Ok, here is a thread where you can post impressions of your interviews. Will sticky throughout the season. Make notes to yourself after each interview so they dont get confused in your mind, try to enjoy them, and Good luck to you all.
Location: Suburban (Maywood, IL); Though I assumed that Loyola was in a suburb and therefore safe, I was shown otherwise; Apparently it is rather dangerous and one resident who used to bike through the area was told not to do so if he valued his life/property; Most of the residents live in the city proper and are very satisfied with their accommodations; Chicago is a happening town and one of the cultural meccas of the US
Faculty: 5 full-time RadOnc clinical faculty; all the research that they do currently is physics/clinically based; After talking with Dr. Emami (well-known chair of department) I was rather disappointed at the lack of commitment to basic/translational research he seemed to say that he would support it if you really wanted to do it but gave me a bunch of reasons why it would not be a good idea; On a positive note, Emami seems like a chair who is really involved in resident education and will go to bat for you residents report that he is present at nearly 100% of conferences
Residents: Very friendly group and easy going; All of them are very satisfied with Loyola; Seem to get along very well
Department: In a very nice facility with high-tech equipment (the resident who gave us the tour must have used that expression at least a few dozen times); there is an extremely nice gym available for residents that is brand-spanking new and looks like a private facility; residents share a common office and each of them gets a cubicle
My Two Cents: A great place to train IF you are going into private practice or, perhaps, if you are interested in clinical/physics research; but really, there are better places for both.
Case Western Reserve (UHHS)
Location: Urban (Cleveland, OH); This place is very close to Cleveland Clinic, almost within walking distance I would say; Sadly, it was snowing quite heavily when I was interviewing so I had scant opportunity to explore the city; the residents tell me that it is very livable for a mid-western metropolis
Faculty: 13 RadOnc clinical faculty are listed on their website, but this is misleading; Several of them work in one of many satellite campuses around the state and do not see much time at the home base; Dr. Kinsella and Dr. Einstein (among faculty that I met) are both doing a bulk of the research
Residents: 4 residents total in the program (3 were available that day); honestly, this was among the best experiences I had with residents in any program; they have wide, varying interests and were more than willing to talk about anything in fact we had a very frank and honest discussion about strategies to match into RadOnc and the strengths/weaknesses of different programs; The chief resident in particular gave me tremendously useful advice
Department: The academic offices are nice and the clinical facilities are decent (memory fading again)
My Two Cents: On SDN there seemed to be a lot of people who are eager to put down Case and the chair Dr. Kinsella. Perhaps these individual have the benefit of wisdom that I do not, but I have only positive things to say about this program. It seems that they will support you well, regardless of your future career choice.
University of Alabama (UAB)
Location: Urban (Birmingham, AL); The most populous city in the state (~800,000 people) and a great transition for those who are coming from the NE or West Coast; Weather is nice most of the year, though the summers can get pretty brutal; Lots of affluent suburbs to live in the general vicinity
Faculty: 8 full-time clinical RadOnc faculty (they are looking for a couple more); Dr. Bonner (chair of the dept.) spends a majority of the time with research (he has a translational lab) and writing apps for clinical trials he seems very committed to making UAB a top RadOnc institution; A good mix of young and old faculty
Residents: 8 residents in the program; all of them are extremely nice and interesting to talk to; however they are rather monolithic as a group (7 white males); Approximately 50% of them are MD/PhD; Only one of eight genuinely seems to be committed to academics at the present time; UAB has sent all of its residents into private practice in the SE for the last several years
Department: RadOnc has two floors in the Cancer Center as well as an upper floor for radiobiology labs; They are in the process of building a brand-spanking-new cancer center across the street; they have the money and the property but (as of this writing) have yet to break ground; though they assure us it will likely be ready in 2007, I wont hold them to it
My Two Cents: Long-regarded as a dark horse powerhouse in the SE, UAB offers a pretty diverse training environment regardless of your career goal; However, if you are interested in academics and/or want to settle outside of the SE, the program may not have the track record to support either.
Well, I guess you'll have to tap plentystupid for input on these specific programs since it was his ranking . . .jb2 said:I'm looking forward to hearing reviews from these places listed in the top 15 in Rad Onc Rankings thread.
University at Buffalo (Roswell Park)
Location: Urban (Buffalo, NY); Of course it is cold and snowy here (though perhaps not as bad as Rochester or Chicago) but the summers are fantastic; Im a fan of Indian food and this city boasts among the best selection outside of NYC; If you are into gambling there are quite a few casinos around as well
Faculty: 7 full-time clinical RadOnc faculty; Of the programs I visited, the introduction by the chair was probably the best I had seen; He had a nice vision of giving you an integrated intern year at Buffalo so that you could (a) have your MedOnc and SurgPath rotations double count for your required 36 clinical months of training and (b) give you two months of RadOnc that would also count; Both these steps free up time for you to do research (more than a year without Holman) or rotate through private practice places and get some hands-on experience; Dr. Khan is the chair and was recently recruited from Michigan (he even gave us a ride back to the airport!)
Residents: 4 residents in the program; It seems that this is the first year they are fully planning on taking residents through the Match; Previously, a few residents came in through the back door or were accepted through the Scramble; Residents were nice and engaging
Department: Roswell Park is a gorgeous and well-designed cancer center that was the first in the country; Since then, they have tumbled quite a bit in the rankings though they are trying to roar back with a new director; Dr. Kuettel (Chair) has implemented a system where several PAs were acquired by the Department, freeing up the residents from a lot of scutwork; This gives them more time to do things like plan, contour, see new consults, etc.
My Two Cents: Honestly, I wasnt expecting too much from this program but they impressed me quite a bit; Living in Buffalo kind of sucks I imagine but this program should provide a solid basis for training regardless of what you want to eventually do.
Gfunk6 said:Alrighty then, on to impression #5. If you guys don't mind, I'm going to ditch the old format and just go for a free-form review of . . .
University of Pittsburgh (UPMC)
Have you ever seen the Incredible Hulk? UPMC kind of reminds me of that show. On the surface, the residency program appears small, mild-mannered, and slight. However, upon digging deeper, you will see that underneath lies a raging, radiation-powered hulking behemoth of a department. For reasons that are unknown to me, UPMC has a tremendous cancer center (and hospital, for that matter) attached to a relatively small RadOnc residency program (only 4 residents at present). In fact, they mentioned that their residents are not strictly required to run the clinics b/c the faculty have operated so long without them. To me, this is a big plus, b/c you can immerse yourself in as many patients as you want as well as have free time for research.
Can't say too much about the city, though I'm sure that others with far more experience can chip in here (paging SimulD ). One word of warning though, the airport is deceptively far from the city so be prepared to pay upwards of $60 for one-way cab fare. If you come at a reasonable hour, there is a city-run shuttle service available for like $7.50 or so. Pitt is definitely one of the nicer cities in PA outside of Philly.
The faculty were very nice during the interview (with one exception -- more below) and many of them are world-class experts. UPMC absolutely *owns* CNS tumors and has multiple GKs/CKs in addition to faculty who trained under the master, Lars Leksell, himself. Dr. Greenberger (chair) came off as rough during the interview however. Residents who ate lunch with us did some damage control and assured us that he was a tremendously supportive chair but he had an aggressive interviewing style. Applicants who were MD only got the, "well we are really looking for an MD/PhD this year," line and applicants who were MD/PhD got the, "well you would really be better off at [insert other RadOnc program]." You can't win -- so don't take it too personally. The PD (Dr. Burton) is a very engaging and nice person to interview with, in sharp contrast. Residents also heap praise on him stating that not only is he an extremely hard worker but also very humble (gotta love that combo).
Research opportunities are prevalent and available. One of the residents was nice enough to take me to the basic science labs as we went 'a searchin' for radiobiologists for me to talk to.
The only negatives I perceived were (a) small program [they are petioning for more residents, but so is everybody else], (b) CNS expertise >>>>> all other forms of cancer; however, unless you are on an academic track with the intent to specialize in something other than CNS you should be fine, (c) one hostile interview experience [but explained away to my satisfaction].
I promise they are on their way...jb2 said:I'm looking forward to hearing reviews from these places listed in the top 15 in Rad Onc Rankings thread.
MDACC (without a doubt)
Michigan (superstar program)
UCSF (mainly based on reputation)
Penn (moving up)
Yale (moving up)
Hopkins (moving up)
To be honest with you Thaiger, I kind of felt the same way about 3 minutes into the conversation.Thaiger75 said:UPMC was the only program that I interviewed that I was THIS close to walking out of after interviewing with the chairman. The interview lasted literally 5 minutes and the bottom line afterwards was: Thanks, but no thanks for coming.
According to the other applicants I interviewed with that day, many of them basically reported having the exact same thing said to them.Michael Spiker said:The chairman was absolutely unpleasant. As mentioned in previous posts, he basically told me that they were not interested in me and that I had no shot at matching there.
No problem -- I hope Match Day will be kind. Otherwise, I may have to go back and take down all the negative things I wrote.plentystupid said:PS Thanks for the nudge Gfunk6!! I am looking forward to our toast!!
The apparent: I think MDACC is generally regarded as a good place to train because it is quite strong clinically. The combination of 4500+ patients a year and expert faculty leaves little lacking for residents in terms of teaching. They're also very deep technologically, with protons now icing the cake. Their research isn't something I hear mentioned often, but it is quite good, too. They have energetic and talented investigators in their Experimental Radiation Oncology division (Milas and Travis, to name a couple).jb2 said:I'm looking forward to hearing reviews from these places listed in the top 15 in Rad Onc Rankings thread.
MDACC (without a doubt)
I had the same problem, but it seems like the powers-that-be have cleared it up. Anywho . . . .SimulD said:Weird. The board keeps saying more replies, but I don't see any past mine about Pitt. What's up with that?
You had some very interesting (and fun to read) impressions -- it's too bad you decided to take them down. However, I certainly don't fault you for doing it as I was wrestling with the same issues myself before I posted.ch22 said:so these are probably the reasons why people arent posting interview impressions.....absolutely psychotic...
RE: Gfunk6Gfunk6 said:Finally, at the risk of sounding like a self-righteous a-hole, I think that programs DO get wind of what is posted on this site. And I think some programs have made modifications in response to negative comments posted on these boards in the past. So if a program mistreats you or does something you know scares away applicants then it would be constructive to point that out (nicely).
Best of luck to all of you and thanks for putting put with my rant.