OldPsychDoc

Senior Curmudgeon
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Dec 2, 2004
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Left of Center
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Attending Physician
In years past we've had a thread reporting/reviewing the interview experience. Let's get it going for you current interviewees.

Comments appreciated on specific programs with respect to:
1. interview accommodations/food
2. interview day -- (e.g. schedule, interview types, unusual questions/experiences...etc. )
3. Program overview
4. Faculty
5. Location, lifestyle, etc.
6. Benefits
7. Program strengths
8. Potential weaknesses

If anyone wants their review(s) reposted anonymously, feel free to send it to me in a PM and I'll add it to the thread.
 

atsai3

10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 15, 2002
1,283
9
Boston
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
In years past we've had a thread reporting/reviewing the interview experience. Let's get it going for you current interviewees.

Comments appreciated on specific programs with respect to:
1. interview accommodations/food
2. interview day -- (e.g. schedule, interview types, unusual questions/experiences...etc. )
3. Program overview
4. Faculty
5. Location, lifestyle, etc.
6. Benefits
7. Program strengths
8. Potential weaknesses

If anyone wants their review(s) reposted anonymously, feel free to send it to me in a PM and I'll add it to the thread.
This is a great idea.
Before people flood this thread with "can anyone tell me about Program XYZ?" requests followed by "bump bump" 30 minutes later, here is a recommendation that may improve your probability of obtaining a response: (1) search the archives to see if anyone has posted a review of Program XYZ in the recent past; (2) post reviews of your own. You may not have interviewed at Program XYZ, but I'm sure people will appreciate your thoughtful review of Program PQRST.

-AT.
 

silas2642

silas2642
10+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2005
2,283
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Resident [Any Field]
1. Paid for one night of hotel expenses, which was nice. No breakfast so make sure you eat something and get a good cup of coffee before you head there because otherwise you'll be starving by the time lunchtime rolls around.
2. interview day -- I think that there were 4 interviews in all for me-- no weird quetions and in some interviews no questions about me at all-- it was just, "why Baystate" and "do you have any questions for me?" That felt kind of weird in that I didn't think that they were really trying to evaluate me to see if I would be a good fit for their program. The other thing that felt different than other interviews is that they really tried to enhance the accomplishments of the faculty and the "competitiveness" of the program, it was awkward in that you couldn't help but thinking they were compensating for something. The program director also had difficulty telling me specific information-- how many patients were admitted to the psych ED/inpatient unit, the specifics on the demographics of the patient population, etc., which was concerning for me. Very little interaction with the residents aside from a brief lunch.
3. Very new program that started in 2009 and so they haven't graduated a class yet. From what I can tell, the curriculum for 3rd and 4th year hasn't been worked out yet and there seem to be a lot of bugs. Talking to them, it also seems like the caseload is very light-- the residents carry about 4 patients on the inpatiet units each, which is what I would carry as a sub-i. I believe that didactic time is protected. Seem to be very weak on child/adolescent with no child/adolescent inpatient unit, and so this may be turn-off if you're interested in this field. Not a ton of supervision from what I can tell, maybe a few hours per week. The residents did not seem that friendly or that happy relative to other place I've interviewed, which was concerning.
4. Faculty: varies in skill set but for the most part seemed nice. Word is they are solid clinically.
5. Springfield is kind of depressing and I don't think that I would want to live there for four years. That being said, it's only 90 minutes outside of Boston and the rent is dirt cheap-- you can get a pretty decent apartment at a very reasonable price.
6. Benefits: I honestly can't remember the salary or if this was even provided but it's probably competitive with other programs, particularly since you'd be in a location where the cost of living is very reasonable.
7. Program strengths: the faculty has a reputation for liking to teach. The PD seemed very nice
8. Potential weaknesses: very new program, untested. Doesn't seem to be a lot of time for formal supervision when compared to other programs. Residents do not seem to be very happy there. Research very limited and not a lot of academics going on there.

If anyone wants their review(s) reposted anonymously, feel free to send it to me in a PM and I'll add it to the thread.[/QUOTE]
 

rgerwin

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Feb 16, 2004
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www.mdapplicants.com
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Resident [Any Field]
Maine Medical Center

1. Paid for B&B right next door that left breakfast for you in the mini fridge b/c your day starts earlier than they do. Very nice.
2. interview day -- I feel like I met everyone, including about 8 residents and the chief (sometimes in pairs). Started at the outpt. building, went to the hospital, and then to Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook. Questions were a good mix of why psychiatry, why MMC, your questions, and questions about you.
3. I don't know what else to say except this is a wonderful program. Very supportive, good quality of life, and all the residents seemed extremely happy.4. Many of the faculty trained in larger cities, but come to Maine for the quality of life. Very solid and focused on teaching. Good amount of supervision.
5. Portland and the surrounding areas are affordable and certainly beautiful. No shortage of good food and winter activities. It is Maine, so do be realistic about what that means for weather, etc. and make sure it is right for you.
6. Very good, especially considering reasonable cost of living
7. Continuing encouragement for growth as a physician, new facilities and dedicated staff. The ability to mix up your medicine months between FP, IM, and Peds, and the strengths of their psychiatric units.
8. Depends on what is important to you. I can't think of any big weaknesses. There is definitely enthusiasm regarding expanding research opportunities, but if you are looking for a large, already established academic research center, this may not be the place for you.
 
Nov 9, 2010
13
0
Status
Resident [Any Field]
1. interview accommodations/food
Already live in Chicago so did not need accommodations. However, hotels in the area range from deals of $100/night to $250/night given high end location of Streeterville/Gold Coast. On day of interview, light breakfast of pastries, coffee and orange juice provided. Lunch was make-your-own-sandwich from platters from a local sandwich shop. Dinner is either pre- or post-interview depending on the day of the week you interview. It is held at a local Asian-fusion restaurant.

2. interview day -- (e.g. schedule, interview types, unusual questions/experiences...etc. )
Interview begins at 8:15 with breakfast and overview of program with PD. Interviews were 30 minutes long. There were 3-4 interviews during the day. During non-interview times, we sat in a conference room chatting. After lunch there was a tour of the facilities. Interviews were done by 3 pm.

3. Program overview
The program takes 7-8 residents per year. The PD noted in her presentation about the program that a majority of the residents are from top 20 medical schools. The PD seems very invested in the training and the lives of the residents--She really seems to love her job and is incredibly supportive.
The program is unique in that the first six months of PGY-1 is when all of the interns are off on their medical, pediatrics and neurology rotations. They return to the psych department together midway in their first year. After the first six months they complete 12 months of inpatient psychiatry with some combination at Northwestern's Stone Psych Hospital, the ED, the VA and Peds. Midway into PGY-2, they begin outpatient training. There is a significant focus on longitudinal experience with emphasis on psychotherapy. PGY-3 and PGY-4 are fraught with elective time that can be spent at numerous sights around the city or doing research. The residents and PD believe that having the intern year rotations completed as a group results in a closeness between the residents and their peers. I would agree by observing their behavior at lunch and dinner. They seem to know each other well and work together well.
All of the training (with the exception of the months at the VA which is still pending) has switched to the night float system to comply with work hours. Residents will do a total of 8.5 weeks of night float (in 2-3 week blocks) per PGY-1-2 years (I think). This is not a huge transition as internal medicine and neurology have already been on a night float system for the past few years.
All of Wednesday is fully protected for didactics every week for PGY-1 through PGY-4

4. Faculty
We only interview with three faculty during the interview day so if you do not know them from other experiences, you might not get a sense of the breadth of the faculty at McGaw. Residents seemed to speak highly of the faculty during the interview day.

5. Location, lifestyle, etc.
Location is pretty sweet if you want a nice and urban experience. The hospital is located in Streeterville, which feels a lot like Manhattan. It consists of numerous luxury and non-luxury high rise apartment buildings, Northwestern's medical, law and business school and some hotels for the tourists. It is bounded by Lake Michigan, the Gold Coast, Michigan Ave and the Chicago river. There are a ton of shopping, nightlife, cultural opportunities in the area. Living near NMH will cost a pretty penny ~$1600/month for a 1 bedroom. It seems that many of the residents choose to live in surrounding/cheaper/hipper neighborhoods like Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, Lakeview and choose to commute in by public transportation or car. Parking is $80/month as is a monthly CTA pass.
The hospital facilities live up to their reputation as being as nice as a hotel or bank or however you want to describe it.

6. Benefits
The usual. ~$48,000/year for PGY-1. Gym membership for $20/month at local private facility. 2-3 weeks off/year.

7. Program strengths
The facilities will be universally amazing by 2012. The VA has a brand new bed tower and gleaming inpatient unit. The Stone inpatient facilities will be brand-spanking new in 2011 and the plans look fancy (with etched glass walls, a gym and a meditation room). The Children's hospital is currently older, run down facility in Lincoln Park (requiring a shuttle ride or other commute) but will be brand new and located a block away from the adult hospital in 2012. There is an active Women's mental health initiative that is partially driven by large ob/gyn volume that goes through Prentice Women's Hospital (also beautiful).

8. Potential weaknesses
Seems a little heavy on psychotherapy so if you're only interested in biological psychiatry, you might be frustrated with the didactics. However, I don't believe that they skimp on bio-psych training. There is some gossip/rumor that Northwestern only sees wealthy patients. That was dismissed by the residents and the faculty. They acknowledged that Northwestern gets its fair share of wealthy psych patients (who present with other challenges than Medicaid patients) but it is a non-profit hospital in a large city that certainly treats poor patients as well. The program does not coerce their residents into conducting research like other programs (can be strength or weakness depending on your point of view).
 
Dec 5, 2010
2
0
Status
Denver

1. Stayed with friends, otherwise numerous hotels available. I didn't attend the dinner the night before.
2. 7-8 applicants each day. Day starts at Anschutz campus with ppt. intro. 3 interviews, including one resident. They try to pick at least one person that is specific to your interests. Lunch, a driving tour of some of denver, and a tour of the metro hospital round out the day which ended around 3:45pm.
3. This is an incredible program. 12 residents per class, numerous fellowships and research opportunities. During intern year, you rotate with 5 other interns, which helps to keep a smaller field in a med-large program. There are special interest tracks, such as child and research, that you can also integrate into your curriculum. You can also do a "career year" after 3 rd year as an attending at a community health center. They spread the pay out for this among the 4 years. Out pt. experience begins 2 nd year. Night float is done PGY1/2 as a 1 month block.
4. Very open and personable. The program emphasizes teaching. Residents speak very highly of them. Most of the facilities are on the anschutz campus, but the majority of PGY1 is spent at the denver metrohealth building.
5. Residents seem to have a good quality of life. The area is very affordable. Denver has a healthy, activity-based mindset.
6. Competitive
7. anything you could think of doing in psychiatry you can. Friendly people. Supportive environment
8. Size is only a weakness if you want something smaller. You won't feel anonymous.
 
Dec 5, 2010
2
0
Status
Baystate

1. Hotel was paid for, but I had some issues with my room, like lights not turning off, banging heater, etc. No breakfast, but there is a starbucks on the way if you drive. Shuttle comes at 7am, but I drove and left at 7:40am.
2. interview day -- 8am. Intro and 4 interviews. I agree with the above poster regarding the introduction. They really did try to enhance the accomplishments of the faculty and the program, but I understand why, since it is so new. Lunch was with the residents, who are all very nice and satisfied with their decision.
3. Very new program that started in 2009 and so they haven't graduated a class yet. You start on the inpt. psych units with 4 pts, increasing it to 6 in PGY2. Call is short call only. Overnight call is beeper only, unless on medicine. Didactic time is protected. No Inpt. child opportunities, but you will do a few months of partial hospitalization 2nd year, and some outpt. 3rd year. There are opportunities to craft your own electives. Very strong C-L department. This is a magnet nursing hospital, so the staff was very strong. oddly, I didn't like the layout of the inpt. unit which is the one long hallway, but that's a small thing.
4. Faculty: Very solid. They don't need you, so there is a lot of support and teaching.
5. Springfield is depressing and it would still be reasonable to live elsewhere and still be close.
6. Benefits: PGY 2010 $52K+, with the other standard benefits.
7. Program strengths: Everyone was very friendly and laid back. You will definitely have time to have a life. This would be a great program for anyone with a family. The program does seem to be ironing the bugs and growing in a good direction.
8. Potential weaknesses: It is new, but that not always bad. If you know you want child psych, this might not be the best program for you, but for C-L it would be.
 

titoincali

SDN Angel
10+ Year Member
Jun 3, 2004
691
0
SW
Status
Attending Physician
Yale University
interview accommodations/food: Psychiatry residency association took applicants out to dinner the night before the interview to a great tapas restaurant. Muffins and coffee were provided for breakfast but lunch included a buffet of pasta, salad, sandwiches, and great cookies.

interview day: I had 4 interviews including the PD and one community psychoanalyst. I didn’t find any of the interviews difficult although they did bring up certain issues in my application. At the same time, the questioning didn’t feel accusatory or judgmental. Got the impression they really wanted to know how passionate you were about your interest in medicine and how that was portrayed in your experiences. Most other questions were those that arose during the conversation that probed more my interests in psychiatry, past experiences, why Yale would fit my interests, etc. The only interview that was different than the others was with the psychoanalyst. In many ways I really did feel like my life and what I felt about certain people and incidences in my life were being deeply probed. In no way did I feel uncomfortable about the conversation as I am fairly open about my life and certain difficulties. In fact, I was really enjoying the conversation. However, I could see how it could be an uncomfortable considering it felt remarkably like he was psychoanalyzing me. Overall, the day was enjoyable and I had a great time speaking to my interviewers about everything from my interest in medicine to my family to my favorite books and music.

Program overview: I was really impressed by the program as a whole. Particularly about the emphasis placed on studying the psychosocial issues of each topic in the didactic sessions. Furthermore, I appreciated that they talked about having residents that not only could identify problems in the system of care but could work to improve it. I also liked the structure of the didactic sessions into more case/discussion format with experiential activities. At the same time, it did make the didactics appear somewhat less structured- but it appears they are trying to make improvements. A lot of emphasis on individualizing a residency program that trains you for what you are most interested in. This includes faculty dedicated to helping you set up a Individualized education plan (IEP), 3 months off in 3rd year (CASE) dedicated to something you are interested in with funding, and a large selection of electives available. One of the only programs I’ve seen with international opportunities!

Faculty: Large selection of faculty including community members are available for supervision, electives, and research opportunities. It was mentioned that Psychiatry is the second largest department at Yale.

Location, lifestyle, etc.: I’d been warned not to expect much of New Haven but I was pleasantly surprised. It appears emphasis has been placed on making downtown New Haven nicer. It has lots of restaurants, shops, and bars. Yale University is beautiful. But the area right outside of downtown didn’t seem that great (but I would love for others more familiar to the area to contradict me). However, the area is affordable to live downtown and in neighboring towns which are not a long commute to New Haven. Being next to Yale also brings the added benefit of a plethora of music events, theater events, and lectures. Residents seem to like each other and do hang out. And while some previous reviews I’ve read mention that they thought the area and people seemed cold, I didn’t get that impression at all.

Benefits: Higher PGY1 salary than seen at most residencies (~ $58,000). The medical plan that is offered at no cost to resident is the Yale Health Plan which, I believe, is through the campus clinic. Other HMO plans are offered for additional cost. Access to Yale campus activities.

Program strengths: Individualized education plan, CASE opportunity with funding, international opportunities, dedicated Hispanic mental health clinic for monolingual patients which I haven't seen anywhere else, strong ties to Connecticut mental health, interesting non-traditional didactic curriculum, affordable housing with great stipend, close to both NYC and Boston.

Potential weaknesses: New Haven is not really the best city I’ve been in but it’s much better than I anticipated
 

titoincali

SDN Angel
10+ Year Member
Jun 3, 2004
691
0
SW
Status
Attending Physician
UA/UPH
interview accommodations/food: Interview day included great lunch with residents at Arizona Inn, a wonderful hotel that is representative of Southwest character with a wonderful outdoor eating area.

interview day: Only 3 applicants. Each interview was relaxed and conversational, one of which included a lot of laughing. For obvious reasons, the tour did not include a visit to the new free-standing psych hospital being built behind the UPH hospital but it promises to be fantastic and increase the psych beds from 64 to 94 eventually. It is set to open fall 2011.

Program overview: I wasn’t sure what to think when I first applied to this program, particularly since it was such a new program, but it’s emphasis on community psych with the connection to UArizona had me intrigued. I was reassured that although it was a new program it was set up by faculty from the UA main program which had been around for a long time. All the didactics are completed in conjunction with the UA residents as well as 3 ( I believe) of their rotations. Hearing this made me feel that the program was on stable academic ground despite it’s newness. The facilities at UPH hospital are fantastic and with the new psych hospital and the Crisis response center the program is in a great position to provide excellent mental health care to a very underserved area- Southern Arizona. The patients will be diverse and are in great need of care so I anticipate that the residents will leave the program prepared for anything! The program director is new but is a graduate of the UA main program and very invested in medical training and the residents. I got the sense that they would be very flexible to the interests of the residents and helpful in setting up any electives that are not currently available. Also note, that the program plans to expand to 6 residents but wasn’t able to get approved before the deadline for this year so there are only 4 residents per class at this time. Overall, this is strong community program.

Faculty: UPH faculty and access to UA faculty. I heard from residents that UA faculty are sometimes hard to access for research and such but I’m not sure how much that is true. A lot of the faculty I met had been trained at the UA main program and were very invested in the success of the UA/UPH program. Only 3 hours of supervision each week.

Location, lifestyle, etc.: Tucson is a medium sized city that is large in population but prides itself on it’s “small town” feeling. There is music, arts, and good restaurants but perhaps not on the scale of other large cities. Nonetheless, you can live well in Tucson on a resident salary and if you are outdoors afficionado there is so much to do. Also, when you tire of the desert, you can drive 4 hours North and be in mountains, forest, and snow. Having grown up in Tucson, I know that it isn’t a city for everyone but it really is a comfortable place to live and raise a family.

Benefits: Benefits and salary seems comparable to other programs but will take you far in Tucson. Another benefit is that family members get either free or reduced tuition (I can’t remember) at the UA because you are a resident.

Program strengths: Weekly PRITE review course, the program serves the underserved of all of Southern Arizona which is a large area so you are guarenteed to see a wide range of pathology and learn strong skills in community psychiatry, new psych hospital, free standing psych ER, great opportunity to do telemedicine, can work with Native American and Latino populations, and I believe it has the only geropsych unit in the area.

Potential weaknesses: I didn’t get a sense that there were a wide range of elective classes or rotations although the PD seems willing to help set up anything that is not available at this time, lack of fellowships on-site (although residents are going to great fellowships this year), perhaps some difficulty accessing research mentors at the UA (but this is heresay), it didn’t seem as academically rigorous as other programs but that was just my personal sense.
 

titoincali

SDN Angel
10+ Year Member
Jun 3, 2004
691
0
SW
Status
Attending Physician
interview accommodations/food: The day included a pizza lunch with residents.

interview day: (e.g. schedule, interview types, unusual questions/experiences...etc. ): The schedule included interviews at Olive View Hospital and at Sepulveda VA, which meant that I had at least 5 interviews throughout the day. This was more than any other program. But it did give me the opportunity to meet a wide range of faculty and residency personalities and specialties, which I appreciated. Interviews were very laid back and had no unusual questions. This was probably the only interview in which I felt no connection to the PD. In fact, I felt very awkward which is unusual for me, although he seemed like a very nice man. It was a bit weird. As we drove between Olive View and the VA I got a good sense of what driving in LA would be like starting during second year if I attended this program- especially when we overshot our exit and had to figure out how to make our way back!

Program overview: I thought this was a strong community program that has some great benefits. Strong curriculum and a diversity of locations for training. Olive View, the VA, and the community health clinic of SFV gave great access to an underserved population while other locations such as Cedars and NPI gave access to private insurance populations. The first year you train at one location which allows you time to settle in to the residency and area but starting 2nd year you need to leave at midday from your training site for outpatient clinic. So there is a lot of LA driving but a lot of the residents said they had found ways to get to locations using surface streets so they didn’t get stuck in traffic too much (I’m not sure how to take this as I always seem to be stuck in traffic in LA). I felt reassured that there was strong access to psychotherapy training which included 3-4 supervisors (each with their own strength and background) and up to 6H of supervision each week. There is a strong connection to UCLA which the residents and faculty kept emphasizing. I’m not sure how much this includes research opportunities. The only thing, outside of the whole PD and driving thing, that I was concerned about was the fact that a recent resident felt that she since most of her therapy patients were at the VA she had limited access to women, not a great thing since her interest was in women’s health.

Faculty: I liked the faculty I met and heard about. They had a diversity of interests, strong academic ties, but also strong interests in community medicine. Residents thought they had access to supervision they needed.

Location, lifestyle, etc.: While I’m a big fan of California, living in LA is not for everyone. I’m still trying to decide if it’s for me. You will find a wide range of communities and housing in LA. It seemed that a lot of residents live in the Glendale/Pasadena/Westwood and even Sherman Oaks area as living in the valley isn’t the first choice. The Valley really is one great big suburb with none of the charms of other LA communities. That being said, LA has a little of everything- beaches, mountains, theaters, museums, and some of the best ethnic food I’ve ever tasted. And while the residents said they lived comfortably- I am concerned about affording good housing.

Benefits: UCLA residents get UCLA healthcare without needing to pay copays or for prescriptions, which is awesome. You get all the benefits of being associated with UCLA. Otherwise, salary and other benefits seemed fairly standard.

Program strengths: Great UCLA faculty, both academic and community, rotations at Cedars and NPI, diversity of patients, access to fellowships, friendly residents, can provide mental health to college students at CSUN, new facilities in SFV built after the Northridge quake, outpatient clinic at a specialized mood disorders clinic which is unique.

Potential weaknesses: lack of women in outpatient VA clinic, lots of driving, expense of living in the LA area. If you like medicine, like I do, it seems at this residency the psych resident is treated as a “3rd resident” that takes 1/2 the patient load and doesn’t cross cover. I found this a weakness but some may like this!
 

titoincali

SDN Angel
10+ Year Member
Jun 3, 2004
691
0
SW
Status
Attending Physician
interview accommodations/food: Great lunch with faculty and residents.

interview day: I appreciated that all the residency administrators that started the day with us. The Patos are an amusing, engaging physician couple who are really working to improve the program. It appears they have a strong interest in improving the number of residents and the access for residents to do research. In fact, research seemed the word of the day. I actually like research and have done a fair amount of it, but even I felt a bit uncomfortable by how much it was brought up! This was also the biggest group of applicants of all my interviews so far- 20 applicants. It seems USC does only 4-5 interview days. After the morning presentation, half the applicants go complete their interview while half go on a tour (an order which is switched after lunch). The interviews ranged from strange to incredibly engaging. One interviewer kept talking about the prevalence of narcisissm in LA and at some point I thought he was also talking about the residents and faculty but it was hard to figure out exactly what was going on. He was really nice otherwise. My other interviewers were more interested in getting to know me and talk about my extracurricular interests than anything else. So overall, a very low-key day. The other strange event that I observed was during the luncheon resident panel (after all the faculty left). Residents seemed outwardly at odds with one of their residents which led to some more strong forceful discussion and some eye rolls, but everything was kept cordial. The more awkward spots of the panel seemed to be about transparency from the administration and perhaps some unpopular changes. While the majority of the residents seemed very upbeat about the program, the experience did give me a pause.

Program overview: For those interested in research there is the Center for genomic psychiatry, CTSA (for translational research), and a large psychiatric cohort for research. Most of your work is at LA county which doesn’t have an inpatient psych unit. You have to travel 18 miles to the psych hospital. But the facility has 62 beds and appears to have great access to pathology and training. Diversity of patients at the different facilities, including underserved (at County, etc) and insured (at USC hospital). Lots of funding and push for academic/research work. If you are interested in community medicine or working in underserved care, you really can’t go wrong with the population you see through this residency. I was worried that the busyness of LAC may feel overwhelming but residents said they had caps on how many patients they had on the wards and didn’t feel that their education was compromised.

Faculty: Except for my experience with the narcisissm guy, I really enjoyed speaking to all the faculty members I met. They had a strong interest in the patients seen at LAC and were interested in resident teaching.

Location, lifestyle, etc.: See UCLA/SFV review. Addition: People talk a lot about how horrible the area around USC medical campus is but I really had not problem with the location. It’s definitely run down but it wasn’t has run down as people make it out to be. And I asked about parking and security which are readily available for residents. All the residents I asked had never had a crime perpetrated against them.

Benefits: Residents are considered county employees which means they get additional federal holidays and government benefits, board review course, we were told the salary over the 4 years was competitive but it seems to me that it is actually lower the first year than other programs and there was no clear explanation why

Program strengths: didactic teaching in being an effective resident teacher, access to USC facilities and libraries, strong opportunities for research and scholarly work, interns are always on call with an attending (can someone confirm this) and overall, I thought there was a great emphasis placed on how much supervision was available for residents

Potential weaknesses: Administration has stopped in house moonlighting which doesn’t appear to be a popular decisions with the residents (please correct me if I’m wrong about this!), while the Patos appear to be well-liked there is some confusion about changes in the residency administration on my part (one popular person left and is now coming back, etc), the amount of driving necessary while at off campus sites, residents kept bringing up how easy it was not to do more work on medicine rotations by saying you were a psych resident (which I didn't like)
 

titoincali

SDN Angel
10+ Year Member
Jun 3, 2004
691
0
SW
Status
Attending Physician
interview accommodations/food: Residency paid for 1/2 the price of a hotel room for one night. Very chatty and super sweet residency coordinator picked me up and took me on a tour of Fresno in the AM and after my interviews. Lunch was provided with residents. The coordinator also took me to the VA for an interview/tour and waited for me to take me to my hotel. Overall, they did everything possible to make the day as comfortable as possible.

interview day: I really felt that they were trying to sell me on the program rather than interviewing me. I got clear sense that everyone had read my application. One interviewer had even written specific notes that he was interested in discussing with me. All interviews were relaxed and enjoyable.

Program overview: This is a really strong program that is located in a not so preferable site which might limit their ability attract a lot of residents. But I was still impressed by the faculty and the dedication to the population. I was told that all the faculty was UCSF faculty and that many moved to Fresno specifically to participate in the residency. The Fresno area is one of the most underserved counties in the country- particularly in the area of mental health. UCSF set up programs in central California to help with issue of severe physician shortage in the area. While the program is small, I was really impressed by the quality of the curriculum, psychodynamic training, and supervision. Perhaps because the program is small, there is flexibility to work on the strengths and weaknesses of each of the residents. I got the impression that if I expressed an interest in something, they would work hard to find me all the mentors and connections I would need to succeed. As someone who is really interested in community medicine, I was also excited by the opportunities to get involved in the community and make a difference. Program seemed very friendly, collegiate, with a lot of opportunities for interactions with faculty. The only thing that seems to be missing is access to research although there is a required scholarly project.

Faculty: Great faculty dedicated to the residents and their patients. I was particularly impressed by the PD, Dr. Campbell. He seemed very dedicated to the residents and their training.

Location, lifestyle, etc: So this is the part that breaks my heart. Fresno appears like a nice city with a strong suburb feeling. Very affordable housing and nice neighborhoods with good schools. Also, it is ~3hrs from the Bay Area, 2hrs from LA and Monterey, and 1.5 hours to Yosemite. But I just didn’t find myself that excited by Fresno and wondered how well I would transition to living there. At the same time, everyone I met was really friendly, it was a very liveable city, and you could live well there. The other thing that concerned me was how much residents said they left for the Bay Area or LA on the weekends. I wondered if there would be anyone left in Fresno to spend time with on my days off!

Benefits: Great benefits with a competitive salary.

Program strengths: Strong community program with academic ties to UCSF, strong varied curriculum, flexibility to make the residency fit your interests, good psychodynamic training and supervision, variety of clinic sites, ability to make your clinic “yours” so to speak, good facilities, very friendly people, lots of outdoor activities nearby, emphasis on “balance” in residency by PD

Potential weaknesses: Fresno not that exciting to live in but it is close to practically everything in California, small class size might be a strength or a weakness depending on what you like, suburb feeling of the city (if you like big cities), no fellowships on site (please correct me if I’m wrong)
 

titoincali

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interview accommodations/food: Program paid $50 towards one night of a nice hotel in downtown Cleveland. Residents took us out to dinner at a nice place in downtown Cleveland the night before the interview. Great lunch on the interview day.

interview day: Another low key day. 4 interviews including 2 with the training administrators. All interviews were low key and relaxed with emphasis placed on getting to know you and allowing you to ask questions. Spent lunch with residents. I was impressed that the PD found a specific resident that she thought I should meet because of our similar interested and asked her to come and talk to me. The only unfortunate thing was the snowy weather that caused a huge Cleveland mess and massive transportation headache!

Program overview: I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this program. It just seemed to have a lot of electives that I hadn’t seen in other programs including: sex change evaluations, a VA gambling program, mental health with HIV patients, as well as a month dedicated to ECT with an elective. I was also told there was opportunity to do an eating disorder elective and a psychoanalytic school to rotate through. Program is proud of their pharm free grand rounds and the residents seem very active in the journal club, movie club, and book club. There has been some recent changes in the curriculum which is incorporating an all years didactic session 4 times a year to discuss more psychosocial and issues outside current curriculum. Scholarly project is expected and each resident must present a grand rounds. Inpatient psych is done at Richmond Medical center which is 20 +min from main campus. It seems there is at least one unit there that is just Case Psych. I believe the VA is also off campus. Emphasis on community psych. Case has fellowships in everything and is especially strong in Forensics. I didn’t hear a lot of discussion of research but I might have missed it.

Faculty: All the faculty I met was very interested in working with residents. I was told there were ~ 60 full time staff, 30-35 staff at the VA, and over 200 community faculty. I liked the diversity of the careers of some of the faculty I met. The associate training director (a Case graduate) does work at the residency several days a week, a half day of forensics, occasionally C/L on weekends, and then 2 days of community medicine. It seems Case trains you well for all types of psychiatry.

Location, lifestyle, etc: Cleveland is a very affordable city located on the lake. I found the downtown to be great and very accessible with lots of good restaurants and bars. I didn’t get a clear sense of the neighborhoods outside of downtown but residents seem happy with the housing availability. Strong music environment with some impressive museums. The winter weather could be a problem but I understand the spring, summer, and fall are generally beautiful. I was told later that the winter is usually gray which could be a problem for me. Residents are very active and spend time together. I’ve also been told they have a softball, soccer, and volleyball teams which I thought was pretty cool. Overall, I just got the best impression of Cleveland and how nice everyone was.

Benefits: Fairly standard benefits. I was impressed by the resident run in-house moonlighting program that is available to 3rd/4th years which pays extremely well.

Program strengths: Strong academics, connection to fellowships in almost all areas of psychiatry, cohesive residents who seem to be very active, a well known forensics program, liveable, affordable city, access to many electives.

Potential weaknesses: weather and grayness of the winter can be tough, I wasn’t sure about my access to particular ethnic populations I was interested in despite the fact that community psych is strong (I’ll have to investigate more), if you are interested in C/A and want to do a general pediatrics rotation in place of internal med it might be difficult as Rainbow Babies is a strong peds program and there has been a history of psych residents not doing well in the rotation
 

notdeadyet

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I looked a lot at past Interview Review threads when deciding where to apply this year, and one thing I noticed was that there was a big difference in quality of the reviews between the ones who posted early in the season and the ones who posted post-match list. The earlier ones were more thorough and didn't seem as vanilla-bland as some of the later ones.

I was originally thinking of posting my reviews post-match list out of concerns about anonymity and the (admittedly remote) possibility that someone from the program might read my review, figure out who I was, and rank me negatively because of my frank comments about their program, warts and all.

But at the end of the day, any program so vindictive as to negatively rank candidates for pointing out valid concerns about their program is probably one that I wouldn't be happy with.

Hope others feel the same and we can flush out a nice list of impressions of various programs by the Class of 2011...
 

notdeadyet

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1. ACCOMMODATIONS/FOOD- No accommodation provided. The program recommends Hampton Inn Coconut Grove in Coral Gables. I'd very much recommend this place. Though folks on the interview day seemed nervous about doing so, it was VERY easy to take the subway system to Jackson Memorial, and much quicker/cheaper than a cab. The hotel is in a nice neighborhood where a few residents live anyway and it's a much more pleasant place to chill out pre/post interview than the downtown location of JMH. Food at the interview was catered lunch and very nice. There was a happy hour/light dinner thing in South Beach the night before which was great for getting inside views of the program and seeing what as I tourist I found to be very Miami-y. If you're interested in going and are cheap, you might consider asking the program coordinator the email addresses or phone numbers of other applicants staying in the Hampton Inn (about half did that interviewed on my day) as a cab to South Beach was about $30 each way and buses would take about 90 minutes.

2. INTERVIEW DAY- 3 faculty interviews that each ran about 30 minutes. If you express a particular interest area to the program coordinator, the folks do a great job of tailoring your interview schedule to people with a background in your area. Lots of downtime throughout the interview day. I personally had an hour here and there and blew through my iPhone's battery. Interview styles varied depending on faculty, with some typical "describe an interesting patient" ones with others who were more curious about interest areas and selling JMH as fulfilling. There was also 1 hour allocated to a group sit-down with the Program Chair, Dr. Nemeroff, who is a larger-than-life personality type and was willing to share his thoughts on JMH and other programs. Very interesting and informative hour. There was also a tour of the facilities, including JMH's new and impressive inpatient psych unit.

3. PROGRAM OVERVIEW- There are service-driven programs and didactic-driven programs and JMH is very much the former. JMH has the reputation of working their residents very (too?) hard. Speaking to residents at the social the night before and throughout the interview day, none of them claimed a light workload, yet none of them complained about being worked to death either. Talking to recent residents from other programs at JMH, they seemed to think the residents were worked disproportionately hard, but again, I didn't hear that from the residents themselves. Residents and faculty were very proud of the diversity of patients they see, describing everything from the impoverished recent Haitian immigrant to the rich bigwig flown in by helicopter from a cruiseship. That said, expect to see a lot more Haitians than cruiseliners. If you had to generalize, JMH is very much a county program and if you are not comfortable with that, this would probably not be a good choice. It is positioned very nicely for the county-experience and faculty and facilities for urgent in-patient psychiatry were some of the best I'd seen. One area of concern for me was being a limited-Spanish speaker and from speaking to many residents, I found that while there were a few fluent ones, most residents I met had little to no Spanish and were dependent on translators or staff to work with such a large Spanish-speaking population and it didn't seem to be a big issue for them.

4. FACULTY- I had specific research interests and my interview seemed tailored to this. There is definitely a lot of research opportunities at JMH and I was impressed with what I'd heard. Much of the faculty seemed to be looking at candidates not so much for the high-falutin' stuff on the application but using the "could I work with this person?" lens. JMH didn't seem to have as much of the chumminess between faculty-residents that I'd seen at some west coast programs but residents pretty much universally claimed to feel well-supported.

5. LOCATION/LIFESTYLE- Jackson Memorial Hospital is in a pretty dull urban environment of Miami, not an area that I think anyone would particularly want to live, but it's very central and on lots of buslines and the subway. Miami is a very unique city, which I would imagine would rub people in opposite ways. It reminded me of a mash-up between Honolulu and LA. It's big and vast and lots of it is car-based, but it has a lush, tropical feeling and foreign-culture domination that's rare for many cities. Lots of neighborhoods to choose from to suit your personality and price. Lifestyle of the program is a tough first year with it getting progressively easier. No one makes any illusion about the fact that residents here work hard.

6. BENEFITS- Average salary and good benefits, typical of a county program.

7. STRENGTHS- County, county, county. Great diversity of patients with an excellent psychiatric emergency room, one of the best around. Great inpatient facilities. Lots of VA exposure. Jackson Memorial is THE hospital in Miami without serious competition for many miles, which is something you don't see in most major cities. You'll be in the center of it. Lots of volume, so you'll be learning a lot. Dr. Nemeroff has the goal (and plan) for taking an already strong program and making it a national contender. I believe him.

8. WEAKNESSES- County, county, county. If you're not on-board for that experience, this would not be the place. While you'll have your share of zebras as well, with JMH capturing it all, this is probably not the place to train if you have visions of setting up a cash-only private practice after residency. I'm sure you could do it, but if the smell of the poor makes your skin crawl, why come here?
 
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notdeadyet

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1. ACCOMODATIONS/FOOD- No accommodation provided. Easiest/cheapest accommodation is checking for Waikiki specials on cheap hotels. Food was better-than-average hospital cafeteria fare for lunch. At the end of the interview day was pupu's (think happy hour) at a local bar/restaurant in which an impressive number of residents turned up at and let their hair down. I left after 2 hours and the party was still going strong.

2. INTERVIEW DAY- 2 faculty interviews, then a department overview presentation. Lunch with the residents and hospital tour, then a generous interview with the program director (45 minutes) and interview with the chief resident. Very low stress interviews. If you are from the mainland, expect a lot of "Why Hawaii?" questions. From the interview questions I heard, they seem to be (wisely) filtering out folks who have a naive impression of the challenges for someone with no ties living on what amounts to a beautiful rock in the middle of the Pacific for 4 years. That said, keep in mind that only 1-2 residents came out of UH medical school in each class, so mainland background is obviously not a negative.

3. PROGRAM OVERVIEW- University of Hawaii is a unique program for a number of reasons. It's a fairly small program by number and volume compared to most west coast academic programs, but it's literally THE PLACE for anything psychiatry for thousands of miles. Honolulu and Hawaii has historically been as close to a developing nation as you'll find in the United States, so University of Hawaii has a long tradition of excellence in anything related to multiculturalism and UH's Psychiatry program definitely keeps this up in the field of cross-cultural psychiatry.

4. FACULTY- The faculty is split between mainlanders and locals. I definitely picked up on different vibes during the interviews based on this. All were friendly and helpful in answering of questions. Again, a lot of interview focusing on "Why Hawaii?" in addition to "Why UH?"

5. LOCATION/LIFESTYLE- Hoo-boy. A whole page could be written on this. As for lifestyle, UH definitely appears to be a less stressful program than many I'd seen. Confusing but acceptable call patterns in which there's lots of sleep and downtime. No firm plans for next year's changes other than possibly nightfloat. Residents emphasized manageable schedules and chill work environment so much that I started wondering if volume isn't on the low side for what I'd want for good clinical exposure (and I'm not the most gung-ho blade in the pack), but some of this may have been salesmanship on the part of the residents. As for location, Hawaii is very much a love-it-or-hate-it kind of place (disclosure- I lived for a number of years in Honolulu for non-medical professional reasons before medical school). I personally loved it, but many mainlanders do not and get island fever, which usually sets in after about 18 months to two years. I would advise having very real reasons to want to move to Hawaii if you have never lived in an island culture. I would not want to be halfway through residency and discover that I really was tired of living so far from anything different.

6. BENEFITS- Good financial benefits, about $2-3K/year higher than what I'd seen at most of my west coast interviews. The program did a GREAT job at outlining the cost of moving and living in Hawaii with lots of great tips for lifestyle (restaurants, things to do, etc.). A very helpful little guide for folks moving out there. Everyone's probably heard horror stories about the cost of living in Hawaii, but from my living there in the past, I found it less expensive than San Francisco or Manhattan, more expensive than L.A., San Diego, or Seattle. Once you've lived there a while, you learn where to buy this and that and how to do without things that are prohibitively expensive there and how to enjoy what is cheap (think water, sand and sun). I would not be worried about the salary, unless you have your heart set on renting a full house, renting something on the beach, or supporting a non-working spouse/family.

7. STRENGTHS- Multiculturalism is very strong here as is cross-cultural psychiatry. Public psychiatry is extremely strong. I didn't look too much into research, but the Psychiatry program has ties to the UH Manoa graduate program so there's definitely opportunities there. If you have any interest in the Pac Rim or Asia, this would be a great program given immigration patterns. Obviously, if you have any intent on living in the Pacific long-term this would be a great place to train. Another strength I'd toss out there is resident cohesiveness, which is stronger here than any program I've been to (and likely at least partially a reaction to the process of acclimatizing to living on said rock in said Pacific). Residents to a one that I met (and I had the chance to meet many) seemed extremely happy about being at this program, which is high praise. A great bunch of people.

8. WEAKNESSES- Isolation. This could be an issue personally and professionally. It can be prohibitively expensive to travel to the mainland for conferences or to see family. Depending on where you want to go, you might be limited to 1-2 trips/year if you want to have any kind of life in Hawaii. Honolulu is a great city with much to offer, but if you're a high-brow type (opera, symphony, fine dining, etc.), it's much more lacking than similar sized places elsewhere.
 
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notdeadyet

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1. ACCOMMODATIONS/FOOD- Accommodations provided for one night. I highly recommend the Hotel Andaluz. I've stayed at about 10 hotels on the interview trail and on about half of them I went with my wife and splurged on nice places, and Hotel Andaluz was definitely the highlight. A beautiful 4 stars place that was the original Hilton hotel. Beautifully decorated boutique place with a middle eastern theme that hosts as a music venue. Stunning design and excellent service, a close walk from downtown. Catered lunch in the department on interview day.

2. INTERVIEW DAY- It started with a half hour orientation with the Chair and Vice Chair, followed by a tour of the Veteran's Administration. VA's are usually pretty much federal blights, but the Albuquerque VA is stunning, an old listed property in classic New Mexican architecture. After the tour, we were able to sit in on rounds for a half hour to see how they were conducted (very team approach, typical of VA rounds). This was followed by a 25 minute interview with a VA attending, and transport back to UNM, where there was a tour of the UNM facilities and four 25 minute interviews with faculty. All interviews were a combination of getting-to-know-you with Why-UNM. Quite a bit of sales on New Mexico/Albuquerque as a nice place to live and learn psychiatry. Low stress and conversational. The interview day ended with a 45 minute shuttle tour of Albuquerque with the Program Director at the wheel. I learned a lot of nice things about the city, got a chance to see how diverse and accessible it is, and thought it was an extremely nice gesture symbolic of the sort of program they run.

3. PROGRAM OVERVIEW- I wasn't going to apply to UNM not due to any negative impressions, just due to zero exposure. But I had three separate faculty members from a completely unrelated, geographically distant program mention, "You should look at UNM." I was intrigued and applied and was absolutely delighted with what I found. UNM is a great program that has a nice mix of research and broad clinical exposure. Their catchment area is HUGE, covering all of New Mexico as well as some of south Colorado and west Texas. They are literally the only major hospital in that area. Logically enough, they do a lot of telepsychiatry and rural psych (only 11 cities of over 10K in New Mexico) in addition to psychiatry for urban Albuqueque. They have an expertise on cultural psychiatry as well, focusing on the Latino population and Native Americans (which make up a surprisingly large number of people in the area, as Albuquerque is surrounded by the Pueblo Indians). There are a lot of research possibilities, obviously not at the level of the powerhouses, but the chance is there and faculty encouraged. Overall, they emphasize clinical psychiatry with a good mix of psychopharm and psychotherapy. Facilities tended towards new and fancy, with the rest seemingly slated for construction or renewal. Their ER is one of the biggest I'd seen and that can be viewed as a strength.

4. FACULTY- They have some strong faculty members, particularly in mood disorders. Child psychiatry is also very strong. Faculty is very involved in publishing and medical education. The program definitely gives the impression of a close and informal working relationship between faculty and residents. I left with the impression that folks interested in academic psychiatry (particularly with an emphasis on clinical education) would be extremely happy here.

5. LOCATION/LIFESTYLE- Lots of time and energy was devoted to having candidates consider Albuquerque, which I think is their biggest obstacle. If the program was on the west coast, I would rank it as one of the better ones. As it is, Albuquerque needs to be experienced to get a good idea if it's to your liking. I came in with zero familiarity with Albuquerque, and left thinking it was a very nice place. It's not San Francisco, by any means, but it doesn't need to be. Rent is cheap and real estate is affordable; given their typical salaries (not to mention lots of moonlighting opportunities) it's easy to see why many residents are able to buy homes on starting residency. The area around UNM is a nice residential area. Overall, it's not as high-brow as you'd get from a lot of similar sized cities on the west coast (in terms of galleries, coffee shops, music, etc.), but everything there is very accessible. Downtown seems to be on the upswing, but there are lots of boarded up shops and homeless. Outdoor opportunities are very easy to get to and plentiful. Given the fact that it's surrounded by so many Indian reservations, there's not the sort of suburban sprawl that I associate with a lot of southwestern cities, which is a huge plus. If you're interested in a bigtime urban environment, you'd be disappointed, but if you're looking for a manageable city with good diversity and culture, you wouldn't go wrong here. The residents do not seem overworked or stressed out and all seem happy with their choice to come here.

6. BENEFITS- Starting salary is $1-2K lower than California standard, but given cost-of-living, that money here goes much farther. Generous vacation and side benefits as employees.

7. STRENGTHS- Excellent clinical exposure, telepsych/rural psych/cross-cultural psych. One of the better programs in the country if you have an interest in Native American populations. Very strong Child and Adolescent program. It seems to be a great place to get a very well balanced clinical education and there are research opportunities that would exceed your reach unless your grasp includes discovering the cure for, say, mental illness. Overall, of the 10 programs I interviewed at, it was in the top 1 or 2 in terms of exceeding expectations. I would put it up there with some of the better programs I had the chance to get to know. Definitely a gem.

8. WEAKNESSES- Again, the main weakness for most folks is going to be geography. In a state with a population like New Mexico and the areas immediately around it, most applicants will be from out-of-state and at the risk of being horribly provincial, I don't think most folks know much about Albuquerque. I liked the city, and from California perspective, it reminded me of something along the lines of Sacramento or San Luis Obispo. It would be a nice place to raise a family and a fine place to be young and single, assuming that you don't have a drive to go clubbing every night.
 
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notdeadyet

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1. ACCOMMODATIONS/FOOD- No accommodations provided. Can’t comment on the UCLA places they recommended, as I stayed out of the area. If you drive to UCLA, PLEASE pay careful attention to the parking direction provided and make sure to map out the route to the kiosk to pre-pay for parking before heading to the massive parking structures. Lunch was catered in their residents library, with a nice number of residents coming to answer questions.

2. INTERVIEW DAY- There was a one hour introduction to the program, complete with custom video montage with sound (hey, we’re in L.A., right?). Very slick and informative. This followed with three interviews, two of whom were faculty and one of which was a Chief Resident. All went fine, but were slightly less conversational and more formal and interview-y than I’d grown used to at west coast programs (this isn’t a complaint, as they were all extremely professional, just different in tone to what I’m familiar with). There were tours of the West LA VA Hospital as well as the Semel Institute and UCLA Medical Center (sorry, still can’t use the term Reagan without flinching). Facilities were very impressive, the VA for size (500 beds, 125 psych, good lord!) and the Semel and UCLA for design and technology. Very humbling, you realize you’re in a program with an extremely large footprint. The evening ended with Happy Hour at a brew pub in Westwood. It was also impressive how many residents and faculty turned out for this, outnumbering applicants probably two-to-one in bodies and definitely in bar tabs.

3. PROGRAM OVERVIEW- I’ve interviewed at a lot of programs I consider very good, but this was the first one that I really said, “WOW.” There is literally EVERYTHING at UCLA. They treat every kind of culture and every kind of pathology and have clinics targeted to each. The research here is the best on the west coast (in my humble opinion) and they have a great relationship with the graduate programs at UCLA which is literally strong in almost everything, so they have some great interdisciplinary projects going on and collaboration is rampant. On the spectrum of nurtured-to-autonomous, residents definitely are on the autonomous side (typical of larger programs), but residents say they feel well supported. Great veteran exposure, if that’s your thing. They have great psychotherapy training and psychoanalytic relationships, and although a lot of folks head into fellowship and academics, the training seems to support folks heading the private practice route as well. Call seems higher than average for most California programs, with q5-6 for inpatient psych months as PGY-1’s, but that’s obviously going to change (no firm word on their plans, but they’re leaning towards night float). As it is, there is protected sleep time of about 4 hours each night. PGY-2 (currently) is q6-7, PGY-3 is q14, and no PGY-4 call. Fellowships in literally pretty much everything. Lots of social events and the classes seemed much more collegial than I’d seen at most of the “top” programs.

4. FACULTY- What can I say here? Some of the best on the west coast. Lots of possibilities as residents for research, though obviously the big names aren’t as chummy as some of the clinician educators, who residents have said were very approachable. They have great didactics as well, apparently.

5. LOCATION/LIFESTYLE- It’s Los Angeles. Definitely a love-it-or-hate-it kind of place. You have one of the world’s most vibrant cities, but be prepared to drive to all that culture out there. The area the program is in is nice and safe (unlike many LA programs), but if you want to live within walking distance or a quick drive, expect to live in an apartment, not a house. If you’re willing to drive a bit, there are literally possibilities to suit any interest or budget, but be prepared for traffic. LA has more opportunities for hiking and the outdoors than most give it credit for, but again, be prepared to drive (sense a theme?). The residents were extremely well-rounded and while they all seemed very intelligent, they didn’t give off that egghead/overly-cerebral vibe you get at some places. They admit to working hard, but feel its manageable. They did all seem pretty fit, causing me to scratch my gut and promise to work out more in the New Year, but I get that feeling anytime I visit Los Angeles.

6. BENEFITS- Starting salary average for California without a housing allowance, but folks feel it’s manageable. Personally, I think you'd be on a tighter budget than any other California program I looked at (UCSF has that housing allowance). Lots of moonlighting opportunities later which I presume helps.

7. STRENGTHS- Research is top notch and opportunities abound (can’t claim expertise on those doing the full-on research track, as that’s not my path). Clinical education is very good, with clinics in just about any subject. Teaching of psychotherapy is strong with specific modalities outlined and impressively diverse. Diversity of patients from insured to uninsured and from any of the hundreds of cultures in the area. If you're interested in the hard-core county experience, you can do rotations at Harbor-UCLA or even the entire intern year. Assuming you’re not the type of resident that will need an excessive amount of hand-holding and you thrive in a fast-paced environment, I’d say this would be a great program. L.A. is a strength if you like L.A. and don’t mind driving (sorry, I’m done with the driving thing). The residents are the strongest I’ve seen with impressive pedigrees and biographies and even more impressive down-to-earth relatable personalities.

8. WEAKNESSES- I didn’t see any big flaws in the program or things I’d identify as weaknesses. It is a big program and feels like a big program that expects you to work and be self-sufficient. This isn’t a weakness for many, but if you view it as such, I’d look long and hard at myself and the program here to make sure you’re up for it.
 

atsai3

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I looked a lot at past Interview Review threads when deciding where to apply this year, and one thing I noticed was that there was a big difference in quality of the reviews between the ones who posted early in the season and the ones who posted post-match list. The earlier ones were more thorough and didn't seem as vanilla-bland as some of the later ones.

I was originally thinking of posting my reviews post-match list out of concerns about anonymity and the (admittedly remote) possibility that someone from the program might read my review, figure out who I was, and rank me negatively because of my frank comments about their program, warts and all.

But at the end of the day, any program so vindictive as to negatively rank candidates for pointing out valid concerns about their program is probably one that I wouldn't be happy with.
Thanks for your contribution. Agree with the last comment.
Also agree with your review of UCLA. I interviewed there when I was a medical student, and even though Los Angeles is not my cup of tea I was definitely impressed with the place.

-AT.
 

notdeadyet

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1. ACCOMMODATIONS/FOOD- No accommodations provided. In fact, I don’t remember them giving any recommendations, as I had accommodation set up already. You could stay in Torrance, as a lot of residents live there, or there are nice motels in the beach communities a short drive away. Lunch was with two residents at an Asian restaurant down the road from the hospital (I’m not being culturally insensitive here, they served Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean, so I’m not really sure how they self-identify since I didn’t catch the name).

2. INTERVIEW DAY- Similar to UCLA-Semel, be sure to look over the parking directions carefully as you’re driving. If you’re coming from the 110 south, as many will be, the Caltrans park and ride is almost immediately to your right as you get off the freeway. It’s easy to overshoot and miss. The day consists of three interviews. The first is a group interview with the Chair of the department for an hour, definitely the most exposure I’ve had to the chair of a program (though it was a group interview in my case with two other applicants, on some days they apparently only interview one person per day). This was followed by an interview with the program director and a faculty member. The day concludes with a tour of the facilities with a resident. It was the shortest interview I had (in by 9am and done by 2pm or so), but this is probably due to the fact that their facilities are all in one county hospital, so you’re not shuttling around LA.

3. PROGRAM OVERVIEW- There are programs that have rotations at county facilities and there are programs that ARE county facilities. This one is the latter. More than almost any California residency, they have an explicit devotion to a county program that almost entirely caters to the medically underserved. Along those lines, Harbor-UCLA is what you’d expect. Facilities are not shiny and new, but staff are savvy, without airs, and emphasize teamwork. They have one of the best Psych ERs I’ve seen, though smaller (from what I’ve heard) than its neighbor at USC. Although this is very much a county program, it IS a UCLA program and there is ample opportunity for electives in fourth year at UCLA-Semel.

4. FACULTY- given only one faculty interview outside of the administration, I can’t really comment on that, other than the single faculty member I interviewed was very down-to-earth and emphasized making sure I knew what I was getting into at Harbor. From speaking to residents, they have a tight relationship with faculty that seems common at country-drive programs.

5. LOCATION/LIFESTYLE- the program is in Torrance, California, a community that isn’t exactly on the Gray Line tours of greater L.A. There are nice parts and tough parts to Torrance and many residents live here, though a fair number also live in the beach communities nearby (15-20 minute drive) such as Manhattan/Hermosa/Redondo Beach or Palos Verdes. On residents salary, you can live in a nice spot not too far from the water, albeit far from the glamor of Westwood or other communities closer to downtown. Residents work hard, but call is manageable.

6. BENEFITS- Typical California resident salary and county benefits.

7. STRENGTHS- Emergency psychiatry among the best in California. Great training for those who want to emphasize working with the medically underserved and indigent. Very hands on with lots of resident autonomy. Access to some of the specialty clinics and rotations at UCLA-Semel in later years. This would not be the program for those who are interested in setting up a boutique practice after residency, but if you want to walk the underserved walk, this is about as good as it gets. County-driven programs in California have taken a beating in recent years with state budget woes, but Los Angeles is fairly unusual in the fact that the powers-that-be have allocated and protected funding for its medically underserved and psychiatry in particular, much more so than most of the state, so this program is feeling the crunch less than some of its neighbors. Resident cohesiveness is very strong.

8. WEAKNESSES- The weaknesses of the program are mainly going to be felt by those who don’t respect or have an affinity for its strengths. If you are interested in the underserved, there are few places better in California. If you are interested in another demographic, you would be training at a program that is focusing elsewhere.
 

notdeadyet

Still in California
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1. ACCOMMODATIONS/FOOD- No accommodations provided. They give a list of local places via a weblink, but you can find cheaper hotel accommodations via hotels.com. The quickest and cheapest way there is to take the train in from the airport to downtown (it couldn't be easier or cheaper). Most of the hotels are a 15-20 minute walk from Pioneer Square, where the train stops. There is a streetcar line that runs to the lower tram terminal that has a gondola that zips you up to the campus, not an experience to be missed and much cheaper than a cab. There's no reason to rent a car for this interview, unless you want to get out of Portland and explore the outer area, which is very nice to see. Food on the day of the interview was basic coffee/danishes in the morning and a nicely catered lunch. For the optional dinner with the residents, they take you to a top notch Italian restaurant and order a very nice meal. Definitely a big step above the usual resident happy hour, and that's an understatement.

2. INTERVIEW DAY- Introduction by the program director, then 1:1 half-hour interviews with the program director, 2 faculty, and 1 chief resident. Very low stress interviews, mostly "do you have any questions for me?" Everyone was obviously very happy to be working/teaching there and they all seemed very comfortable living in Portland. Extremely approachable and friendly to a one.

3. PROGRAM OVERVIEW- OHSU is an interesting place that impressed me by the hour. The takeaway I left with is it being incredibly robust and well-rounded. I think folks who might be disappointed are those who are hard-core researcher or hard-core county-experience folks. There are opportunities to work either at OHSU, but it's not Stanford or USC-LAC, respectively. It's really nicely rounded in all senses of the word and balanced between psychopharm vs. psychotherapy, all types of patients (given Portland's diversity), and a fellowship in just about anything. You begin psychotherapy as a PGY2 with one-half day per week. Research elective as a PGY3 (half-day per week). Good moonlighting opportunities as a PGY3 and 4. Shared offices with 3 other residents as a PGY3 and 4.

4. FACULTY- The most approachable and collegial faculty I've come across. Everyone commented on how well everyone got along and collaborated with each other. All of the faculty I met were very personable and seemed to know each other quite well. Everyone was very encouraging about OHSU being a great place to train.

5. LOCATION/LIFESTYLE- Some programs seem very intertwined with the cities they're based in and OHSU is very much like this. The city is very much a palpable presence in the program. Maybe this comes from being the only major medical training facility in town? Portland is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it kind of place (and folks who would apply here would not fall into the hate it category, so that's probably moot). 8 months of overcast skies and/or rain, but beautiful summers. Great outdoors options of any stripe, great food, great beer, great music, great people and great beer. The economy is not great and finding work for spouses might be an issue. PGY1 is Q5 night and short call at the VA (6 mos) and PGY2's do nightfloat for OHSU. No PGY 3 or 4 call (at this point). PGY2 has 6 weeks of geriatric psychiatry and 6 weeks of ER psychiatry in addition to the typical inpatient and C&L. One half day outpatient starts in PGY-2 as well. PGY-3 has outpatient with focus on community psychiatry. Longitudinal outpatient experience in child and substance. PGY4 is a mix of outpatient clinics and electives, not as pure-elective as some programs for PGY 4's.

6. BENEFITS- Typical benefits. Very slightly higher salary than most west coast programs I've seen, which is a very livable wage for the comparably cheaper Portland.

7. STRENGTHS- Strengths would be getting a very strong and broad clinical education. Very collegial atmosphere. Great early exposure to C&A and substance. Early exposure and emphasis on psychotherapy (starting with half-day as PGY2). Commitment to the diversity that Portland has and cross cultural psychiatry. Great VA exposure, if that's your thing. Lots of fellowship opportunities. And Portland is a great city for most folks. Without a doubt in my mind, the ideal program for anyone considering working in Oregon after residency, and also an extremely strong program for anyone interested in the Pac NW or just in being a very well-rounded and capable psychiatrist. Through the attitudes and actions of the residents and faculty, I felt more at home and felt that I would feel at home for 4 years than I experienced at any program other than my own.

8. WEAKNESSES- Poor job scene for significant others. Wet and overcast for many months of the year. Not particularly strong in research (though possibilities are there for those who are inclined). Though OHSU makes a strong commitment to cross-cultural psychiatry, it is somewhat limited by a city whiter than most west-coast cities.
 
Jan 11, 2011
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So I opened a new account because I'm kind of paranoid that I'll be identified (probably overkill) but sdn has helped me out a lot in the past and I feel that I should give something back, especially before the match, when I'm sure I'll be more biased

Dartmouth

1. interview accommodations/food: dinner the night before with the residents at a very charming inn; food was spectacular.

2. interview day -- (e.g. schedule, interview types, unusual questions/experiences...etc. ): I think it started around 8am (long time ago), coffee and granola bars throughout the day as per usual. I got the regular questions: "why psych, why dartmouth, tell me about yourself, etc." Nothing out of left field. They still do the van tour around Hanover.

3. Program overview: overall, very friendly atmosphere and the residents seem very happy with their experience. There is also the option of completing an MPH during your residency that occurs over 2 years, is fully funded in addition to your residents salary-- I had never heard of this, and apparently there are only 1 or 2 other programs in the country that offer this.

Lots of resources here, despite it's very rural location. Definitely plenty of opportunities, and per the residents, faculty is more than happy to take on residents. If you're interested in research, that shouldn't be a problem here.

4. Faculty: Very friendly, and this is apparently true across the entire board with the exception of a grumpy attending here or there. Dartmouth has a family feel and part of that seems to be due to the fact that you'll bump into your attending/colleagues/patients in the grocery store.

5. Location, lifestyle: Rural. Very rural. It's very cold here and there isn't a lot to do aside from outdoor activities (skiing, snowshoeing, hiking). However, if you have a family, this may be a great place for you-- very safe, quiet, wonderful place to raise a family. Also, the public school system is top-notch. Also keep in mind that Boston is only 2 hrs away, NYC is like 3.5 hrs away, and Montreal is relatively close as well.

6. Benefits: Don't remember the specifics. Salary is about $50,000/yr with benefits and I believe that tx at DHMC is without co-pays. So as long as you're in network, you're golden. Also, you're not in the big city and so your money stretches a lot further than it would in say Boston or NYC.

7. Program strengths: PD is new, Christine Finn, but she seems very nice and dedicated to education. Faculty dedicated to teaching and the residents are as friendly as anywhere. Very collegial environment.

8. Potential weaknesses: there is virtually no ethnic diversity. There is a lot of socioeconomic diversity, however; there are pts you'll see in Dartmouth who are homeless and living in a tent who have never seen a physician. Also, the location could be a blessing or a curse, depending on the eye of the beholder.

If anyone wants their review(s) reposted anonymously, feel free to send it to me in a PM and I'll add it to the thread.[/QUOTE]
 
Jan 11, 2011
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Cambridge

1. interview accommodations/food: Dinner the evening before the interview at one of the resident's home-- very, very nice; would definitely recommend.

2. interview day -- (e.g. schedule, interview types, unusual questions/experiences...etc. ): Starts at like 8am or so with coffee, tea, and muffins. I think there were about 4 interviews, 3 with faculty including the PD, and 1 resident interviewer. Everyone is very nice, although as previously mentioned, there are some "personal" questions, which may take you off guard (i.e. do you have a partner, where does he/she live, etc.)if you're not expecting it.

3. Program overview: as everyone has probably figured it, this is a very community oriented program that is dedicated to helping the underserved. Dr. Forstein made it very clear on the interview day that the program is not going to be closed, that he is not leaving as program director, etc. Very intelligent residents who seemed very happy and well-rested. Excellent clinical training but not a lot of research going on here-- if you want to work on neurotransmitters for the rest of your life, this is not the place for you. Plenty of moonlighting opportunities to supplement your income.

4. Faculty: seemed great. Eager to teach, collegial in nature with the residents, would love to learn from them.

5. Location, lifestyle: Cambridge is not cheap and there isn't subsidized housing available. However, it is affordable if you're willing to sacrifice a house for a not-so-large apartment and/or commute a little bit. Cambridge is gorgeous, particularly when it's not buried in 2 feet of snow. Public transportation can be frustrating at times, but for the most part user friendly. Boston is awesome; full of young intellectual people, very academic environment, tons to do.

6. Benefits: salary was about average, educational stipend was crazy good-- I think it was like $1,000 that you can spend on anything from a lap top to psychotherapy. Plenty of opportunities to moonlight because of light call schedule, and I think that their coverage depends on the willingness of the residents to pick up some easy money.

7. Program strengths: Very strong clinical training, diverse patient population, great PD, smart residents, friendly atmosphere, great location.

8. Potential weaknesses: fewer research opportunities. If you're looking for MGH-type research, look elsewhere. However, I would put their residents up against MGH's any day.
 
Jan 11, 2011
8
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Medical Student
NYU

1. interview accommodations/food: I don't think there was an interview dinner the night before.

2. interview day -- (e.g. schedule, interview types, unusual questions/experiences...etc. ): Started around 8 with breakfast of muffins, bagels, etc. Program director meets with applicants along with chiefs and any residents who pop in and say hi. Very friendly group of residents, who all seemed very happy there at NYU. There were the standard number of interviewers, and you met at least once with the PD or the associate PD by the end of the day.

3. Program overview: I honestly don't think that the clinical experience can be surpassed. You see everything here-- the rotations consist of Bellevue, Langone (insured pts), VA, etc. There is a lot of research going on here and a lot of opportunities for just about everything with the possible exception of eating disorders -- the caveat is that accessing these resources can be tricky, although they are trying to address that. All the residents seem to want to stay here, and I take that as a good sign.

4. Faculty: Huge body, lots of clinical and research interests. Very friendly, eager to teach, lots of supervision. Both the PD and associate PD are psychoanalysts, and so I don't think that psychotherapies are neglected at all.

5. Location, lifestyle: They work hard; probably harder than any other psych program in NYC as far as I can tell. How scary their schedule is remains to be determined but the residents state that they do have a life outside of the confines of the hospital. The travel between sites is both a strength and a weakness of the program: you end up getting a rich clinical experience at the expense of hiking between sites in freezing temperatures.

6. Benefits: Can't remember the salary, but I think it was close to $60,000. There is subsidized housing available, 4 weeks of vacation.

7. Program strengths: clinical experience that can't be beat with great faculty and very smart residents who seem happy to be there despite the rumor that they are worked to the bone. PD is wonderful, very responsive to resident feedback.

8. Potential weaknesses: not an ivory tower residency, as stated by the PD. The call schedule and intensity seems like it could be wearing at times; NYC is expensive, traveling between sites could be inconvenient at times. Also, I don't think there were many married couples with kids, so that may be a sign that this is not the greatest program to start a family with.
 
Jan 11, 2011
8
0
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Medical Student
Longwood

1. interview accommodations/food: resident dinner the night before, which was really nice.
2. interview day -- (e.g. schedule, interview types, unusual questions/experiences...etc. ): started around 8 or 9; coffee and muffins available at start, PD comes in and gives overview, then about 4 interviews. The program director is an analyst, and the applicant should note that he may ask questions that could be perceived as invasive/personal-- "tell me about your childhood, do you have a boy/girlfriend, what does he do, have you ever been in therapy..." so don't be taken aback by them. There are 2 more interviews with faculty and 1 interview with a resident.

3. Program overview: Big class size of about 15; the benefit being that there is plenty of coverage if you need a weekend off, the con being camaraderie among the residents may be a little difficult. Pretty standard in that there are 4 months of medicine (used to be 6), 2 neuro, and I think 6 of psych. They also have protected time like once a week to pursue a "scholarly activity" that is pretty flexible-- I believe the resident can make it what they want to.

I can't remember what the call schedule is; I think there is night float but I'd have to check their website. The residents say they work really hard but have plenty of time to enjoy all the benefits of Boston.

Lots of opportunities here in research; overall very strong program. As far as fellowships, the residents basically go wherever they want.

4. Faculty: Seemed great, lots of teaching going on, PD is very kind and very smart.

5. Location, lifestyle: Boston= expensive but fabulous place to live. Tons going on here, particularly if you can afford it. Several of the residents have had kids during their training and the program was accommodating.

6. Benefits: Standard salary; I do not believe there was any subsidized housing.

7. Program strengths: Location, Harvard resources, smart residents, great PD.

8. Potential weaknesses: large class size (also strength), reputation for being worked a lot.
 
Jan 11, 2011
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Brown: this was the surprise of the interview trail. I didn't expect to fall in love with this program, but left Providence feeling like I would love to match here.

1. interview accommodations/food: dinner evening before with residents. There are hotel rooms that are discounted, but I stayed with a friend.

2. interview day -- (e.g. schedule, interview types, unusual questions/experiences...etc. ): breakfast with presentation by chiefs about program. There is a van tour where the associate PD drives you to the different sites, you get out of the van to check out the facilities, which were very, very nice. Come back and there some more training stuff with the psychotherapy supervisor (a psychologist) and a researcher who tells you about the research opportunities available at Brown, which are very plentiful.

The interviews come later in the day, after you have lapsed into a food coma. I think there were about 4-5 interviews; met with both program directors, 2 faculty members, and a resident. I kept drinking soda to stay awake. Then there is a quick wrap-up and you go home. No surprise questions, all the standard ones.

3. Program overview: Fantastic program. Very light call schedule, and I don't think there is any "real call" first year. PGY2-4, also very light call, which means there are tons of moonlighting opportunities. One PGY4 told me he basically doubled his income moonlighting. Diversity of patient population is adequate; it's not NYC, but you still see plenty of psychopath.

There are several different clinical sites: Rhode Island Hospital, Butler, a children's hospital, the VA, etc., which leads to a rich clinical experience. They also have a very strong child fellowship.

The residents were very happy to be there and have loved their experience at Brown-- the general picture that I got is they were very smart but simultaneously very down to earth.

4. Faculty: per the residents are great and very supportive. They take over clinical duty during didactics and understand the importance of resident education.

5. Location, lifestyle: Providence is great. It's not Boston or NYC, but instead has it's own charm and life-- it's a city that is full of things to do, that's family-friendly, and that is full of drivers who will not try to kill you with their car if you try to cut them off.

6. Benefits: Standard salary that probably stretches further than Beantown or NY.

7. Program strengths: faculty, friendly happy residents, lots of opportunities clinically and in research.

8. Potential weaknesses: It's in Providence, which is not for everyone.
 

Cinnameg

"the psych machine"
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I'd like to know what other people thought of Penn. I didn't interview at a ton of other east coast programs and none in Philly other than Penn so perspective from someone in that area would be welcome. I'll post my review under a different screenname after I create a new account for this purpose (although Penn's will be a good review for sure). Thanks!
 
Jan 11, 2011
8
0
Status
Medical Student
Mt. Sinai (main program)

1. interview accommodations/food: resident dinner (in my case it was the night after the interview) at a resident's house.

2. interview day -- day starts around 8:45 with a continental breakfast with the PD's, Dr. Reider and Dr. Simon, who are very personable and interesting. They do a very broad overview of the program but don't go into specifics (i.e. how many months on x service) until the afternoon.

After this, you have 3 interviews, one with a PD and 2 with other faculty members. No questions out of left field, but they are really interested in who you are as a person. Each of the interviews are half an hour, but for 2 of them I wish they lasted longer because I enjoyed talking with the interviewer so much.

Afterwards there is the usual lunch with the residents. I wasn't totally sure how the residents were interacting with us or each other-- I had kind of a weird vibe about it, which I can't really explain. This feeling made me happy that I went to the dinner, because afterwards I felt better-- everyone was friendly and very collegial.

In the afternoon, after they feed you a huge lunch, you then sit back down with the PD's for a powerpoint presentation on the specifics of the program. As it has been noted in other reviews, they are really interested in helping you learn your place in psychiatry, to find your interest in a specialty/specific interest. As Dr. Reider said, "we want to prepare NYC psychiatrists."

Then there is the obligate tour, nothing special here. The hospital is beautiful and for the most part the wards are standard, although some are nicer than others.

3. Program overview: Great program, no secret here. Dr. Reider is a fantastic PD and Dr. Simon is great too. They seem genuinely interested in training the best psychiatrists they can. Good teaching. Lots of diversity here, particularly since the hospital is located between the Bronx and Manhattan. The difference in this program vs. others is that they really seem to stress specialization, and said that if you're the type of person who wants to sit back and have everything fed to you, then this may not be the best program.

4. Faculty: see above. Per the residents, the teaching is very good here.

5. Location, lifestyle, etc: The residents seem pretty rested and happy. I believe there is a night float system and I want to say that call seemed very reasonable. The program is very family friendly, and there are multiple couples with kids here. Subsidized housing is available with very reasonably priced housing and the apartments are quite spacious with great views. As far as location, it's in Manhattan, right next to Central Park.

6. Benefits: Pretty standard. The health insurance is great, and would cover a lot of psychotherapy expenses, moreso than other programs. Again, subsidized housing is available.

7. Program strengths: Great PD's, strong residents, faculty that teach, diverse patient population, great location, lots of oppportunities in almost every field that you can imagine. Fellowship match is excellent.

8. Potential weaknesses: no forensics fellowship and may be slightly weak in women's health. Expensive cost of living in Manhattan.
 

plickfu

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Accomm/Food: few cans of pineapple juice, mini muffins in the AM (not enough for the # of applicants, but a non-issue); great pizza for lunch with 4 or 5 residents. Stayed at home.

Day: Start with perfunctory powerpoint. Then 5 applicants + resident in resident's car to Olive View. I've lived in LA my whole life, in The Valley for last 10 years, and did not realize how far Olive View is. Basic tour, interview, back to the VA. 5 interviews total. Have to say this was my least favorite interview day. Interviews were hurried, questions were generic, score sheet on interviewers lap/desk; to be honest, they were quite stressful/impersonal considering number of IMGs/FMGs at this program (that is, it's not exactly competitive). Will echo titoincali that I did not connect with the PD either. He seemed to intimate that they get more applicants than positions and they will fill their spots no matter what because of the location, so do not seem to interested in recruiting outstanding applicants. Very disappointing.

Program: very VA heavy (obviosuly); work at lots of sites (VA, Olive View, UCLA, Cedars, local county clinic), which means great variety of pts/path, lots of driving. You can spin it however you want (oh, we go against traffic over the hill in the AM), but you will be sitting on the 405 a lot your first 2 years. Seemed like a good emphasis on psychotherapy, perhaps to compensate for heavy VA/County med mgmt. I suppose connection w NPI has benefits if you proactively pursue them.

Facutly: did not click w PD or APD. Residents mentioned they have great supervisors, esp for CBT and psychodynamic. One resident thought there was a lot of hand holding throughout, but another said you can just sort of hide away and get by all four years. I don't find either particularly appealing.

Location: it's LA, it's home, but definitely second worst of all the SoCal programs. Lots of driving as mentioned above, and the Valley, especially way up there, gets quite hot in the summer. I got the impression many residents live in the Westwood area.

Benefits/pay: standard for the area

Strengths: varied training sites, early OP and psychotherapy work, it's in LA, residents seemed happy

Weaknesses: VA heavy, lots of driving, probably least desirable program in LA (unsure how that affects fellowship prospects).
 

plickfu

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Accomm/Food: stayed at home, no breakfast, delicious sushi w residents for lunch

Day: applicants meet w Dept Chair first (he gave some very good ranking advice); interview w R4, C&A PD, PD. Lunch at sushi place w 3 residents (probably best lunch on the trail!). Tour of facilities. Very well organized.

Program: very strong academic county program, w fabulous psych ER. OP works starts in 2nd year w potential to follow pt for 3 yrs. Based primarily at Harbor, but opportunities to get away should you feel the need (NPI, Kaiser, etc). Very indigent-heavy, but opportunities to meet w private supervisors as well. Affiliated w UCLA, but not a lot of research. PD/residents take very seriously the mission of serving these patients. Call schedule seemed pretty unexciting; call rooms were surprisingly nice.

Faculty: residents spoke very highly of faculty

Location: people speak badly of Torrance, but it's not that bad. I grew up here, so I'm biased. It's no South Central or Compton. You can basically live anywhere in LA because of central location; residents live in Redondo, Manhattan, Westside, Downtown, Santa Monica, Long Beach. Weather is perfect every day of the year. Very diverse area with great food all around!

Pay: pretty standard

Strengths: strong county program from which you will come away prepared for anything (well, maybe not eating disorders, not exactly the peril of the poor!). Residents very happy; faculty very dedicated. Great location. Great patient diversity (demographically, pathologically).

Weaknesses: county work is not for everyone, and I imagine even if it is, 4 years here could be taxing. Also not the place for you if you plan to do extensive research (then again, if you are, you are probably gunning for NPI).
 

plickfu

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Accomm/Food: stayed at home (luckily day was pushed back an hour so I could drive down from LA); standard pastries for breakfast; lunch w residents (lots of residents!)

Day: chief's powerpoint (a little too long), then interviews w PD, C&A faculty, faculty, R4. Extensive tours of VA campus in La Jolla as well as Hillcrest campus w requisite stop to see the seals (nice touch, but kind of silly, nonetheless). But too much downtime for such a long day. PD kept checking on us throughout the day, as well as wrap-up w him at the end of the day. Dinner w residents after at Rock Bottom Brewery.

Program: incredibly solid program. Lots of opportunity for research. Very biologically oriented (obviously). Sounds like the 4th year is pretty tight in terms of schedule (not much room for electives). Need for a chief for every rotation also seemed kind of hectic. Also surprised to hear not as much experience with underserved/uninsured patients given it's only academic program in the area. Program seemed rigorous but laid back (if that makes sense). Residents were all incredibly happy. Lots of VA work. Strong substance abuse experiences. Access to inpatient eating disorders unit.

Faculty: PD is an amazing guy who genuinely cares about residents well-being. Lots of faculty have been at UCSD since med school (don't know if that's good or bad). Some residents intimated it was difficult to get good supervision.

Location: it's San Diego, which most people feel is the greatest place in the entire country. As a kid, whenever we went to SD, I thought it was really boring, not that that matters for residency. The La Jolla campus is beautiful. Great place to be. Close enough to LA so you don't get bored too often.

Pay: standard UC pay

Strengths: research, faculty, lots of fellowship opportunities, great location, happy residents

Weaknesses: more rigorous program than others in CA, potentially difficult to get good supervisors, relatively weak in psychotherapy, maybe too reliant on VA, San Diego can be kind of boring (for me, at least)
 

plickfu

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Accomm/Food: stayed at home (about an hour drive from LA), basic pastries for breakfast, lunch w residents (Panera - meh)

Day: basic intro w PD, dept chair, including discussion of core values (it's a Seventh Day Adventist hospital), as well as going around and each applicant offering what they contribute to the program (which sucks to have to do if you are the last one in the circle!) -- kind of awkward, really. Half of the applicants did tour then interview and vice versa. Facilities are fine. VA is pretty nice. Tour was pretty short for my group (have no idea why); we sat in a room for about 2 hours before lunch! Lunch w residents. Interviews w PD, R4, faculty, APD. Interviews are quite unique; basically, give an example of something that shows your character, etc. (very undergrad/med school application-like). Of course this is awkward, because who ever knows what to say in these instances.

Program: no big surprises here, standard 4 yr psych schedule; home call, if that matters to you, but you cover a lot of sites (VA, main hospital, OP clinic if necessary) To be honest, I did not get a good impression of the ins and outs of the program from the residents. Get to work at Patton (again, if that matters to you, I think that's pretty cool). Decent fellowship placement. Sounds like the program is very up front/embracing of its religious focus. Probably not the most diverse patient population.

Faculty: Seemed okay, I guess.

Location: Loma Linda/Redlands is probably the nicest place in one of the worst areas of CA (San Bernardino County). Very cheap to rent or buy. At least an hour from LA or San Diego if you want to get away. Close to the mountains for hiking/biking/skiing. To be fair, it is a "blue zone," and the average lifespan for people living in Loma Linda is higher than average. Perhaps 4 yrs of vegetarianism and abstinence from EtOH and tobacco will do anyone plenty good.

Pay: standard for SoCal, but goes much farther out here.

Strengths: main service center for a quite underserved area, if you are looking for training with their particular focus, definitely the place for you, PD is pretty nice; very low cost of living

Weaknesses: if you are unfamiliar with/put off by religious focus, should probably stay away; not the most desirable area of SoCal; residents did not seem incredibly happy (2 kept going on about how them had hope to match at UCI!)
 

plickfu

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Accomm/Food: pastries, lunch w residents, stayed at home

Day: 25 applicants! (they only interview 4 days every year), kind of overwhelming; another one of those go round and ask "why psychiatry?" As you can imagine, hard to be unique after 4-5 responses. Interviews then tour. First interview was with this year's PD (sounds like it changes frequently, will change next year, and could potentially change again, per the residents). Um, maybe he was preoccupied or something, because he spent a lot of the interview on a phone call, and basically kicked me out after a few minutes ("Happy holidays, take care"); I had about ten minutes before my next interview. Other 3 interviews (2 faculty, R3), were a lot of fun. Very warm, conversational, actually got a feel for the program. Lunch w residents, then question panel w residents. Sounds like there is a lot of fluctuation at USC, as some of the residents seemed quite unhappy about amount of changes, faculty/administration indifference. Tour of new LAC hospital.

Program: regardless of the adjectives you use to describe the program, this is definitely a program in flux. The dept chairs are a great couple who are trying to beef up the program's research credentials. However, IMO, this is at the expense of providing for the patients LAC serves (namely, indigent). One of the residents mentioned that if the chairs had their way, residents would only rotate at the private University Hospital. Despite this, you will get plenty of exposure to an incredible range of patients and pathologies. No inpatient unit on site. Some strong fellowship opportunities (forensics, namely).

Faculty: see above; PD seem to come and go here, at least for the past few years. Do not know how/if this will change in the future.

Location: Much like Harbor, people really misrepresent the area around LAC/USC. No, it's not Santa Monica or Beverly Hills, but this part of downtown has quite a bit of charm, culture and incredible food (!). The new LAC hospital is an amazing facility (even if there are fewer beds, but that's for another thread). Again, due to central location, easy to live just about anywhere in LA.

Pay: seemed a little less than other programs in the area; maybe some added benefits from being an employee of LA County (days off, etc)

Strengths: super diverse patient population, potential for research, great fellowship connections, LA

Weaknesses: lots of change among administration, no inpatient unit, some very unhappy residents (some very happy ones, too, BTW)
 

plickfu

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Accomm/Food: stayed at home; muffins in AM, Subway lunch w residents

Day: Greeting from PD; interview w PD, APD, lunch w residents. Lots of residents showed up for lunch, which is impressive for a relatively small program. 2 more interviews (chief, faculty); tour; tea w PD during wrap up.

Program: surprised it hasn't been mentioned on the forum yet, but lots of changes at Cedars. They gave up their LPS status (meaning they are unable to involuntarily admit patients), closed half of their IP beds, and are reducing intern class by one resident. PD believes this will encourage residents to become more persuasive. So far, seems like this has increased number of substance abuse admissions. They are looking into to adding an IP experience w LPS designation in the future. I had heard along the trail that residents at Cedars were quite unhappy, however I did not find this to be the case. You will definitely work hard here, but it's not like a New England program or anything. Relatively weak research, but they may be trying to beef this up. Of note, I did not really get a good idea of the program's focus from faculty or residents. Not surprisingly, not the most diverse patient population here.

Faculty: PD is an interesting guy; got very mixed messages about faculty from residents -- some say they are indifferent, hard to access, but others spoke very highly of them.

Location: In the heart of LA. Very nice area/hospital. If you are into this part of the LA scene you see on TMX, you will probably love it here.

Pay: standard for the area

Strengths: location, decent addicition medicine exposures

Weaknesses: no training (currently) with involuntarily admitting patients, relatively homogeneous patient population (esp considering it's LA)
 

plickfu

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Accomm/Food: stayed at some hotel I found on hotels.com; dinner with a few residents night before; fruit/Cliff bars to snack on; lunch w resident (as in one, see below...)

Day: started at 8 (too early!); obligatory chief resident PPT; faculty/APD/dept chair greeting; interview APD (who will be taking over as PD next year), faculty, chief, faculty. Lunch w a single resident (kind of red flag for a supposedly relaxed program w 32 residents). I should mention that, despite being told about how awesome the new cafeteria is, this lunch (catered by said cafeteria) was the worst on the interview trail by far. Kind of a bummer way to end my intervew season. Anyway...after lunch, another breakout session w faculty/APD, then other assoc faculty met with us for a few minutes. The day was starting to draw on a little at this point...then the tour. Tour of brand new facilities, IP unit (a county dept across the street). Wrap-up w APD, then done...finally!

Program: I will be frank and say Davis is one of the strongest programs in the state; maybe even the strongest were it not in Sacramento. Ample opportunities for research (meaningful, applicable research at that). Plenty of elective opportunities, and access to excellent supervisors. The IP unit is a county facility, and you also rotate at Sac County prison. Dept chair is a big cheese at APPI as well as the Sacramento County Dept of Health. Sounds like good variety of training sites/demographics. Cannot comment on residents' contentedness as we only met one resident. Obviously very strong in forensics and child. Also, if you are interested in clinical psych, this is one of the few places in the country where you will get relevant training, and you will be working with the leading figure in the field. Residents apparently do very well on the Columbia Psychodynamic exam, but I heard through the grapevine that they are basically taught towards the exam and it is not reflective of actual training/competencies. Again, I did not meet any residents or the psychodynamic supervisor, so I cannot comment on this. Also, I got the impression from faculty interviews that, despite access to prominent well-connected faculty and proximity to the state capital, residents are not particularly involved in public policy, public mental health, etc (I was surprised by this).

Faculty: quite a who's who at Davis. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on residents' impressions of their affiliation with these faculty.

Location: the Achilles heel (sorry locals, I'm an LA elitist snob); even driving around the night before and evening after my interview day, Sacramento is not the place for me at all. Conversely, if you are looking for more of a small town feel with an incredibly low cost of living in CA, this may be the place for you. The new hospital is quite nice.

Pay: standard UC pay (you get a bunch of APPI books every year)

Strengths: ample research, amazing faculty, low cost of living (for CA), excellent fellowship opportunities, potential connections to county/state governmental bodies; very diverse pt populations

Weaknesses: location location location; did not meet very many residents
 

plickfu

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Accomm/Food: stayed w family; no breakfast (coordinator bought me coffee at the cafeteria, which I greatly appreciated), lovely lunch w 2 residents at a little restaurant of Fillmore

Day: brief overview w coordinator, interview w faculty, resident, grand rounds (very interesting), lunch w 2 residents on Fillmore, interview w faculty, PD. Very well organized, parking was relatively pain free (I'm not particularly familiar w SF, but instructions were good).

Program: feel free to browse my previous threads to gauge how curious I was about CPMC. Very solid community program in SF. Strong psychodynamic component (one of the few in CA). Also a very small program (4 residents/yr), but does not seem to be a problem in terms of call, etc. Geri-psych unit closed a few years ago, but that does not seem to have taken away from residents' learning. Lots of psychotherapy training (w much reliance on psychologists in the OP clinic). Incredibly diverse patient populations (surprising for a small private hospital in this part of SF). Sounds like research is available, but not a strong suit. Residents spoke very highly of their OP experiences (adult and child). Some IM and Neuro rotations are across the bay in Oakland (FWIW). Sounds like residents work harder than other programs in CA (not a bad thing, IMO). The residents I met with seemed quite happy.

Faculty: residents spoke very highly of the faculty. Great supervisors for psychotherapy (esp psychodynamic). PD seems very open to residents' concerns.

Location: come on, it's San Francisco. There's a reason it costs so much to live here. It's the lifestyle! To be fair, you will have a great lifestyle at just about any program in CA. The hospital is in one of the most expensive parts of the city, which definitely contributes to the patient makeup of some services. The hospital itself is relatively bland, architecture-wise. The IP unit and OP clinic are across the street (with much more interesting architecture, IMO).

Pay: higher than CA average, but not quite enough to compensate for cost of housing in the city (and no housing bonus). Some of the residents mentioned the benefits are good.

Strengths: location, strong community program, diverse pt population, dedicated faculty, very strong fellowship placement (for a non-academic program), committed PD, strong psychodynamic emphasis

Weaknesses: small class size may place strains if someone gets sick, etc.; no medical school affiliation (less opportunities for teaching); high cost of living in SF; less opportunities for research than that other place
 

Jack Napier

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Seems like everyone I've run into on the trail loved Brown...:(

Brown: this was the surprise of the interview trail. I didn't expect to fall in love with this program, but left Providence feeling like I would love to match here.

1. interview accommodations/food: dinner evening before with residents. There are hotel rooms that are discounted, but I stayed with a friend.

2. interview day -- (e.g. schedule, interview types, unusual questions/experiences...etc. ): breakfast with presentation by chiefs about program. There is a van tour where the associate PD drives you to the different sites, you get out of the van to check out the facilities, which were very, very nice. Come back and there some more training stuff with the psychotherapy supervisor (a psychologist) and a researcher who tells you about the research opportunities available at Brown, which are very plentiful.

The interviews come later in the day, after you have lapsed into a food coma. I think there were about 4-5 interviews; met with both program directors, 2 faculty members, and a resident. I kept drinking soda to stay awake. Then there is a quick wrap-up and you go home. No surprise questions, all the standard ones.

3. Program overview: Fantastic program. Very light call schedule, and I don't think there is any "real call" first year. PGY2-4, also very light call, which means there are tons of moonlighting opportunities. One PGY4 told me he basically doubled his income moonlighting. Diversity of patient population is adequate; it's not NYC, but you still see plenty of psychopath.

There are several different clinical sites: Rhode Island Hospital, Butler, a children's hospital, the VA, etc., which leads to a rich clinical experience. They also have a very strong child fellowship.

The residents were very happy to be there and have loved their experience at Brown-- the general picture that I got is they were very smart but simultaneously very down to earth.

4. Faculty: per the residents are great and very supportive. They take over clinical duty during didactics and understand the importance of resident education.

5. Location, lifestyle: Providence is great. It's not Boston or NYC, but instead has it's own charm and life-- it's a city that is full of things to do, that's family-friendly, and that is full of drivers who will not try to kill you with their car if you try to cut them off.

6. Benefits: Standard salary that probably stretches further than Beantown or NY.

7. Program strengths: faculty, friendly happy residents, lots of opportunities clinically and in research.

8. Potential weaknesses: It's in Providence, which is not for everyone.
 

RedPakotaSea

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Here are notes from my first interview...I got lazy after that so this is my only review that's reasonably complete. I thought I'd share it anyway.

University of Michigan
Interview day: Spent ½ day touring main hospital and VA (very thorough tour), followed by lunch and ½ day of interviews (met with PD, one chief, and two clinical attendings for 30 minutes each). Interviews were informal and low stress. PD seems invested in the program, and seems to be positively received. Great resident attendance at pre-interview dinner.

General: Very collegial atmosphere, residents seemed genuinely happy. Residents and PD emphasized the flexibility of the training. Unique clinical scholars track for those interested in academic educator work. Involvement in Academy of Academic Psychiatry. Also, opportunity to join research track (extra year) after enrolling in residency. Plenty of research opportunities. Excellent clinical psychology department and school of public health - collaboration encouraged for those involved in clinical research.

Clinical training: Rotations are changing with the new requirements. This will result in less call for PGY-1s, and increased interaction between PGY-1 &2s, which could be seen as a positive. Call schedule seemed very reasonable. I think there will be 3 months night float over the first two years. Psych ER months were cited as a favorite by a number of residents – very busy, but great opportunity to practice clinical decision making, efficient team with SWs doing preliminary interviews. I came in with the impression that psychotherapy training wasn’t up to par, but it seems that’s not true. The residents get broad exposure (CBT, DBT, IPT, and psychodynamic therapy), primarily in PGY-3 and 4 years. Family therapy is “available.”

Location: Ann Arbor is a beautiful town.

Overall, Michigan seems to be a program that opens all the doors, but there is not the competitiveness of some other top programs. My impression is that the program provides excellent training, though it may not have the same name recognition as some other programs for whatever that's worth (...not much). They seem to attract applicants from the same pool as the top NE and west coast programs, and therefore, they probably go slightly deeper into their rank list because of it.
 
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Sorry to digress a tad, does anyone have UCSD's call schedule/nightfloat handy? I couldn't seem to find it on the website.
 

plickfu

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Sorry to digress a tad, does anyone have UCSD's call schedule/nightfloat handy? I couldn't seem to find it on the website.
They may not have finalized the new call/night float schedule yet given the new duty hours requirements July 1. At the end of November when I interviewed, they had not come up with exactly how they were going to tackle the new regulations. It can't hurt to send a quick e-mail to the coordinator -- she's great.
 
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They may not have finalized the new call/night float schedule yet given the new duty hours requirements July 1. At the end of November when I interviewed, they had not come up with exactly how they were going to tackle the new regulations. It can't hurt to send a quick e-mail to the coordinator -- she's great.
I thought the duty hours thing was only going to impact intern year...Thought the presentation they gave included call schedules though they did mention some potential changes??
 

notdeadyet

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I thought the duty hours thing was only going to impact intern year...Thought the presentation they gave included call schedules though they did mention some potential changes??
Interns can no longer work more than 16 hours and no overnight home call. Most programs I talked to are restructuring the call schedule for PGY-1 and PGY-2. Some are making changes to PGY-3. Most seem dead set against touching PGY-4.
 

nitemagi

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Sorry to digress a tad, does anyone have UCSD's call schedule/nightfloat handy? I couldn't seem to find it on the website.
I'm one of the UCSD chiefs.

It's still in flux. As said, regardless interns won't be doing overnight call, and probably won't be on a nightfloat at this point. PGY2-3 may end up doing a bit more call, though ideally not too much more than they do now. Likely interns will stay until 11pm, possibly q6-7.
 

Cinnameg

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I'm one of the UCSD chiefs.

It's still in flux. As said, regardless interns won't be doing overnight call, and probably won't be on a nightfloat at this point. PGY2-3 may end up doing a bit more call, though ideally not too much more than they do now. Likely interns will stay until 11pm, possibly q6-7.
Is your avatar a clue as to which chief you are? Wikipedia has many interesting things to say about Gonzo, including: "Gonzo is friend to all chickens and the Muppet Show's recognized expert on the species," "Gonzo often complained about the people who did not appreciate his 'art'," "he has referred to himself as a 'whatever', resigned to ignorance of his actual species," "Gonzo is known for his wild-eyed, optimistic attitude," and "in one episode, he dreams that he is an anteater." Veeerrrrry interesting stuff here, nitemagi. :nod: But you probably chose him because he's the intellectual muppet?
 

235750

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Thank you for everyone posting their experiences! This yearly thread is one of the most helpful parts of SDN
 

nitemagi

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Is your avatar a clue as to which chief you are? Wikipedia has many interesting things to say about Gonzo, including: "Gonzo is friend to all chickens and the Muppet Show's recognized expert on the species," "Gonzo often complained about the people who did not appreciate his 'art'," "he has referred to himself as a 'whatever', resigned to ignorance of his actual species," "Gonzo is known for his wild-eyed, optimistic attitude," and "in one episode, he dreams that he is an anteater." Veeerrrrry interesting stuff here, nitemagi. :nod: But you probably chose him because he's the intellectual muppet?
If you dig around on sdn you can figure out which one I am.