renovating at present, so parts were unsightly, but there wasn't any noise in the middle of the night.

4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program:
If you have a strong interest in the program, I'd actually recommend getting the name of a resident and contacting them with questions once the day is over. I suggest this b/c there's no night-before get together, and during the lunch with residents on the interview day the room is filled with faculty mingling and munching. There's less opportunity to get the skinny on the program than I've seen at other places.

5. overall impression of the program:
As a referral center for a chunk of Long Island, Stony Brook provides solid clinical training. The case load is competitive, and there's strong experience in trauma & critical care. Many faculty are young, and the rapport between residents & faculty is largely cooperative & relaxed, although my understanding is that it tends to be hierarchical & strained with certain attendings. At Stony Brook residents rotate between three hospitals, which provides a varied and expanded educational experience. Although residents are sometimes involved in research, it's definitely NOT a focus (when I inquired, the response from the powers that be was, "yeah, I guess you could do it.")

Pros: Huge vascular caseload, strong training in trauma & critical care, referral center for large area, rotations in community, university, & VA hospitals provides great exposure, location terrific for raising a family, autonomy in the OR, no fellows

Cons: Research not a focus, no computer charting, location may be lousy if you're single, three hospitals are far apart and require mucho traveling time, mixed reports about faculty, experience heavily weighted toward vascular, no laparoscopic lab, competitive fellowships may be tougher to obtain from this program

6. How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
In terms of the interview day, it was very informal, and leaned toward disorganization. As for the program itself, it provides solid clinical training with a group of residents who are friendly & supportive of one another. The location could be a plus or a drawback, depending upon the needs of a given resident. If you're interested in a competitive fellowship or experience in research, you can do it at Stony Brook, but you'd have to push harder to make it happen than at other places. The caseload is heavily weighted toward vascular, with most residents graduating with more cases than many fellows - terrific if you're aiming for vascular, but potentially frustrating if you have other interests.
 

ExtraCrispy

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I'm going to make this short, since daisygirl so thoroughly commented on this one...and something tells me we were there on the same day. But here goes...

Albert Einstein/ Montefiore

# of interviewers/interviewees
Ditto to what daisy said. I interviewed w/ the PD, who knew my file, and with an attending who hadn't seen it before our session. Interviews were relaxed & laid back.

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
Be forewarned that the day is poorly organized. The coordinator seemed harried and had piles of applicants' folders arranged haphazardly in an order that none of us could ascertain. If you interview with the PD, take advantage of the fact that he's very honest - he'll be perfectly candid with you, and will tell you both the pros and cons of the program without any sugar coating.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
You'll get solid training, but you might be miserable doing it.

Pros- Great range of pathology (Monty is the only major hospital north of Manhattan, indigent patient population). **AMAZING** minimally invasive lab (truly one of the best I've seen). Good fellowship placement. Strong ICU training. Didactics recorded on the web so post-call people can see them. ATOM trauma course (the pig test) is coming to Monty. PD is up front and honest about the drawbacks and pluses of the program.

Cons- Their most recent chairman just left for North Shore-LIJ - the mantra throughout the interview day was "the candidates for new chairman are excellent, so when the next one is appointed, THEN this place will be terrific" - implying that now, the program leaves something to be desired. Lab research possible but not extensive. Only two residents showed up on the interview day, and one seemed pretty unhappy. Residents rotate between three hospitals which are far apart geographically, and Monty doesn't provide shuttles to the different sites. Scary area of the Bronx, unsafe at night.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
Poorly organized. The low resident attendance, and the less-than-enthusiastic attitude of those who actually showed up, was a red flag for me. As I mentioned, the PD is much more candid during one-on-one interviews than other PDs have been, which was refreshing. Training is solid, but the morale of the program is pretty dismal.
 

happy puppet

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As a note, I know we all are tired and stressed, but if you are reading this, PLEASE be kind to your fellow colleagues and post your own interview experiences. I know I am behind on mine, as well. Thanks! :)

U Minnesota

# of interviewers/interviewees
Two open interviewers (35 min). They were both awesome people and asked mostly about my research, reasons for going into surgery. No pimping or grilling, no questions about my gender (female, fyi). The first guy did conduct half the interview in French and then switched to Spanish (NB: don't put you are fluent in a language if you aren't!), but it was actually kinda fun. i emailed both thanks and they wrote warm responses.

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
The chair is in interim one, but everyone seems to love him to death. They are interviewing other candidates but it sounds like whoever they pick will be so much better than the last one who left last year, it will be a good shot. The whole stereotype that it is a super-academic program is indeed true: almost no one does not go into a lab. That being said, the research content can be very varied: one resident is getting a Ph.D. in medical history, lots of clinical opportunities, etc.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
Loved it, truly. Very academically focused; huge in transplant. Residents seem generally happy. about 5-8 residents showed up the night before, but many more were around for tours. Very comprehensive tours, very organized day. LOOOONG morning presentation;very focused on simulation in education. They plan to require "competency" modules on the computer for each rotation. That can be a pro or a con, depending. The call schedule is q4-5. No night float. Not that it matters, but the lunch was AWESOME! I'm won over by food quite easily. You get to casually mix with the chair then. You don't meet with the chair or PD otherwise, specifically.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
Very organized. Minneapolis is COLD but otherwise a relatively cool and very affordable place to be. You better be interested in a fellowship coming here; it's near mandatory (although they say it ain't).

PM me with other questions.
 
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ExtraCrispy

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North Shore-LIJ

# of interviewers/interviewees
Two interviews, but each was with two attendings at the same time. Initially, this took me aback, but there was no pimping whatsoever, just a conversation about my interests and credentials. 20-30 minutes per interview. This was a big group of interviewees, maybe 30 people - this large number of applicants, coupled with a horribly organized agenda, made for a chaotic day. The schedule began with an orientation during which the chairman, PD, director of research, and multiple other members of the faculty discussed the assets of the program. There was a noticeable discrepancy between the enthusiasm of the faculty (high) and that of the residents (low).

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
As of this writing, I've attended 8 interviews, and BY FAR North Shore's was the most disorganized and frustrating. We spent more time standing around waiting for someone to figure out where we were supposed to be, than we did learning about the program. An administrator would grab us and lead us up flights of stairs and down corridors, only to be intercepted by another administrator who told us all to turn around and return to our original location. It was bedlam. Additionally, only TWO residents (in a program of 8 residents in each year!) showed up to talk with us. Others wandered into the conference room to check their e-mail, but didn't want to discuss the program. As there's no night-before gathering, learning the residents' thoughts was difficult at North Shore. The "round table discussion," which was to comprise most of the day and during which we were to have discussed the program with the housestaff, never happened.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
Great variety of cases in both urban and community settings, with enthusiastic faculty and a new chairman who promises to turn things around, but residents don't seem satisfied. One of the two residents who spoke with us flat out stated that he wouldn't attend the program again if given the choice.

Pros- New chairman distinguished and dedicated, new developments in research curricula, community and urban OR experiences, largest # head & neck cases in NY, interdisciplinary approaches to patient care, great variety of cases.

Cons- Residents no-shows + unhappy, both residents and faculty sited "education" as major drawback of program when asked (!), minimally invasive "lab" the size of a closet.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
As above - horribly organized, and the low resident attendance/ enthusiasm was worrisome. Faculty are all very approachable and friendly, and many are young, but there's an apparent disconnect between this energy and what the residents experience during their training.
 

daisygirl

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Lenox Hill

# of interviewers/interviewees
Three interviews, and there were two attendings present in the room for each interview. The PD and chairman was present in one of the interviews. I would guess that there were ~15 interviewees there. The interviews, not including the chairman and PD, were not stressfull. They asked generic questions such as why surgery, etc... For the most part, the interviewers were guaging whether you'd make a good fit and would you really rank Lenox Hill highly. However, the interview with the chairman and PD was stressfull. Not due to pimping though. If you really want to know, pm me since if I'd rather not divulge too much info publicly.

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
Not really. This interview was no different than any other interview in terms of what to expect. The day was organized though, which seems to be a difficult hurdle for NY programs.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
It would have been positive if I didn't meet the chairman and PD. I very much enjoyed the other interviews.

pros- strong reputation in NYC, good operative experience with plenty of diversity in terms of pathology you would encounter, residents seemed happy, program "has been responsive" to complaints of residents regarding poor didactics (however, I'm not sure exactly what the pd has done to rectify this situation since this question was not answered...), and excellent fellowhip placement.

cons- May be a pro or con depending on who you ask- it is a small (2 categoricals/year) program and time off for research is not an option. Previously, residents were required to take off for six months to pursue research. This research requirement was recently done away with. Some residents complained that there was too much focus on vascular (the chairman is a vascular surgeon) and that the only conference of quality was the vascular conference. The vast majority of attendings are private, and the majority of patients are from the 'upper crust' of society, so autonomy may be lacking at this program. I felt that the biggest issue at the program seemed to be related to the residents perception of poor teaching in terms of didactics.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
Overall negative, but this is due to the interaction that I had with the chairman. He was completely unpleasant. The interview day was fine and I enjoyed my interactions with the other attendings.
 

robotsonic

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Note: I did not attend the same interview day as daisygirl and ExtraCrispy.

1. Name of the program: Einstein Montefiore

2. Interviews 2 one-on-one faculty interviews, about 20 minutes each. They had not read my file beforehand. The program coordinator just randomly hands attendings folders. One interview was with the PD, and as ExtraCrispy mentioned, he is very honest and straightforward about the program. The only question he asked me was, "Why would you come here?" after quickly glancing over my stats and LORs. We then talked about the program, I asked questions and voiced some concerns, and he gave honest answers. According to the PD, the major weaknesses of the program are the lack of a chairman and the large number of designated prelim interns. Apparently there have been a lot of problems with these designated prelims because they try to get away with doing as little work as possible, which angers the other interns.
At my second interview, the attending didn't ask me anything other than, "Do you have any questions?"
Final note: The PD told me to not send a thank you note or anything like that. He says that if you want to go there then you should go for a second visit and let him know then that you really want the program. He says he doesn't believe in "the blind match" and would prefer to know before the match which residents really want to go there.

3. a place you would recommend visiting during the stay: This place is way way up in the Bronx. I have no idea where you might stay.

4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program: My day wasn't as disorganized as the day that EC and daisygirl interviewed, although it was still somewhat disorganized. The program coordinator was a bit scattered. Get ready for a long day. We started at 7, attended basic science conference, then Grand Rounds at 8, then listened to the standard talk from the PD from 9 to 10, and then my group spent the next 2.5 hours touring all 3 hospitals (Monte, Jacobi, and Weiler) with an intern and PGY-2. After lunch, my group sat around in a conference room and waited for our interviews. There were 3 R5s there with us, all willing to discuss the program. I didn't get out until 4pm.

5. overall impression of the program: The program seemed ok. It has a few areas that are really strong (vascular, trauma at Jacobi), there is an opportunity for research after PGY2, and the residents match at good fellowships. On the other hand, there is no Chairman, and a vascular surgeon and 2 laparoscopic surgeons left recently. There should be a new Chairman soon, which should theoretically bring in research money and opportunities.

Pros: Great vascular experience. Great new minimally invasive lab with lots of setups and a new Sim-Man. The PD was a pioneer in laparoscopy, so he emphasizes that. They have several attendings who do bariatric surgery, and since they no longer have a lap fellowship (something the PD is very happy about actually), the residents get to do these cases. Research opportunities: 2 residents per year do a year of research after PGY2. Everyone is encouraged to publish. Housing is very cheap, next to Monte. The residents seemed pretty laid-back and satisfied with the program.

Cons: Location: way up in the Bronx. The three hospitals are far away from each other and there is no service between them, so a car is a necessity. Many of the residents choose to live in Manhattan and drive up. As mentioned, there is no Chairman and there have been some recent faculty departures. Also, the current PD actually left the program recently, and then returned after 5 months, after they promised him a bunch of things for the residency program. This just seems suspicious, but I'm not exactly sure what it means overall.

6. How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far? It was a little less organized, but not nearly as bad as when EC and daisygirl interviewed there. I didn't like that there was no social event the night before.
 

PatrickBateman

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daisygirl said:
Lenox Hill

# of interviewers/interviewees
Three interviews, and there were two attendings present in the room for each interview. The PD and chairman was present in one of the interviews. I would guess that there were ~15 interviewees there. The interviews, not including the chairman and PD, were not stressfull. They asked generic questions such as why surgery, etc... For the most part, the interviewers were guaging whether you'd make a good fit and would you really rank Lenox Hill highly. However, the interview with the chairman and PD was stressfull. Not due to pimping though. If you really want to know, pm me since if I'd rather not divulge too much info publicly.

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
Not really. This interview was no different than any other interview in terms of what to expect. The day was organized though, which seems to be a difficult hurdle for NY programs.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
It would have been positive if I didn't meet the chairman and PD. I very much enjoyed the other interviews.

pros- strong reputation in NYC, good operative experience with plenty of diversity in terms of pathology you would encounter, residents seemed happy, program "has been responsive" to complaints of residents regarding poor didactics (however, I'm not sure exactly what the pd has done to rectify this situation since this question was not answered...), and excellent fellowhip placement.

cons- May be a pro or con depending on who you ask- it is a small (2 categoricals/year) program and time off for research is not an option. Previously, residents were required to take off for six months to pursue research. This research requirement was recently done away with. Some residents complained that there was too much focus on vascular (the chairman is a vascular surgeon) and that the only conference of quality was the vascular conference. The vast majority of attendings are private, and the majority of patients are from the 'upper crust' of society, so autonomy may be lacking at this program. I felt that the biggest issue at the program seemed to be related to the residents perception of poor teaching in terms of didactics.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
Overall negative, but this is due to the interaction that I had with the chairman. He was completely unpleasant. The interview day was fine and I enjoyed my interactions with the other attendings.

Tell us more about the chairman.
 
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ExtraCrispy

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Writing these entries is helpful - they're forcing me to sit down and think about the programs so that I can finally send out thank you's. :)

1. Name of the program: Mount Sinai

2. Interviews
2 interviews, one-on-one, about 20 minutes each, and each with an attending who'd read my file beforehand. The interviews were structured but relaxed, and the faculty were very friendly. As for interviewees, there was an *ENORMOUS* number of applicants on my day, easily >40. (Fortunately, the coordinator is top notch, so the day ran smoothly despite the huge number of people.) A good portion of the residents showed up to talk to us throughout the day, and all were fun and laid-back people who obviously loved surgery and had positive things to say about the program.

3. a place you would recommend visiting during the stay:
Not an issue for me as I'm local, however, I've heard that the hotels listed in the interview packet are exorbitant, even with the discounts. I'd just use priceline and save your bucks. The center is easily accessible via the green line on the subway, so as long as you can get to the green line, you shouldn't have a problem commuting to the interview.

4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program:
Talk with as many residents as you can - they're all very approachable and eager to meet you. They just implemented an away rotation in the Dominican Republic, for 3rd years (I think) - if you can, grab hold of a resident who's completed the program and ask for their feedback, it sounds amazing. As for the actual interviews, I'd just recommend knowing why Sinai. Both interviewers seemed genuinely interested in finding people who would fit the program and be content there. Also have questions ready - this was one of those "I'll ask you why surgery, then spend the last 15 minutes answering your questions" scenarios. Finally, people who attended the social event the night before described it as "loud," and didn't feel they learned as much as they could have in a quieter setting (apparently it was at a bar), but attendings *did* ask about whether or not we'd attended, possibly to gauge interest in the program.

5. overall impression of the program:
I loved the program. The clinical training is impressive, there's ample opportunity to conduct research, facilities are gorgeous, ancillary services better than most in NYC, innovative educational approaches, and there seemed to be good camaraderie among faculty and residents.

Pros: Strong in IBD, transplant, vascular, laparoscopy, and surg onc. Beautiful facilities. Awesome away rotation in the DR. Dedicated teaching resident position during which a resident can serve as an instructor in the M3 clerkship. Good ancillary personnel (a big deal for NYC!). Good breadth of cases. Variety of clinical settings - most at Sinai, but rotations at Elmhurst (city hospital), Bronx VA, and Englewood (community hospital). Strong commitment to research in multiple departments (transplant, CT, surg onc, IBD, aortic dz), but not a requirement - the philosophy seems to be provision of *opportunity* to residents, so that they may succeed in whatever venue they prefer. Residents seem happy, and are just a good group of people. Faculty supportive and enthusiastic about Sinai. Significant autonomy on floors and in OR, but without total abandonment by the attendings.

Cons: The chief of peds surg just left for North Shore, so that department is in a state of flux at the moment (although that should be resolved by the time we start intern year). As with all programs in NY, you have to love the city. Not in the most terrific area of NY, although better than some. A few Sinai med students said they didn't think the residents were as happy as they appeared on the interview day.

6. How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
I came to Sinai without significant expectations, and walked away very impressed by the program. The training is solid, the atmosphere is collegial, and the faculty seems dedicated to resident education, with an organized, structured approach to teaching and to expanding clinical experiences. I thought it would be a great place to spend 5-7 years!
 

ExtraCrispy

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This is my day to write thank you's. Hopkins is next.

1. Name of the program: UConn

2. Interviews
Four one-on-one interviews: one with the PD and chairman, one with a chief resident, and two with faculty. The tone of the interviews varied - the PD is very friendly and approachable, with him it was an open conversation to address any questions we had. The chief resident was more critical, and one of the attendings adopted a very structured interview format. The latter asked me to present two cases, and then to answer questions that either tested my clinical knowledge or prompted me to think about surgery & my goals. It was definitely more intense than other places, but not impossible and actually quite thought-provoking. There were about 20 interviewees there, the day was well-organized. A big portion of the resident staff came to talk with us for the whole day (on a Saturday!), and went the extra mile in giving us a tour - probably the most comprehensive tour I've seen.

4. any recommendations for those interviewing in that program:
UConn is terrific if you want to get AWAY from city life. It's a great environment in which to raise a family - most people have small homes with lawns, etc, and the staff & faculty have picnics, volleyball games, etc. outside of the hospital. The program is very family-friendly. However, this may be a big drawback if you're single and love night-life, as there's little to do in that department. Bring a coat, as you'll be going outside to grab a shuttle for the tour. The residents are very open and chatty, so take advantage.

5. overall impression of the program:
Family-friendly program in a collegial atmosphere, with varied clinical exposure, good case numbers, a faculty dedicated to resident education, and the opportunity to do research if you're motivated.

Pros: Atmosphere is GREAT. Rotate through four hospitals for varied experience: Hartford Hospital, St. Francis, Conn Children's, and New Britain General (mix of community and urban). Chairman is seriously dedicated to education at UConn. No 80-hr work week problems. ATOM program in trauma is well-established - awesome! Lots of big laparoscopic cases. Research encouraged but not required. Research opportunities less abundant at UConn, but the faculty will back you fully, so residents have spent a couple of years in labs at Yale, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, CHOP, Columbia. No fellows, so you operate a lot.

Cons: Rate of placement into the most competitive fellowships is low - several years ago, UConn was placed on probation for "accounting" reasons, and their fellowship record suffered as a result. I had a negative interaction with a certain member of the staff, although I know this is not representative of the program AT ALL - PM me if you want more details. Lap lab was pretty scanty, although they emphasize that residents spend time in skills labs every few weeks. See above about research limitations.

6. How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
A wonderful environment, potentially low volume of cases resolved by rotation at multiple hospitals, with a chairman dedicated to optimizing the residents' education and experience. The only major drawback would be the less than stellar record in placing residents into the most competitive fellowships, although it's clear that the chairman will target all his efforts toward helping residents to succeed if they aspire toward such fellowships.
 

PatrickBateman

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ExtraCrispy said:
Finally, people who attended the social event the night before described it as "loud," and didn't feel they learned as much as they could have in a quieter setting (apparently it was at a bar), but attendings *did* ask about whether or not we'd attended, possibly to gauge interest in the program.
What an AWFUL experience. My ears are still ringing. Seriously, I was hoarse the next day from trying to talk over that earthshattering music. Yes, it was a bar, but it had a sound system like a dance club. Serious waste of time. Most of the residents who were there, were available the next day anyway.
 

HMS '05

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Emory

# of interviewers/interviewees
Two faculty interviews, both incredibly friendly. At the reception the night before, the program administrator made it clear that there would be no pimping of any sort in the interviews, and even went so far as to tell us who we were interviewing with and what they were like. One of the least stressful interview experiences I have ever had. No one interviews with the PD or Chair, although both are available throughout the day to talk about the program while you are waiting for your interviews.

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
The reception the night before brings a lot of residents, and absolutely no attendings (by design). Not much food there, so you might want to grab something to eat beforehand.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons

Pros- very happy residents and an incredibly friendly and eager faculty. They also have one of the most diverse practice exposures of any program I have interviewed with--residents rotate through 6 hospitals, including a large academic hospital, one of the largest county hospitals in the country, a major children's hospital, a VA, a community hospital, and a private hospital. Very large caseload, and excellent support during optional research years. Atlanta is also a terrific city: very affordable, great weather, and a young population with all the social venues you could ever want in a city. I was also tremendously impressed by the PD and Chair, both of whom were extremely gracious and welcoming during the interview. They get enormous trauma experience (esp. penetrating trauma) at Grady, for those interested in trauma surg. Cardiothoracic, transplant and surg onc are strengths as well.

cons- They are very open about the fact that ancillary support is lacking at Grady, where residents spend almost half their time. You really are compelled to be a one-man-army there...if you want an x-ray you transport your own patient, if you want a lab you draw the blood. This may be a strength for some, although the residents were open about it occassionally being frustrating. IT infrastructure is also lacking system-wide. The university hospital is only now adopting electronic order entry, and Grady not only doesn't have it, but also doesn't have a computerized imaging system! Since they do rotate at 6 hospitals, there is some travel, but everything is in fairly close proximity.
 

HMS '05

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Interviews
Four interviews (30 min each): 3 faculty and 1 senior resident. Everyone interviews with either the Chair, PD or the chief of GI Surgery. Interviews were pretty standard, with minimal pimping. I was asked about my research, which I expected. I was also asked an illegal question ("Where else are you applying and where do you want to go?") by one interviewer, which was a turn-off. This same interviewer then started talking to me for 20 minutes about politics, which was also a bit uncomfortable (although in fairness, I had listed politics as an interest). Almost all of the interviewers were very friendly (especially the resident interviewer, who was terrific).

Any recommendations for those interviewing in that program:
There are no hotels within easy walking distance of the hospital, so plan on getting either a cab or rental car. Cabs from Detroit Metro airport are expensive (around $55 one-way), so I arranged a shuttle (734-507-9220) that worked well ($30 from airport, $25 back). Despite being a small city, Ann Arbor cabs took forever to come when called (albeit in inclement weather), so budget at least 30 minutes for them to arrive.

Overall impression of the program:

Pros: Strong academic focus and a seemingly non-malignant and family-friendly environment. Exceptional transplant exposure (one of the best I have seen of any program I have yet interviewed with). They have senior residents doing liver transplants as the operating surgeon! Wide patient catchment area with a high case-load. Very savvy with IT infrastructure--they have over 200 videos of surgery online and almost as many online lectures about surgical topics. They are also just introducing electronic order entry. Very strong fellowship placement in last few years, very heavy on Surg Onc and Transplant fellowships. Best ECMO experience in the world. Ann Arbor, although small, is a vibrant college town. I also really, really liked their Chairman--he seems extremely approachable and was very funny. He is also one of the rare chairs that apparently operates with residents at all levels, including the interns. He gets along very well with the PD, and their mutual focus on resident education is very apparent.

Cons: There are definite holes in their surgical experience. There is virtually no penetrating trauma in Ann Arbor, and residents apparently get no operative exposure to cardiac surgery and minimal experience in thoracic surgery (this according to both residents and the thoracic attending I interviewed with). The residents were also very open about their laparoscopy exposure being a bit sub-par compared to their peer institutions: Michigan is only just starting a bariatric surgery program this Spring. Also compared to peers, a bit less early operative experience--PGY 1s seemed to get 40-70 cases their first year versus 100+ at some other programs. Ann Arbor, although nice, is a bit on the small side and has very poor transportation links to the outside world.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
A very nice program. To be honest, though, I was less impressed with it than its other midwestern competitor, WashU. Several other applicants I met at Michigan who had gone to WashU with me also echoed this sentiment, although all of us had trouble putting our finger about what the deficiency was. I'm sure I would be happy to go here, though.
 

robotsonic

Senior Member
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Oct 10, 2005
469
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NYC
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Medical Student
Lenox Hill

Interviews: 3 total: 2 interviews in which you are with 2 faculty members each, and then one interview with the PD (the Chairman was supposed to be with the PD but got called to a case so I never met him). The interviewers had all read my file pretty carefully and asked specific questions about comments that were in my LORs and CV. I think one interviewer was trying to stress me out by opening with, "So why is everyone at [robotsonic's school] so pompous?" But maybe he was just being rude :) All of the interviewers did seem very interested in figuring out if I really wanted to be at Lenox Hill, as it is pretty much a community hospital.

Recommendations Before you go, have a good answer about why you would want to go here instead of a larger academic center, because they will ask (especially if you are coming from a large academic center).

Overall Impression: The program seems very laid-back and the residents seem happy. I think the residents get pretty good OR experience. The PD was recruited to Lenox Hill last year and just started as PD 3 months ago. He is very honest about the weaknesses of the program (didactics mostly) and is excited about improving it. He is about to get a laparoscopic lab set up so residents can practice (currently they don't have one).

Pros: NO SURGICAL FELLOWS! This is huge; the residents actually get to do advanced cases like bariatric surgery because there are no fellows stealing them. The place has very good laparoscopic and endovascular training. The residents get good fellowships. And if you are interested in starting up a private practice after fellowship, you can definitely get a lot of advice from the physicians here. The relationships between the residents and attendings seems good; one attending said that the interns will call him on his cell phone when he is at home.

Cons: Didactics "could be better," in the words of the PD. The residents really have to teach themselves at this point. As mentioned above, the PD is aware of this problem and is working on it. Not exactly sure what he intends to do about it, though.
There is no trauma at Lenox Hill. Currently, residents spend time at King's County in their second and fourth years for trauma, but the PD is talking about sending everyone to Shock Trauma in Baltimore instead.
Opportunities for research are not what they would be at an academic center. Residents are encouraged to publish and present at conferences, but there is no dedicated research time and it might not be possible to take a year off for research (as there are only 2 categorical residents each year).

How did it compare to other programs? It's smaller than most programs, and despite having loose affiliations with medical schools (NYU and SUNY downstate), it is pretty much a community hospital. It is definitely more laid-back than other programs. And again, there are no fellows!
 

robotsonic

Senior Member
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Oct 10, 2005
469
2
NYC
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Medical Student
NYMC St. Vincent's

Interviews: 2 interviews, one was one-on-one with a faculty member and the other was with a faculty member and chief resident. One of the faculty members with whom you interview is either the PD, the interim Chairman, or the site director at Metropolitan Hospital. The interviews were relaxed. They asked questions about my activities and "why surgery?"

Recommendations Just the standard recommendations. You will get numerous chances to talk with residents.

Overall Impression: The place is in a great location in Manhattan, and the guaranteed housing next door is excellent (the apartments are huge and very cheap - you see them on the tour). A little less than half of the residents end up going straight into gen surgery and not doing fellowships, but the ones that do fellowships get the ones they want. You can take off a year or two for research after PGY2 or 3. Although there are no huge flaws about the place, I got a bad feeling about it overall, I think because I couldn't really see myself being friends with the current residents.

Pros: No surgical fellows. I'm big on this now. The categorical residents are guaranteed housing at one of the St. Vincent's buildings, and it is amazing housing. The place is a level 1 trauma center. There are opportunities to take time off for research. The average number of cases here is high (1200 total) and the residents seem to think that they get great operating experience.

Cons: St. Vincent's went bankrupt last year, but this probably won't affect the residency in a major way. The surgery department has no chairman, and probably won't have one for a while, at least until the financial situation is cleared up. There is an interim chair.
You spend 3 months a year at Staten Island. Although this is where most of the residents pick up their cases, it still sucks to have to go out to Staten Island. The X-rays are not online (this kind of shocked me; apparently the CTs and MRIs are online but you have to actually go and pick up the X-rays -wtf?!). Although the residents claim that they get great operating experience and have the numbers to prove it (1200 total), I would really like to see a breakdown of that. No one said this outright, but I got the feeling like those numbers are inflated with tons of small cases. There is no laparoscopic training lab, although once a year they send people out to NJ for a pig lab.

How did it compare to other programs? I just didn't get a good feeling about this place. The residents certainly seemed laid-back and happy, but they didn't seem like people I would want to hang out with. But that is just me.
 

robotsonic

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Just bumping this thread so that people will remember to post their experiences. :D

...Please? :love:
 

toxic-megacolon

Toxic Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2004
555
6
Status
Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis

Number of interviews that day
3, plus as brief meeting with the PD. All were basically a laid back converation, except for the PD, who did go through my transcript with me and asked about my grade in Sleep Medicine!

Places to stay
Any place downtown, all locations are safe and HCMC is easily accessible
either by a 5 dollar cab ride, or 5-15 minute walk (all indoors) through the vast network of Skyways connecting the majority of buildings and hotels downtown. Take the light-rail from the airport directly to downtown.

Pros
1. Variety of cases and pathology - Basically the only county hospital serving the entire indigent population of the Twin Cities (over 3 million people), so you will see a fair amount of severe pathology. The hospital also has a transplant service, providing an experience not always seen at community programs.

2. Diverse population - a huge influx of refugees from Somalia and Laos (Hmong). You may do lobectomies for TB or amputations for leprosy!

3. Fairly nice hospital - despite being a county hospital, everything runs pretty well. Ancillary staff is pleasant and actually does their job. You don't have to check up on them--period. You get your own call room. Call is Q4, and you cover trauma no matter what service you are on (See cons)

4. You work with many other residents from HCMC progams and U of MN program, so there plenty of other residents around suffering those long work hours with you (misery loves company)

5. Minneapolis - probably the second most fun city in the midwest, after Chicago. (of course). Yes, the winters are cold--but hey, that's the midwest. The falls are warm and long. Summers are beautiful without too much humidity and warm nights. Spring is often chilly, grey, and rainy. Overall, it is an "outdoorsy" city. The downtown and uptown areas have a really impressive array of nice and unique restaurants, and a lot of upscale lounges/bars/clubs, as well as the typical 'pub' scene. If you are into arts, Minneapolis has the largest theatre audience in North America per capita, after NYC. Theatre attendance is no doubt boosted by the harsh winters. Overall a very safe city (see cons below) that retains a big city feel.

6. Less formal relationship with the faculty - Residents are on a first-name basis with some of the faculty--a very large contrast to the highly academc program 1.5 miles across the river (U of MN).

7. They said you can do ANYTHING you want between your PGY3 and 4 year. I was close to asking if I could go work at McDonalds. If you want, you can do the General Surg-Critical Care track, which after 6 years, you are double board certified in surgery and critical care. (Also, see cons).

8. HCMC has a top 3 ER residency program. The ER guys do the whole work up, sew up all their own lacerations, incise and drain their own abscesses order and interpret their own CT scans. You won't won't called by ER for non-surgical issues. If they call you, its serious. (Also see cons).

9. Medical students to scut out - Again, not something you get in most community programs.


Cons

1. Trauma - Minneapolis-St. Paul is just not that violent a city, so penetrating trauma is quite rare. Also, there are 3 Level 1 trauma centers in the Twin Cities, 4 if you count Mayo which is only 60 miles away. That divides up the trauma further.

2. ER Docs - They try to do EVERYTHING themselves. They run all the traumas. There is a policy that ALL procedures done in the ER (even cracking a chest) is to be done by ER residents. So basically people graduate from the program having never run a trauma--I find that scary.

3. Didactics - got the impression that this isn't so great. You need to be self-motivated. They seem to do well on the ABSITE though.

4. 6 year program - mandatory 6 years. Yuck.
 

FACS

jolly good fellow
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 26, 2005
119
0
Status
Albert Einstein Medical Center - Philadelphia

# of interviewers/interviewees
One very short panel interview with six faculty members. About 15-20 minutes. Some candidates reported that many of the interviewers were hostile. I just found it to be weird and uncomfortable. It was almost useless as a means to gain any real impression about the program. The interwiew day lasted from 12 untill around three. There was no oppurtunity to see m&m, grand rounds or any conferences. We were split into two groups. Half of us toured while the other half sat waiting our turn to be grilled by the panel. We were wisked through the process in record time and then shown the door. If it weren't for the dinner the night before I wouldn't have learned anything about the program that wasn't on the website.

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
My only recommendation would be to consider cancelling.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
I didn't like the faculty. None of the candidates liked the PD/chairman (same person). On the brighter side the case volume and range of cases are excellent.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
Very poorly designed interview day. Before interviewing, I was enthusiastic about the training opportunities available. However, my interaction with the faculty, brief though it was, has left me feeling very underwhelmed by the program.
 

locitamd

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Anyone been to Colubmia yet?
 
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avgjoe

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Aug 12, 2004
315
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UC Irvine

# of interviewers/interviewees
Two very short interviews - 20 minutes each. Both ran over for pretty much everyone. You take your file to them, but they've looked at it already (in most cases). I did not hear any complaints of hostile interviews or pimping sessions. They essentially were very into selling UC Irvine to everyone who walked in. One weird thing is that there is no time to officially meet hte PD or the Chair. They do an info session together, and then try to hang out the rest of the day, while people are goiing in and out to interviews, but there's no one-on-one time. The interwiew day lasted from 7:30 until 2ish. They had an M&M and grand rounds session in the AM. Then the interviews plus a tour by the residents. Then lunch, and we were free to go.

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
Go to the dinner the night before. That's the only time you'll see the residents without the faculty present.


overall impression of the program - pros and cons
They had hired a lot of new faculty. They were just going to be evaluated by the RRC. the PD seemed a bit too proud of his program. Residents seemed happy. Overall though it was solid.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
Not as academic. Not as many research opportunities. They are in hte process of hiring a chief who may change things.
 
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avgjoe

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Aug 12, 2004
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UC San Diego

# of interviewers/interviewees
5 interviews - 3 with faculty/chief resident, and then shorter sessions with the chief and PD. They have a new chief, Dr. Talamini from Hopkins. He was very impressive.


any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
Take teh time to check out beautiful San Diego!
Their presentation (ppt) is on the Net, so check that out before you go, have some questions ready. You spend all day meeting the residents, talking to them, having quesitons answered, and then start the interview process - and you know that you'll have at least one where they primarily want to answer your questions.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
Was very impressed by the Chair. They have a history of research excellence. They do not require two years of research, but it's available to take if one wishes (however it does seem like this is becoming more and more 'recommended'). It's in a beautiful city.
Cons: nothing that is obvious. They do have some malignant members of their faculty but in recent times have worked to change that.


How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
It compares pretty well. It's definitely a solid program. [/QUOTE]
 
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avgjoe

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Aug 12, 2004
315
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UC Davis

# of interviewers/interviewees
5 interviews - 3 with faculty members, and then shorter sessions with the chief and PD. All were very cordial, particularly the chief and PD.

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
Go to the session the night before. You spend much of the interview day with the residents (during hte tour, between interviews and during lunch) but it is not the same.
Realize that the Davis medical center is in Sacramento.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
The residents seemed absolutely happy and were a great group. The program is very family friendly. The chair and PD were also very friendly and very attuned to our personalities and our particular interests. The program is growing and their facilities are also in the process of becoming bigger and better.
They do not require two years of research, but it's available to take if one wishes.
Cons: No obvious holes in their training. They are trauma-heavy, so that may be a con for some. They do not have as many residents doing research and/or presenting as some institutions.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far?
Pretty well, although I feel its reputation does not match the great program I saw on the interview day. [/QUOTE][/QUOTE]
 
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avgjoe

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Aug 12, 2004
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Anyone go to any of the Harvard programs yet? How about Pittsburgh?
 

surg-girl

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Nov 27, 2005
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Medical Student
daisygirl said:
a bit off topic, but i need to rant. this whole interview process is draining me. i've been routinely asked illegal questions on interviews. For example: are you going to get pregnant in the near future? as a female, how do you think you'll handle the lifestyle of surgery?-- i especially love this one since the lifestyle sucks irrespective if you are an xx or xy. i am repeatedly asked where have i interviewed (not sure if this is illegal, however, i don't understand why programs find this a necessary question).


daisygirl, sorry you are having a bad time with the interviews. i can sympathize with you--while i haven't been asked routinely, i have been asked. and i find it very annoying. at suny downstate, someone asked me if i thought female surgeons were as good as male surgeons.

and the "where else have you interviewed?" can be irritating as well--i mean why does it matter? sometimes, they just ask to start conversation which is fine. but in my last interview, i answered vaguely giving him locations instead of programs, and he pressed on to ask which specific programs, AND THEN TOOK NOTES ON WHICH ONES!!!! crazy.
 
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robotsonic

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Medical Student
Name of the program: SUNY Downstate

Interviews: 2 interviews, both one-on-one with a faculty member (I think one person had a chief resident, though). The interviews were laid-back, nothing difficult. The main questions were "Why surgery?" and "Do you have any questions?"

Recommendations for those interviewing in that program: Be sure to drink some coffee before the introductory remarks, because these are long and the auditorium was absurdly warm. I was in danger of falling asleep several times. My day was structured so that we saw Grand Rounds, then had intro remarks from the PD, the associate PD, the service chiefs for every single surgery department (transplant, peds, vascular, trauma, plastics, etc), the Chairmen at the four associated hospitals, and the residents. Yes, that's a lot of introductory remarks! It was actually good because you got a glimpse of a large number of faculty members in a short period of time, but it was a little odd.

Overall impression of the program: The residents split their time between 5 hospitals (University Hospital of Brooklyn, Kings County, Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn VA, and Lutheran) and they get a lot of trauma experience. They have an opportunity to spend 2 years doing research, and if they stay at SUNY for the research they keep their salaries for those years. One problem was that I couldn't really tell how happy the residents were.

Pros: Lots of trauma experience at Kings County (even the elusive penetrating trauma). Opportunities for research - there is a lot of basic science research done at SUNY, and you can work with any department, or even get a masters in biomedical engineering.

Cons: Location. The hospitals are spread out in Brooklyn and not easily accessed through public transportation, so a car is necessary. The area around the main hospitals isn't great, so most people live outside the area and drive in every day. The residents complained that there weren't a lot of advanced laparoscopic cases and that you really only get good laparoscopic training at Lutheran, which has bariatrics. There is no laparoscopic training lab, although the PD said that he was trying to get this started and had already bought 3 of the training boxes. Unfortunately, none of the residents were even aware of this. Finally, I couldn't really tell how happy the residents were.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far? It's an academic center and there is research being done, but it isn't an academic powerhouse like some of the other NYC programs. They seemed a bit behind in their laparoscopic training, compared to other programs.
 

NineSixteen

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Dec 13, 2001
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Resident [Any Field]
Hey avgjoe - I was just at Pitt...some brief thoughts:

Name of the program: Pittsburgh

Interviews: WAY more than any other program! Basically 5 on Friday (Chair, PD, 2 lab residents together, a first year out of residency guy who's big into education, the new education guru). The Friday interview day lasted much longer than I expected, so be prepared to spend around 3 hours there on Friday. Everyone ran over their time limit, also, so it lasted even longer! On Saturday, you interview with 3 more faculty and/or a chief resident.

Recommendations for those interviewing in that program: Just be prepared for all those interviews - none were difficult, but it's a lot of talking to people. The cocktail party the night before has snacks and faculty as well as residents are there. As it gets later on in the interview season, I seem to be going more and more casual at the night before gathering, but I felt underdressed at this one. Don't get too casual.

Overall impression of the program: Very positive. The residents like it a lot, they seem like a bright, fun group. The faculty are generally very laid back but also very academic - some amazing research is going on at Pitt. The 2 years of research is not really optional and there's a lot of emphasis on basic science research, though folks I talked to expressed that they are open to whatever you think you want to do as long as it advances your ultimate career goals (one resident is an ordained minister and finished his research in the area of ethics/religion/medicine)

Pros: Incredibly broad operative experience, as well as some cool unique perks. One month in intern year and maybe soon PGY-2 year is dedicated to a clinical research project with a faculty mentor. During 3rd year you spend 7 weeks essentially glued to one of their MIS bariatric surgeons doing essentially an apprenticeship, and you're fully doing laproscopic gastric bypasses as a PGY-3.

Cons: No real glaring cons that I could find. Pittsburgh is a great little city.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far? It's very academic, much more than I realized before visiting. It's small, only 5 residents, but they'd like to add one more shortly. Overall, a very strong program - I was quite pleased :)
 

robotsonic

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Oct 10, 2005
469
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Medical Student
Name of the program: Cornell

Interviews: 3 one-on-one interviews, each 15 minutes; plus a four-minute meeting with the PD and Chairman. The interviews were all pretty relaxed, only standard questions. The last interviewer revealed that the interviews weren't all that important, since we had already been given a tentative rank that was unlikely to change much after interviews.

Recommendations for those interviewing in that program: Go to the social event the night before. Free alcohol, plus a lot of residents showed up.

Overall impression of the program: The place has a ton of fellows. Although there are some famous people here, you may never get to operate with them because they have their fellows doing the cases. The residents seemed pretty happy, and they have great housing right next door.

Pros: Opportunity to do 2 (or more) years of research. Good surg-onc exposure (and surg-onc connections) at Memorial Sloan Kettering, which is across the street from the main hospital. Lots of thoracic experience. Opportunity to make connections with some of the big names. Very very nice and cheap housing that is right next to the hospital. Residents spend time at Jamaica Hospital and NYP Downtown (which have no fellows), which allows them to operate a bit more.

Cons: You don't operate much during the first 2 years. One attending referred to the program as essentially having 2 intern years. When I asked an R3 what the program's weakness was, he replied, "the operating experience." The OPERATING experience?! Isn't that supposed to be the strength of a surgery residency? He said that the quality of the experience was great (you got to work with very good surgeons), but that the quantity was dismal, especially in the first two years. There are a lot of fellows, so they may take a lot of the cases. There are no liver transplants, although they are trying to bring those in. Another relative weakness is peds.

How did it compare to other programs you've visited so far? This is a great academic program, although the amount of operating may not be as good as other programs. You probably couldn't leave this program after 5 years and feel confident as a community general surgeon.
 

SurgSoon

New Member
10+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2006
6
0
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Pre-Medical
The Brigham

# of interviewers/interviewees
4 or 5 interviews - group interview with Chairman, individual interviews with residency director, and several faculty. These interviews were very low key. No pimping. Just genuine discussion of goals and past history. They were very pleasant.

a place you would recommend visiting during the stay
I stayed at the Best Western Longwood. This was super close to the hospital. I would highly recommend staying here. It's a quick walk to where you need to be.

any recommendations for those interviewing in that program
I, of course, would recommend attending the night before event. It was nice to meet the residents and fellow interviewees. The food was good (there was even sushi) and the residents are a nice bunch.

overall impression of the program - pros and cons
Impression - I really liked this program. The residents seemed genuinely happy. There was much mention of collegiality - both between residents themselves and between residents and faculty. The residents seemed very happy.

Pros - solid faculty, great vibe, seems like a pleasant place to work and a pleasant group of people. The interns operate early and are often the only one operating with an attending. There are also terrific research opportunities.

Cons - there are definite holes in the operative experience. There are no liver transplants. There is little penetrating trauma experience. And there is little cardiac experience due to fellows.

Overall - I thought this was a terrific program. Really solid. If not for the one or two holes in operative experience, this would be my number one. As is, I will rank this place very highly.