One DO applicant's experience applying to orthopaedic surgery (still helpful for other competitive stuff)

DNC127

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I applied and matched orthopaedic surgery, but I think info like this can be helpful to other competitive stuff.

I promised a write up in the match thread, and here is my attempt to provide information I think is valuable. Stuff said here is mostly just my opinion and what I noticed from my experience plus having a pretty wide network among DO ortho applicants due to serving on national student ortho boards.

As a pre-med student I always wished medical students would come back and talk to us and give honest advice and numbers, and they never did. Unfortunately, the same can be said for those who match... they frequently ride into the sunset and are still vague about their stats and experiences and the rest of us are left with vague rumors and anecdotes from their friends who say they "think" that they must have had 260+ just because they had great success but we never actually get the full story.

This is my attempt to give y'all my full story because 1. I wish more people had done this so I could have gauged my own chances, and 2. with the merger and COVID it is a weird time to apply to residency and y'all might have to be even more selective about where you rotate and apply. This is not a meant to be a braggy post, and I am keeping it real in here even though I am somewhat embarrassed of my scores and rank and such so if you think this post is stupid just move on because it will be valuable to some people.



Stats:
USMLE Step 1: 237
USMLE Step 2: 241
Comlex 1: 634
Comlex 2: 650
Comlex PE: First time pass
GPA ~ 3.7
Rank: 41/110
Publications: 32 (all during med school, all original research, no case reports)
Presentations: 30+
Letters: One from home PD, one from chair of top 5 MD ortho program, one from a attending at my home program, and one from my research mentor.
Bench Max: ~20 pushups lol
Leadership: Multiple national and school ortho leadership positions held.

Applications:
Number of DO ortho auditions: 3 months
Number of MD ortho auditions: 1 month (mayo rochester)
Number of DO ortho programs applied to: ~30
Number of MD ortho programs applied to: ~140

Interviews:
Number of DO ortho interviews: 8 (6 attended)
Number of MD ortho interviews: 4 (Locations: Harvard/Mass Gen, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Univ. Buffalo, MSU Ascension
MD wait lists for interview: 3 (Oregon health science, St. Lukes, U. Kentucky)


So the elephant in the room is obviously my average scores combined with pretty crazy research numbers. However, something that people often down play the importance of is letters of recommendation. It was disclosed to me during other interviews that my letter from my home PD was one of the most positive letters multiple programs had ever seen, and disclosed where I would be ranked. I was told my letter from Mayo was "glowing", and my other 2 were also extremely extremely strong. I don't know anything else about them other than what programs told me so, kind of here-say on this one.

MD side commentary:
So, despite having (reportedly) killer letters, averaging almost 1 publication per month in medical school, excessive leadership etc. I only received 4 MD interview invites out of almost 150 applications. This to me honestly was slightly surprising, because I thought I would get a look from a few of the 6 year research programs (no offers from them). But, I understand my boards are lower and not being above 240 on USMLE 1 likely cost me a couple, and had I been above 250 I probably would have gotten a few more. However, most DO applicants I know with 240/250+ that applied to 100+ MD programs still only had 1-4 MD interviews so I basically got the same amount as them. I would have been a perfect case study for how far a DO could go if I was smarter (sorry fam lol). The DO that fared the best on the MD side that I know of did 6 MD auditions, had very high scores, met diversity inclusion, and got 4 non-rotator auditions from MD programs. So basically, if you are a DO with a good app you will likely get 0-5 MD non-rotator interviews. HOWEVER, my application is actually an amazing case study for the ceiling of DOs in ortho AFTER USMLE becomes pass fail. Once this metric is gone, I suspect DOs will fare worse on the MD side of things, and even with an extremely well rounded app they will probably only get around the same amount of interviews as me. Another important point is that this year DOs FLOCKED to programs that had taken DOs before. I know of AT LEAST 8 DOs that rotated at Mayo Rochester this year (nearly 15-20% of total rotators) and mayo usually takes mostly rotators and NONE of them matched at Mayo. The ones I personally know all put Mayo #1 besides me. So, if you are rotating MD, I would actually think outside the box and rotate somewhere without a DO so that you aren't competing in a flooded DO market. Also, in the upcoming COVID year I would suspect DOs will fare worse in the non-rotator aspect because MD programs will sending these interviews to MD applicants as their rotator pool will not be as robust. Just my suspicion. I did have pretty positive feedback from 2 of the MD programs and suspect I would have matched there if I put them above where I matched, so matching MD can be done and a good number of people did it this year.

DO side commentary:
I was even more surprised at how much the DO programs cared about my letters and research than that the MD programs didn't seem to care about it at all. In the DO world, prior charting outcomes basically said 5 interviews was the magic number. So basically, if you go on all your 5-6 audition rotations do well and get interviews at all of them then your odds will be pretty good. I only did 3 months of DO auditions, because my last 2 gave me really good feedback and I just felt like my odds were good so I pulled back. I also, did not get an interview at one of the programs I rotated at. So 6 of the 8 DO interviews I got were non-rotator interviews. I did not expect this, and I did not think DO programs would care about research but they did, A LOT. If you are a DO with good ortho research, it will carry you far. Same goes for ENT, my best friend had a similar number non-rotator interviews in the DO world (12ish pubs) despite similar average scores. Including the 2 programs I rotated at that gave me good feedback, I had 4 non-rotator programs that gave me VERY reassuring PIC, mostly citing my letters and that those combined with my interview really set me apart. I did the White Coat Coaching interview training and felt like I crushed my interviews thanks to this so definitely check it out (Not affiliated with them at all just really appreciate their work). However, the other people I know that faired EXTREMELY well on the DO side were those with insane board scores. The DO world still LOVES board scores and they can take you very far IF you are also a cool person and easy to work with. However, my experience shows you can have a great application season despite having average board scores if you have other aces up your sleeve such as letters or research. Another ace I had up my sleeve is that I went to didactics and fracture conference from my first semester of medical school until even this last semester at my home program. This was a huge advantage because I really didn't study a whole lot of "basic" ortho stuff throughout auditions and was able to focus more on the cases and such because I wasn't busy memorizing fracture classifications because I was pimped on them and committed them to memory as a first year. I do feel like my knowledge really helped me relax on auditions, and I didn't feel stressed at all.

Overall:
I fell VERY blessed to have ended up where I did and it was where I wanted to end up from day 1 of medical school really. I worked my balls off for the spot I got for all 4 years of medical school and it ended up working out in the end. I matched at a formerly AOA program (by choice) despite feeling confident I could have matched MD due to the post interview feedback I received. Main considerations I had for not going MD was 1. location (didn't like any of the MD locations I interviewed at) 2. My wife and her ties to the city we matched in 3. Wanting to be at a program that felt like family (both mayo and harvard have 13 and 12 residents in EACH class, and I really didn't like this when I was at Mayo), and where all the residents were extremely tight. 4. operative volume and 5. housing market and availability to afford a house that would fit my family comfortably.

Recommended resources for ortho:
Pocket pimped (I made this into an anki deck and that helped me study it)
White coat coaching videos and interview prep
Orthobullets anatomy questions
Talking to people who want to be a mentor and pick their brain.

If any of you have ANY other questions please ask. I really enjoy trying to help others out, and just thought I would try and pass this information along. As stated above, this post was not meant to be braggy, just very matter of fact. It is tough for me to post publicly that my stats and ranked were meh (for ortho), and I always played this card close to my chest as many classmates (who know who I am on here) assumed I was much higher. Many people on here know who I am in real life, so posting this information for sure stings my pride but I have matched and it doesn't matter anyways and I hope others in medicine will follow suit with candid information because it can help set expectations and goals for future applicants.

I hope this helps someone in the future, because if I had read a post like this last year I would have for sure altered my strategy a little bit. Seeing this post would have also eased my mind because I literally had nightmares that my board score would hold me back from ortho the second I saw my USMLE and class rank at the end of 2nd year, but I stuck with it and it turned out AMAZING so if you are an aspiring ortho bro / girl bro just know that hard work and dedication can carry you very far.
 
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JennyLaw

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How the actual sandwich f**k did you manage to publish that much original research?
 
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NurWollen

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As a soon-to-be residency graduate main question is, how did you get so many publications? Like, those are insane numbers. The most published attendings at my ACGME (not ortho lol) residency program barely have those numbers. You gotta give us some context.

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How the actual sandwich f**k did you manage to publish that much original research?

He's a freaking rock star. Sometimes I search @DNC127's name on pubmed just to laugh at how lazy I am by comparison.
 
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JennyLaw

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I only know one person who’s published that much, but the “research” is pretty much BS. Questionable subjects published in questionable journals, half of it not peer reviewed.

Real research that real journals publish takes actual time - and this dude is saying not a single one is a case report.

Unless you’re a member of an extremely high-output research team (which as a DO is highly unlikely and requires personal connections), that’s far beyond being a rockstar.
 
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DrRedstone

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I only know one person who’s published that much, but the “research” is pretty much BS. Questionable subjects published in questionable journals, half of it not peer reviewed.

Real research that real journals publish takes actual time - and this dude is saying not a single one is a case report.

Unless you’re a member of an extremely high-output research team (which as a DO is highly unlikely and requires personal connections), that’s far beyond being a rockstar.
I'll vouch for the research, none of it is in predatory journals. Most of it is in high h5 index journals. All of it peer reviewed.

(It was at that moment DrRedstone realized he might be a bit of a fan boy.)
 
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JennyLaw

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I'll vouch for the research, none of it is in predatory journals. Most of it is in high h5 index journals. All of it peer reviewed.

I for one still eagerly await an explanation as to how he/she managed to accomplish this.

High impact journals, especially in a field like surgery, are no joke. The idea that a med student at a DO school could outcompete dedicated surgical research teams, 30+ times in 4 years, without any case reports or low impact journals is...less than believable.
 
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DrRedstone

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I for one still eagerly await an explanation as to how he/she managed to accomplish this.

High impact journals, especially in a field like surgery, are no joke. The idea that a med student at a DO school could outcompete dedicated surgical research teams, 30+ times in 4 years, without any case reports or low impact journals is...less than believable.

For funsies. Not sure about the missing citations. Sorry for censoring, but I don't want anything identifiable. (I guess that may make you think I searched something random. Such is life.)

Screenshot_20200512-005657~3.png
 

AlteredScale

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How in the world did you land land 32 publications? We’re these supplemental abstracts or full manuscripts? What sorts of journals were you publishing in and who was your research mentor to guide you through so many publications?


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AlteredScale

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I only know one person who’s published that much, but the “research” is pretty much BS. Questionable subjects published in questionable journals, half of it not peer reviewed.

Real research that real journals publish takes actual time - and this dude is saying not a single one is a case report.

Unless you’re a member of an extremely high-output research team (which as a DO is highly unlikely and requires personal connections), that’s far beyond being a rockstar.

Honestly, with 32 publications I would start expecting some early investigator NIH awards or other extramural funding as well.
 
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FistLength

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I applied and matched orthopaedic surgery, but I think info like this can be helpful to other competitive stuff.

I promised a write up in the match thread, and here is my attempt to provide information I think is valuable. Stuff said here is mostly just my opinion and what I noticed from my experience plus having a pretty wide network among DO ortho applicants due to serving on national student ortho boards.

As a pre-med student I always wished medical students would come back and talk to us and give honest advice and numbers, and they never did. Unfortunately, the same can be said for those who match... they frequently ride into the sunset and are still vague about their stats and experiences and the rest of us are left with vague rumors and anecdotes from their friends who say they "think" that they must have had 260+ just because they had great success but we never actually get the full story.

This is my attempt to give y'all my full story because 1. I wish more people had done this so I could have gauged my own chances, and 2. with the merger and COVID it is a weird time to apply to residency and y'all might have to be even more selective about where you rotate and apply. This is not a meant to be a braggy post, and I am keeping it real in here even though I am somewhat embarrassed of my scores and rank and such so if you think this post is stupid just move on because it will be valuable to some people.



Stats:
USMLE Step 1: 237
USMLE Step 2: 241
Comlex 1: 634
Comlex 2: 650
Comlex PE: First time pass
GPA ~ 3.7
Rank: 41/110
Publications: 32 (all during med school, all original research, no case reports)
Presentations: 30+
Letters: One from home PD, one from chair of top 5 MD ortho program, one from a attending at my home program, and one from my research mentor.
Bench Max: ~20 pushups lol
Leadership: Multiple national and school ortho leadership positions held.

Applications:
Number of DO ortho auditions: 3 months
Number of MD ortho auditions: 1 month (mayo rochester)
Number of DO ortho programs applied to: ~30
Number of MD ortho programs applied to: ~140

Interviews:
Number of DO ortho interviews: 8 (6 attended)
Number of MD ortho interviews: 4 (Locations: Harvard/Mass Gen, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Univ. Buffalo, MSU Ascension
MD wait lists for interview: 3 (Oregon health science, St. Lukes, U. Kentucky)


So the elephant in the room is obviously my average scores combined with pretty crazy research numbers. However, something that people often down play the importance of is letters of recommendation. It was disclosed to me during other interviews that my letter from my home PD was one of the most positive letters multiple programs had ever seen, and disclosed where I would be ranked. I was told my letter from Mayo was "glowing", and my other 2 were also extremely extremely strong. I don't know anything else about them other than what programs told me so, kind of here-say on this one.

MD side commentary:
So, despite having (reportedly) killer letters, averaging almost 1 publication per month in medical school, excessive leadership etc. I only received 4 MD interview invites out of almost 150 applications. This to me honestly was slightly surprising, because I thought I would get a look from a few of the 6 year research programs (no offers from them). But, I understand my boards are lower and not being above 240 on USMLE 1 likely cost me a couple, and had I been above 250 I probably would have gotten a few more. However, most DO applicants I know with 240/250+ that applied to 100+ MD programs still only had 1-4 MD interviews so I basically got the same amount as them. I would have been a perfect case study for how far a DO could go if I was smarter (sorry fam lol). The DO that fared the best on the MD side that I know of did 6 MD auditions, had very high scores, met diversity inclusion, and got 4 non-rotator auditions from MD programs. So basically, if you are a DO with a good app you will likely get 0-5 MD non-rotator interviews. HOWEVER, my application is actually an amazing case study for the ceiling of DOs in ortho AFTER USMLE becomes pass fail. Once this metric is gone, I suspect DOs will fare worse on the MD side of things, and even with an extremely well rounded app they will probably only get around the same amount of interviews as me. Another important point is that this year DOs FLOCKED to programs that had taken DOs before. I know of AT LEAST 8 DOs that rotated at Mayo Rochester this year (nearly 15-20% of total rotators) and mayo usually takes mostly rotators and NONE of them matched at Mayo. The ones I personally know all put Mayo #1 besides me. So, if you are rotating MD, I would actually think outside the box and rotate somewhere without a DO so that you aren't competing in a flooded DO market. Also, in the upcoming COVID year I would suspect DOs will fare worse in the non-rotator aspect because MD programs will sending these interviews to MD applicants as their rotator pool will not be as robust. Just my suspicion. I did have pretty positive feedback from 2 of the MD programs and suspect I would have matched there if I put them above where I matched, so matching MD can be done and a good number of people did it this year.

DO side commentary:
I was even more surprised at how much the DO programs cared about my letters and research than that the MD programs didn't seem to care about it at all. In the DO world, prior charting outcomes basically said 5 interviews was the magic number. So basically, if you go on all your 5-6 audition rotations do well and get interviews at all of them then your odds will be pretty good. I only did 3 months of DO auditions, because my last 2 gave me really good feedback and I just felt like my odds were good so I pulled back. I also, did not get an interview at one of the programs I rotated at. So 6 of the 8 DO interviews I got were non-rotator interviews. I did not expect this, and I did not think DO programs would care about research but they did, A LOT. If you are a DO with good ortho research, it will carry you far. Same goes for ENT, my best friend had a similar number non-rotator interviews in the DO world (12ish pubs) despite similar average scores. Including the 2 programs I rotated at that gave me good feedback, I had 4 non-rotator programs that gave me VERY reassuring PIC, mostly citing my letters and that those combined with my interview really set me apart. I did the White Coat Coaching interview training and felt like I crushed my interviews thanks to this so definitely check it out (Not affiliated with them at all just really appreciate their work). However, the other people I know that faired EXTREMELY well on the DO side were those with insane board scores. The DO world still LOVES board scores and they can take you very far IF you are also a cool person and easy to work with. However, my experience shows you can have a great application season despite having average board scores if you have other aces up your sleeve such as letters or research. Another ace I had up my sleeve is that I went to didactics and fracture conference from my first semester of medical school until even this last semester at my home program. This was a huge advantage because I really didn't study a whole lot of "basic" ortho stuff throughout auditions and was able to focus more on the cases and such because I wasn't busy memorizing fracture classifications because I was pimped on them and committed them to memory as a first year. I do feel like my knowledge really helped me relax on auditions, and I didn't feel stressed at all.

Overall:
I fell VERY blessed to have ended up where I did and it was where I wanted to end up from day 1 of medical school really. I worked my balls off for the spot I got for all 4 years of medical school and it ended up working out in the end. I matched at a formerly AOA program (by choice) despite feeling confident I could have matched MD due to the post interview feedback I received. Main considerations I had for not going MD was 1. location (didn't like any of the MD locations I interviewed at) 2. My wife and her ties to the city we matched in 3. Wanting to be at a program that felt like family (both mayo and harvard have 13 and 12 residents in EACH class, and I really didn't like this when I was at Mayo), and where all the residents were extremely tight. 4. operative volume and 5. housing market and availability to afford a house that would fit my family comfortably.

Recommended resources for ortho:
Pocket pimped (I made this into an anki deck and that helped me study it)
White coat coaching videos and interview prep
Orthobullets anatomy questions
Talking to people who want to be a mentor and pick their brain.

If any of you have ANY other questions please ask. I really enjoy trying to help others out, and just thought I would try and pass this information along. As stated above, this post was not meant to be braggy, just very matter of fact. It is tough for me to post publicly that my stats and ranked were meh (for ortho), and I always played this card close to my chest as many classmates (who know who I am on here) assumed I was much higher. Many people on here know who I am in real life, so posting this information for sure stings my pride but I have matched and it doesn't matter anyways and I hope others in medicine will follow suit with candid information because it can help set expectations and goals for future applicants.

I hope this helps someone in the future, because if I had read a post like this last year I would have for sure altered my strategy a little bit. Seeing this post would have also eased my mind because I literally had nightmares that my board score would hold me back from ortho the second I saw my USMLE and class rank at the end of 2nd year, but I stuck with it and it turned out AMAZING so if you are an aspiring ortho bro / girl bro just know that hard work and dedication can carry you very far.

Probably one of the best posts on SDN in a while. Your research stats are mind boggling, and you should share your regimen, how you came up with ideas or executed your PI's ideas, how you first started, scheduling for writing (did you make a writing schedule or whenever you had time), making one project and publishing multiple angles from 1 project, IRB, revisions after submission, collaboration (I imagine that a number of publications are first author, and others are collaboration - this is not a slight, that is what good researchers do), funding, etc. Most DO's don't have a clue about research or where to start, especially because we don't have mentorship in our schools. Please do consider a formal write up on this in a separate thread - others can also chime in on their lessons learned as well.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

I only know one person who’s published that much, but the “research” is pretty much BS. Questionable subjects published in questionable journals, half of it not peer reviewed.

Real research that real journals publish takes actual time - and this dude is saying not a single one is a case report.

Unless you’re a member of an extremely high-output research team (which as a DO is highly unlikely and requires personal connections), that’s far beyond being a rockstar.
High impact journals, especially in a field like surgery, are no joke. The idea that a med student at a DO school could outcompete dedicated surgical research teams, 30+ times in 4 years, without any case reports or low impact journals is...less than believable.
How in the world did you land land 32 publications? We’re these supplemental abstracts or full manuscripts? What sorts of journals were you publishing in and who was your research mentor to guide you through so many publications?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I can personally vouch for DNC. His research is very very real and there is no fluff.

The reason he has so many? The honest answer is a tiny bit of luck with finding a train of research that the journals really liked, an initial PI that gave him the tools to publish who then let him fly, ultimately followed by pure hard work. I NEVER saw him without multiple projects ongoing that he would follow through to the finish line and then start another handful. DNC is a finisher, pure and simple.

Hopefully DNC won’t care if I say a few journals, but think journals like JBJS, JAMA Plastics, etc. All h5 indexed and known by physicians in the respective field.
@AlteredScale

Edit: I will add that DNC is not the only student with significant amounts of publications out of our school. It’s the same team I’m on, and there are a number of applicants last year that applied with 10+ pubs, my year we have at least 5 students with 8+ pubs, etc. DNC just out worked the rest of the team.
 
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JennyLaw

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Still not buying it. “Luck” doesn’t get you 30 publications in high impact surgical journals in med school. That’s not “luck,” that’s what happens when you’re God and you decide to experience mortal life for a few years. I highly doubt many of you even got 5-10 publications in high impact journals. Even ONE publication in a journal like JAMA plastics is the centerpiece of a rockstar MD applicant’s ERAS app.

I want DNC himself to answer FistLength questions. If this is real then he’s about to make what is perhaps the most useful AMA the DO forum’s ever seen.
 

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I can personally vouch for DNC. His research is very very real and there is no fluff.

The reason he has so many? The honest answer is a tiny bit of luck with finding a train of research that the journals really liked, an initial PI that gave him the tools to publish who then let him fly, ultimately followed by pure hard work. I NEVER saw him without multiple projects ongoing that he would follow through to the finish line and then start another handful. DNC is a finisher, pure and simple.

Hopefully DNC won’t care if I say a few journals, but think journals like JBJS, JAMA Plastics, etc. All h5 indexed and known by physicians in the respective field.
@AlteredScale

Edit: I will add that DNC is not the only student with significant amounts of publications out of our school. It’s the same team I’m on, and there are a number of applicants last year that applied with 10+ pubs, my year we have at least 5 students with 8+ pubs, etc. DNC just out worked the rest of the team.
That's really amazing. And I absolutely believe you in regards to @DNC127 's work ethic and research. I am pretty floored by the productivity as you don't see that anywhere, MD or DO.
 
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SurgDoc95

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Being on the same research team, albeit at a much reduced capacity, the research team does in fact publish in the very top journals regularly. It's an absolute gold mine for DO students especially if you happen to go to that particular school. Now 30+ of them? He's just a driven freak of nature and it got him where he wanted and worked hard to be.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

I highly doubt many of you even got 5-10 publications in high impact journals. Even ONE publication in a journal like JAMA plastics is the centerpiece of a rockstar MD applicant’s ERAS app.

I personally have 8... and will likely apply to residency with 10+. I personally have a JAMA surgical sub pub, and another pub in the number one journal for that surgical sub-specialty (not a JAMA journal). I also have a first author pub in an H5 indexed journal in the specialty I'll be applying to and I'm not even a diehard research team member. Luck is what gave us the opportunity, hard work is what differentiates someone like me from DNC.
 
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slowthai

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One thing that I can't help but wonder is how DNC didn't get screened out at Harvard, or even any of the other MD places, for that matter. The common wisdom has always been that like 95% of places auto filter you based on the DO degree. It appears that you can bypass this screen if you're a straight killer like he is, but you have to have a major hook, like research off the charts, literally perfect step scores, patents, or whatever other crazy thing. It goes back to what Anatomy has always said about looking just as (really more) competitive as the average MD applicant on paper. This is just my guess though.
 
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LateNightChef

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One thing that I can't help but wonder is how DNC didn't get screened out at Harvard, or even any of the other MD places, for that matter. The common wisdom has always been that like 95% of places auto filter you based on the DO degree. It appears that you can bypass this screen if you're a straight killer like he is, but you have to have a major hook, like research off the charts, literally perfect step scores, patents, or whatever other crazy thing. It goes back to what Anatomy has always said about looking just as (really more) competitive as the average MD applicant on paper. This is just my guess though.
Also, it seems like some places might not as high of Step 1 cut-off, or a hard/set in stone cut-off, as we may think. You hear of 240 and 250 cut-offs, so wondering if the letters may have helped get that Harvard interview
 
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DNC127

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How the actual sandwich f**k did you manage to publish that much original research?

LOL

I will just post a list of the journals I have published in first so if thats all people care about they can read and move on , and then I will post my story below for those who want to read lol

Current number of publications 41 (also a number of these are accepted for publication and are in the copy edit process and should be published online or in print soon. (32 was when I applied in september). Also, 4 of these are abstract pubs and I finally got a case report this fall lol. So in total, 36 are full length original research.

Journals: The BMJ, JAMA, Journal of bone and Joint surgery (x3) (number 1 ortho journal in the world), Journal of the american academy of orthopaedic surgeons, orthopaedic journal of sports medicine, arthroscopy x2, Journal of arthroplasty, Injury (x2), JAMA-dermatology (x2), JAMA otoloryngology, Plastic reconstructive & aesthetic surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, annals of plastic surgery, international orthopaedics, pediatric otorhinolaryngology, among others these are the ones off the top of my head.

So, as AnatomyGrey said, lots of luck and hard word sprinkled with what I like to think of as divine intervention (you non-religious people can just call it more luck)

I picked my school (I got into like 10 DO schools) based on 2 things 1. They had their own ortho program and 2. there was this guy who supposedly let students do research and get publications.

However, I had ZERO research experience from undergrad so I knew it was going to be an uphill battle.

Early in my medical school career I talked to him (the PI) and was let on his "research team". He teaches medical students how to do research, and puts them on teams together to do these projects. He is an expert in methodological quality and really dives deep into evaluating the quality of published clinical research. Many of his projects are what you would call systematic reviews and met-analyses however they have their own twist to them. Journals LOVE his type of work. The pros to this type of research is 1. No IRB needed which saves a lot of time and 2. You can open a sweat shop and do the same project in multiple fields or sub-fields because it doesn't matter what specialty we are looking at the goal is still the same: to evaluate and report the quality of the work produced to ensure it is 1. reproducible 2. generalizable and 3. not fake findings lol.

So, he started me off on a team of medical students on a psychiatry study about October of my first year. I QUICKLY realized my work ethic was far superior to the others on my team and they would just slow me down. So, (without permission at the time lol) I broke off and took the methods and did my own studies on the same subject in Dermatology, ortho, and ENT. After I showed him my work he was amazed, and we developed a great relationship as I became my PIs work horse. This meant lots of 1 on 1 teaching and mentorship the other students did not get. For the rest of 1st year (from november on) I spent probably 2-3 hours a day minimum on research. How did those first 3 studies turn out? One was publish in JAMA - Dermatology, one in JAMA - Otolaryngology, and one in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (number 1 ortho journal in the world). This success resulted in more attention from my PI, and the rest is history.

Now, I had developed some really good research skills. It takes me about 2.5 hours to write an intro on any subject and 4 hours for a discussion. So, I could churn out papers almost as fast as I could come up with ideas for them. Many times me and one of my best friends (who matched ortho the year ahead of me) would just get ideas from reading literature in other specialties on similar methodological issues and say "hey, we can do that" and we would just do it. Summer of 1st year the pubs started rolling in, and I was at like 7 by the time 2nd year started and I just kept rolling with this because it became clear it was going to be something that could set me apart especially if I had good board scores. Also, because I came up with my own ideas and liked to work with minimal teammates I was first author on about 80% of the papers I was on. Of those original 7 pubs, 6 of them I was first author on.

Fast forward to just after second year. I just got my board scores back and was devastated because I worked so hard and my UWorlds said I would be 250+ and now I am wondering if I should switch specialties or apply to a backup. Right at this time the PD at my home program was changed to an MD who was much more academic, and had a vested interest in getting the program to do more research. He also had some clinical projects that had just been sitting, and some great ideas for clinical projects. He heard about me because I had been getting the residents on research projects for the last 2 years, asked for my help, and because of the training I had in other types of research I 1. Knew how to write scientific exceptionally well 2. knew what methodological safeguards were important for quality studies and 3. knew how to navigate the submission and revision process and he let me fly on a few clinical projects that are now published ( one of which in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery (a top orthopaedics journal). Also, I now (and then) wrote all of the IRBs for the ortho program. I found IRB's are nothing more than basically protocols, which I had already been making for my other studies. Writing an IRB due to my training was NBD at this point, and took me an afternoon (at most). Working with this PD brought a ton of life back into my research endeavors and now all 3rd year and 4th year I was working on clinical research and the methodologic research with my original PI. Furthermore, this PD had TONS of faith in me and really took me under his wing. He did a lot of things for me that boosted my confidence as a person and applicant to ortho. The letter he wrote me (I now have a copy of) was honestly probably the GOAT letter. Despite wanting me to stay, he still wrote me a letter than opened up many more doors for me and for that he has my upmost respect and loyalty. In all reality, my research skills were more than just a cool CV booster. They helped me create relationships with my home program that I otherwise would have never had and as a result I was very involved in ortho from my first year forward, but especially after the PD switch.

Now however, instead of being the work horse on every study I had a group of 1st and 2nd year I worked with who would do the heavy lifting and I would more or less act as a PI and guide the projects. This allowed me to really continue the original line of research while also being the heavy lifter for the clinical side of my research. These projects all turned out exceptionally well. I am now currently a clinical research heavy lifter and a methodlogical researc mentor if that makes any sense.

The next step in my research transformation is, because I have done so much, I now had the knowledge to lead studies. So, asked the PD about some issues in trauma surgery and we decided to do a full blown systematic review and meta-analysis about a certain subject. I did the protocol, data extraction, wrote the paper, did the stats, and did the revision for this. All on my own, and it was published in JAMA. The largest ortho systematic review ever to my knowledge (over 100+ studies included). I am currently the PI for multiple studies I am running regarding reverse total shoulders, that I anticipate to be published in very high journals.

Now, the interesting thing is my original 3 studies actually made me an expert in this certain type of methodological study and I am asked frequently to peer review for big journals on this subject. I have peer reviewed for the BMJ, New England Journal of Medicine, and many others. Most recently the BMJ (a top medical journal in the world) asked me to write an editorial to be published soon regarding this same issue that I started my first 3 studies on the first year of medical school. God is very good, and it has been crazy to see things come full circle.

I am going to put this in all caps because this is the reason why I have so many publications: THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF GETTING PUBLISHED IS 1. WRITING, ITS NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU FIND ITS ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE ABOUT IT 2. ANTICIPATION, YOU HAVE TO ANTICIPATE WHAT PEER REVIEWERS ARE GOING TO NAG YOU ABOUT AND ADDRESS THAT BEFORE YOU SUBMIT THIS STUDY (this only comes with experience), 3. YOU NEED A RECIPE FOR YOUR MANUSCRIPTS, DO THE SAME THING EVERY TIME. MY INTROS ALWAYS HAVE THESE 4 PARAGRAPHS (1. little bit of background 2. what others have found in other fields/studies. 3. what knowledge is missing 4. how we aim to address what is missing) DISCUSSIONS ARE ALMOST THE SAME (1. small summary of what we found 2. how our study fills in knowledge gaps 3. how our study compares to other studies 4. what are the clinical implications 5. what are ways we can change for better in the future 6. limitations 7. conclusion. DONE!!! I literally do that on every paper. BECAUSE I HAVE A SYSTEM AND STICK TO IT, I AM ABLE TO WORK EXTREMELY FAST AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT CITATIONS I NEED BEFORE I EVEN ATTEMPT TO WRITE THE PAPER BECAUSE I WRITE ALL MY PAPERS THE SAME. HOWEVER, THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF GETTING HEAVY PUBS IS NOT RELYING ON OTHER PEOPLE. YOU HAVE TO BE THE ONE WHO WANTS IT MORE THAN ANYONE, AND YOU CANNOT BE ABOVE DOING THE DIRTY WORK. I TELL MY YOUNGER STUDENTS "THE BEST WAY TO PUBLISH QUALITY AND PUBLISH FAST IS TO DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF. THE MORE HANDS YOU GET DIRTY THE LESS QUALITY THE WORK WILL HAVE AND THE LONGER IT WILL ACTUALLY TAKE".

I am happy to answer any questions about my work or give any advice needed, however, you are likely not going to have this degree of success unless you have a mentor like mine, which is why I feel very blessed to have went to the school I did.

I think its important to understand my success was due to 1. a high output mentor who taught me how to be high output myself. 2. A weird God given talent for writing (many studies accepted without revision) 3. A loving wife who let me do all this stuff without complaining about how hard I was working
 
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trident_gum

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@DNC127 I would love to read how to be involved in research and be productive as you if you do write up an AMA!
 
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@DNC127 I would love to read how to be involved in research and be productive as you if you do write up an AMA!

just posted above. I will do a full research write-up later on how to be successful. Above, is more of my story and less nuts and bolts.

but,

it all hinges on finding a good mentor that publishes a lot.
 
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trident_gum

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just posted above. I will do a full research write-up later on how to be successful. Above, is more of my story and less nuts and bolts.

but,

it all hinges on finding a good mentor that publishes a lot.

Thank you! You posted right before I posted my message haha. I look forward to your full write-up.
 

DNC127

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Still not buying it. “Luck” doesn’t get you 30 publications in high impact surgical journals in med school. That’s not “luck,” that’s what happens when you’re God and you decide to experience mortal life for a few years. I highly doubt many of you even got 5-10 publications in high impact journals. Even ONE publication in a journal like JAMA plastics is the centerpiece of a rockstar MD applicant’s ERAS app.

I want DNC himself to answer FistLength questions. If this is real then he’s about to make what is perhaps the most useful AMA the DO forum’s ever seen.

Posted my response.
 

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I'm also on the same research team. I think I had 11 publications when I applied. I have at least 5 more now. The research is well-designed. It is not clinical research which is why it can happen so quickly. The research mentor is Matt Vassar and you can search some of his work on Scholar or PubMed to get an idea of what he does. He's a big reason why I believe OSU is the best DO school out there. None of the other schools are pumping out med student authorships at this pace.
 
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AlteredScale

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just posted above. I will do a full research write-up later on how to be successful. Above, is more of my story and less nuts and bolts.

but,

it all hinges on finding a good mentor that publishes a lot.

huge huge point bolded above. this is a hard thing for DO students to find. no only intrinsically (most DO students don't want to do research) but also extrinsically (if you do, alot of DO schools just don't have the resources to assist in finding good research mentors and/or the research at the base school is meh at best with a lack of productivity in compared to MD institutions).

Congrats again @DNC127 on the stellar research performance! The big question is: what's the end goal? Are you trying to be a clinician-scientist? Do you have your own niche of research that you hope to fund through extramural grants? Or was publishing at this rate more for an ends to a mean of matching to the program you wanted and now you're done (which is absolutely the norm for most people in the DO med student world).
 
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DNC127

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Also, it seems like some places might not as high of Step 1 cut-off, or a hard/set in stone cut-off, as we may think. You hear of 240 and 250 cut-offs, so wondering if the letters may have helped get that Harvard interview

Harvard told me my PDs letter got me the interview. Buffalo and A couple DO programs said this as well.
 
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trident_gum

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LOL

I will just post a list of the journals I have published in first so if thats all people care about they can read and move on , and then I will post my story below for those who want to read lol

Current number of publications 41 (also a number of these are accepted for publication and are in the copy edit process and should be published online or in print soon. (32 was when I applied in september)

Journals: The BMJ, JAMA, Journal of bone and Joint surgery (x3) (number 1 ortho journal in the world), Journal of the american academy of orthopaedic surgeons, orthopaedic journal of sports medicine, arthroscopy x2, Journal of arthroplasty, Injury (x2), JAMA-dermatology (x2), JAMA otoloryngology, Plastic reconstructive & aesthetic surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, annals of plastic surgery, international orthopaedics, pediatric otorhinolaryngology, among others these are the ones off the top of my head.

So, as AnatomyGrey said, lots of luck and hard word sprinkled with what I like to think of as divine intervention (you non-religious people can just call it more luck)

I picked my school (I got into like 10 DO schools) based on 2 things 1. They had their own ortho program and 2. there was this guy who supposedly let students do research and get publications.

However, I had ZERO research experience from undergrad so I knew it was going to be an uphill battle.

Early in my medical school career I talked to him (the PI) and was let on his "research team". He teaches medical students how to do research, and puts them on teams together to do these projects. He is an expert in methodological quality and really dives deep into evaluating the quality of published clinical research. Many of his projects are what you would call systematic reviews and met-analyses however they have their own twist to them. Journals LOVE his type of work. The pros to this type of research is 1. No IRB needed which saves a lot of time and 2. You can open a sweat shop and do the same project in multiple fields or sub-fields because it doesn't matter what specialty we are looking at the goal is still the same: to evaluate and report the quality of the work produced to ensure it is 1. reproducible 2. generalizable and 3. not fake findings lol.

So, he started me off on a team of medical students on a psychiatry study about October of my first year. I QUICKLY realized my work ethic was far superior to the others on my team and they would just slow me down. So, (without permission at the time lol) I broke off and took the methods and did my own studies on the same subject in Dermatology, ortho, and ENT. After I showed him my work he was amazed, and we developed a great relationship as I became my PIs work horse. This meant lots of 1 on 1 teaching and mentorship the other students did not get. For the rest of 1st year (from november on) I spent probably 2-3 hours a day minimum on research. How did those first 3 studies turn out? One was publish in JAMA - Dermatology, one in JAMA - Otolaryngology, and one in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (number 1 ortho journal in the world). This success resulted in more attention from my PI, and the rest is history.

Now, I had developed some really good research skills. It takes me about 2.5 hours to write an intro on any subject and 4 hours for a discussion. So, I could churn out papers almost as fast as I could come up with ideas for them. Many times me and one of my best friends (who matched ortho the year ahead of me) would just get ideas from reading literature in other specialties on similar methodological issues and say "hey, we can do that" and we would just do it. Summer of 1st year the pubs started rolling in, and I was at like 7 by the time 2nd year started and I just kept rolling with this because it became clear it was going to be something that could set me apart especially if I had good board scores. Also, because I came up with my own ideas and liked to work with minimal teammates I was first author on about 80% of the papers I was on. Of those original 7 pubs, 6 of them I was first author on.

Fast forward to just after second year. I just got my board scores back and was devastated because I worked so hard and my UWorlds said I would be 250+ and now I am wondering if I should switch specialties or apply to a backup. Right at this time the PD at my home program was changed to an MD who was much more academic, and had a vested interest in getting the program to do more research. He also had some clinical projects that had just been sitting, and some great ideas for clinical projects. He heard about me because I had been getting the residents on research projects for the last 2 years, asked for my help, and because of the training I had in other types of research I 1. Knew how to write scientific exceptionally well 2. knew what methodological safeguards were important for quality studies and 3. knew how to navigate the submission and revision process and he let me fly on a few clinical projects that are now published ( one of which in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery (a top orthopaedics journal). Also, I now (and then) wrote all of the IRBs for the ortho program. I found IRB's are nothing more than basically protocols, which I had already been making for my other studies. Writing an IRB due to my training was NBD at this point, and took me an afternoon (at most). Working with this PD brought a ton of life back into my research endeavors and now all 3rd year and 4th year I was working on clinical research and the methodologic research with my original PI. Furthermore, this PD had TONS of faith in me and really took me under his wing. He did a lot of things for me that boosted my confidence as a person and applicant to ortho. The letter he wrote me (I now have a copy of) was honestly probably the GOAT letter. Despite wanting me to stay, he still wrote me a letter than opened up many more doors for me and for that he has my upmost respect and loyalty. In all reality, my research skills were more than just a cool CV booster. They helped me create relationships with my home program that I otherwise would have never had and as a result I was very involved in ortho from my first year forward, but especially after the PD switch.

Now however, instead of being the work horse on every study I had a group of 1st and 2nd year I worked with who would do the heavy lifting and I would more or less act as a PI and guide the projects. This allowed me to really continue the original line of research while also being the heavy lifter for the clinical side of my research. These projects all turned out exceptionally well. I am now currently a clinical research heavy lifter and a methodlogical researc mentor if that makes any sense.

The next step in my research transformation is, because I have done so much, I now had the knowledge to lead studies. So, asked the PD about some issues in trauma surgery and we decided to do a full blown systematic review and meta-analysis about a certain subject. I did the protocol, data extraction, wrote the paper, did the stats, and did the revision for this. All on my own, and it was published in JAMA. The largest ortho systematic review ever to my knowledge (over 100+ studies included). I am currently the PI for multiple studies I am running regarding reverse total shoulders, that I anticipate to be published in very high journals.

Now, the interesting thing is my original 3 studies actually made me an expert in this certain type of methodological study and I am asked frequently to peer review for big journals on this subject. I have peer reviewed for the BMJ, New England Journal of Medicine, and many others. Most recently the BMJ (a top medical journal in the world) asked me to write an editorial to be published soon regarding this same issue that I started my first 3 studies on the first year of medical school. God is very good, and it has been crazy to see things come full circle.

I am going to put this in all caps because this is the reason why I have so many publications: THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF GETTING PUBLISHED IS 1. WRITING, ITS NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU FIND ITS ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE ABOUT IT 2. ANTICIPATION, YOU HAVE TO ANTICIPATE WHAT PEER REVIEWERS ARE GOING TO NAG YOU ABOUT AND ADDRESS THAT BEFORE YOU SUBMIT THIS STUDY (this only comes with experience), 3. YOU NEED A RECIPE FOR YOUR MANUSCRIPTS, DO THE SAME THING EVERY TIME. MY INTROS ALWAYS HAVE THESE 4 PARAGRAPHS (1. little bit of background 2. what others have found in other fields/studies. 3. what knowledge is missing 4. how we aim to address what is missing) DISCUSSIONS ARE ALMOST THE SAME (1. small summary of what we found 2. how our study fills in knowledge gaps 3. how our study compares to other studies 4. what are the clinical implications 5. what are ways we can change for better in the future 6. limitations 7. conclusion. DONE!!! I literally do that on every paper. BECAUSE I HAVE A SYSTEM AND STICK TO IT, I AM ABLE TO WORK EXTREMELY FAST AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT CITATIONS I NEED BEFORE I EVEN ATTEMPT TO WRITE THE PAPER BECAUSE I WRITE ALL MY PAPERS THE SAME. HOWEVER, THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF GETTING HEAVY PUBS IS NOT RELYING ON OTHER PEOPLE. YOU HAVE TO BE THE ONE WHO WANTS IT MORE THAN ANYONE, AND YOU CANNOT BE ABOVE DOING THE DIRTY WORK. I TELL MY YOUNGER STUDENTS "THE BEST WAY TO PUBLISH QUALITY AND PUBLISH FAST IS TO DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF. THE MORE HANDS YOU GET DIRTY THE LESS QUALITY THE WORK WILL HAVE AND THE LONGER IT WILL ACTUALLY TAKE".

I am happy to answer any questions about my work or give any advice needed, however, you are likely not going to have this degree of success unless you have a mentor like mine, which is why I feel very blessed to have went to the school I did.

I think its important to understand my success was due to 1. a high output mentor who taught me how to be high output myself. 2. A weird God given talent for writing (many studies accepted without revision) 3. A loving wife who let me do all this stuff without complaining about how hard I was working

Did you analyze and interpret most of the statistics yourselves @DNC127? I also have a similar undergraduate research background and I was wondering if you recommend any resources that can be helpful for students interested in learning how to become an effective researcher like you. Did you self-study R or python, etc?
 
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DNC127

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Did you analyze and interpret most of the statistics yourselves @DNC127? I also have a similar undergraduate research background and I was wondering if you recommend any resources that can be helpful for students interested in learning how to become an effective researcher like you. Did you self-study R or python, etc?

Our PI had a phd in stats/methodology so at first he did it, but he did teach a lot of the students how to. I used Comprehensive Meta-analysis to run my stats, and mostly learned from watching youtube.
 
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Our PI had a phd in stats/methodology so at first he did it, but he did teach a lot of the students how to. I used Comprehensive Meta-analysis to run my stats, and mostly learned from watching youtube.

Awesome, thanks for the information. Any particular channels/videos you recommend that were particularly insightful or useful? I will be starting school this fall and I was hoping to be productive during my current downtime.
 

DNC127

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Awesome, thanks for the information. Any particular channels/videos you recommend that were particularly insightful or useful? I will be starting school this fall and I was hoping to be productive during my current downtime.

I don't even remember who I used to be honest, just would search the type of stats I need + comprehensive meta-analysis and then would watch and tinker until I could do it.
 
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LOL

I will just post a list of the journals I have published in first so if thats all people care about they can read and move on , and then I will post my story below for those who want to read lol

Current number of publications 41 (also a number of these are accepted for publication and are in the copy edit process and should be published online or in print soon. (32 was when I applied in september). Also, 4 of these are abstract pubs and I finally got a case report this fall lol. So in total, 36 are full length original research.

Journals: The BMJ, JAMA, Journal of bone and Joint surgery (x3) (number 1 ortho journal in the world), Journal of the american academy of orthopaedic surgeons, orthopaedic journal of sports medicine, arthroscopy x2, Journal of arthroplasty, Injury (x2), JAMA-dermatology (x2), JAMA otoloryngology, Plastic reconstructive & aesthetic surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, annals of plastic surgery, international orthopaedics, pediatric otorhinolaryngology, among others these are the ones off the top of my head.

So, as AnatomyGrey said, lots of luck and hard word sprinkled with what I like to think of as divine intervention (you non-religious people can just call it more luck)

I picked my school (I got into like 10 DO schools) based on 2 things 1. They had their own ortho program and 2. there was this guy who supposedly let students do research and get publications.

However, I had ZERO research experience from undergrad so I knew it was going to be an uphill battle.

Early in my medical school career I talked to him (the PI) and was let on his "research team". He teaches medical students how to do research, and puts them on teams together to do these projects. He is an expert in methodological quality and really dives deep into evaluating the quality of published clinical research. Many of his projects are what you would call systematic reviews and met-analyses however they have their own twist to them. Journals LOVE his type of work. The pros to this type of research is 1. No IRB needed which saves a lot of time and 2. You can open a sweat shop and do the same project in multiple fields or sub-fields because it doesn't matter what specialty we are looking at the goal is still the same: to evaluate and report the quality of the work produced to ensure it is 1. reproducible 2. generalizable and 3. not fake findings lol.

So, he started me off on a team of medical students on a psychiatry study about October of my first year. I QUICKLY realized my work ethic was far superior to the others on my team and they would just slow me down. So, (without permission at the time lol) I broke off and took the methods and did my own studies on the same subject in Dermatology, ortho, and ENT. After I showed him my work he was amazed, and we developed a great relationship as I became my PIs work horse. This meant lots of 1 on 1 teaching and mentorship the other students did not get. For the rest of 1st year (from november on) I spent probably 2-3 hours a day minimum on research. How did those first 3 studies turn out? One was publish in JAMA - Dermatology, one in JAMA - Otolaryngology, and one in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (number 1 ortho journal in the world). This success resulted in more attention from my PI, and the rest is history.

Now, I had developed some really good research skills. It takes me about 2.5 hours to write an intro on any subject and 4 hours for a discussion. So, I could churn out papers almost as fast as I could come up with ideas for them. Many times me and one of my best friends (who matched ortho the year ahead of me) would just get ideas from reading literature in other specialties on similar methodological issues and say "hey, we can do that" and we would just do it. Summer of 1st year the pubs started rolling in, and I was at like 7 by the time 2nd year started and I just kept rolling with this because it became clear it was going to be something that could set me apart especially if I had good board scores. Also, because I came up with my own ideas and liked to work with minimal teammates I was first author on about 80% of the papers I was on. Of those original 7 pubs, 6 of them I was first author on.

Fast forward to just after second year. I just got my board scores back and was devastated because I worked so hard and my UWorlds said I would be 250+ and now I am wondering if I should switch specialties or apply to a backup. Right at this time the PD at my home program was changed to an MD who was much more academic, and had a vested interest in getting the program to do more research. He also had some clinical projects that had just been sitting, and some great ideas for clinical projects. He heard about me because I had been getting the residents on research projects for the last 2 years, asked for my help, and because of the training I had in other types of research I 1. Knew how to write scientific exceptionally well 2. knew what methodological safeguards were important for quality studies and 3. knew how to navigate the submission and revision process and he let me fly on a few clinical projects that are now published ( one of which in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery (a top orthopaedics journal). Also, I now (and then) wrote all of the IRBs for the ortho program. I found IRB's are nothing more than basically protocols, which I had already been making for my other studies. Writing an IRB due to my training was NBD at this point, and took me an afternoon (at most). Working with this PD brought a ton of life back into my research endeavors and now all 3rd year and 4th year I was working on clinical research and the methodologic research with my original PI. Furthermore, this PD had TONS of faith in me and really took me under his wing. He did a lot of things for me that boosted my confidence as a person and applicant to ortho. The letter he wrote me (I now have a copy of) was honestly probably the GOAT letter. Despite wanting me to stay, he still wrote me a letter than opened up many more doors for me and for that he has my upmost respect and loyalty. In all reality, my research skills were more than just a cool CV booster. They helped me create relationships with my home program that I otherwise would have never had and as a result I was very involved in ortho from my first year forward, but especially after the PD switch.

Now however, instead of being the work horse on every study I had a group of 1st and 2nd year I worked with who would do the heavy lifting and I would more or less act as a PI and guide the projects. This allowed me to really continue the original line of research while also being the heavy lifter for the clinical side of my research. These projects all turned out exceptionally well. I am now currently a clinical research heavy lifter and a methodlogical researc mentor if that makes any sense.

The next step in my research transformation is, because I have done so much, I now had the knowledge to lead studies. So, asked the PD about some issues in trauma surgery and we decided to do a full blown systematic review and meta-analysis about a certain subject. I did the protocol, data extraction, wrote the paper, did the stats, and did the revision for this. All on my own, and it was published in JAMA. The largest ortho systematic review ever to my knowledge (over 100+ studies included). I am currently the PI for multiple studies I am running regarding reverse total shoulders, that I anticipate to be published in very high journals.

Now, the interesting thing is my original 3 studies actually made me an expert in this certain type of methodological study and I am asked frequently to peer review for big journals on this subject. I have peer reviewed for the BMJ, New England Journal of Medicine, and many others. Most recently the BMJ (a top medical journal in the world) asked me to write an editorial to be published soon regarding this same issue that I started my first 3 studies on the first year of medical school. God is very good, and it has been crazy to see things come full circle.

I am going to put this in all caps because this is the reason why I have so many publications: THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF GETTING PUBLISHED IS 1. WRITING, ITS NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU FIND ITS ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE ABOUT IT 2. ANTICIPATION, YOU HAVE TO ANTICIPATE WHAT PEER REVIEWERS ARE GOING TO NAG YOU ABOUT AND ADDRESS THAT BEFORE YOU SUBMIT THIS STUDY (this only comes with experience), 3. YOU NEED A RECIPE FOR YOUR MANUSCRIPTS, DO THE SAME THING EVERY TIME. MY INTROS ALWAYS HAVE THESE 4 PARAGRAPHS (1. little bit of background 2. what others have found in other fields/studies. 3. what knowledge is missing 4. how we aim to address what is missing) DISCUSSIONS ARE ALMOST THE SAME (1. small summary of what we found 2. how our study fills in knowledge gaps 3. how our study compares to other studies 4. what are the clinical implications 5. what are ways we can change for better in the future 6. limitations 7. conclusion. DONE!!! I literally do that on every paper. BECAUSE I HAVE A SYSTEM AND STICK TO IT, I AM ABLE TO WORK EXTREMELY FAST AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT CITATIONS I NEED BEFORE I EVEN ATTEMPT TO WRITE THE PAPER BECAUSE I WRITE ALL MY PAPERS THE SAME. HOWEVER, THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF GETTING HEAVY PUBS IS NOT RELYING ON OTHER PEOPLE. YOU HAVE TO BE THE ONE WHO WANTS IT MORE THAN ANYONE, AND YOU CANNOT BE ABOVE DOING THE DIRTY WORK. I TELL MY YOUNGER STUDENTS "THE BEST WAY TO PUBLISH QUALITY AND PUBLISH FAST IS TO DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF. THE MORE HANDS YOU GET DIRTY THE LESS QUALITY THE WORK WILL HAVE AND THE LONGER IT WILL ACTUALLY TAKE".

I am happy to answer any questions about my work or give any advice needed, however, you are likely not going to have this degree of success unless you have a mentor like mine, which is why I feel very blessed to have went to the school I did.

I think its important to understand my success was due to 1. a high output mentor who taught me how to be high output myself. 2. A weird God given talent for writing (many studies accepted without revision) 3. A loving wife who let me do all this stuff without complaining about how hard I was working

I am going into FM and have no experience or interest in research. But that was absolutely inspiring to read.
 
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TwistedTea

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Excellent post. Our school doesn’t have any decent research so we were all SOL to start. But this is helpful for everyone esp those that have schools with research.

I think if I was at whatever school DNC was at id at least have half of a research paper done. Maybe 3/4 if it was a case study.
 
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I'm also on the same research team. I think I had 11 publications when I applied. I have at least 5 more now. The research is well-designed. It is not clinical research which is why it can happen so quickly. The research mentor is Matt Vassar and you can search some of his work on Scholar or PubMed to get an idea of what he does. He's a big reason why I believe OSU is the best DO school out there. None of the other schools are pumping out med student authorships at this pace.
Only thing my old school pumps out is lies and deceit. Lol
 
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Azmkv

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This was the best post i've read in the entire SDN threads. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. And God bless your hard work
 
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Lanhaines Elsetion

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Thanks for sharing this, its really helpful to see your invites in relation to scores/overall app. It shows that scores alone won't stand out as much as someone with an excellent work ethic. You are setting a good example here and in a sense, research/letters/networking may be the key for future DOs going into competitive subspecialties (if it wasn't already lol).
 
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Thanks for sharing this, its really helpful to see your invites in relation to scores/overall app. It shows that scores alone won't stand out as much as someone with an excellent work ethic. You are setting a good example here and in a sense, research/letters/networking may be the key for future DOs going into competitive subspecialties (if it wasn't already lol).

It definitely makes me wonder even more what the future will hold for DO students once Step 1 is P/F. DNC127 seems to have done about everything you can outside of board scores (by No means bad scores) to an Extreme. (LORs, leadership, research) and still only got a handful of MD program interviews. Obviously still incredibly impressive, but you’d love to see such a bad ass applicant get even more love.
 
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Lanhaines Elsetion

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It definitely makes me wonder even more what the future will hold for DO students once Step 1 is P/F. DNC127 seems to have done about everything you can outside of board scores (by No means bad scores) to an Extreme. (LORs, leadership, research) and still only got a handful of MD program interviews. Obviously still incredibly impressive, but you’d love to see such a bad ass applicant get even more love.

It depends on how we look at it. On one hand he received only a handful of "MD" invites, but the locations themselves that invited him tell another story. It shows that higher tier institutions will take DO students, which may influence others to consider us down the line. Board scores aren't the only way for DO students to stand out so P/F step 1 probably wont close every door for us.
 
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FistLength

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LOL

I will just post a list of the journals I have published in first so if thats all people care about they can read and move on , and then I will post my story below for those who want to read lol

Current number of publications 41 (also a number of these are accepted for publication and are in the copy edit process and should be published online or in print soon. (32 was when I applied in september). Also, 4 of these are abstract pubs and I finally got a case report this fall lol. So in total, 36 are full length original research.

Journals: The BMJ, JAMA, Journal of bone and Joint surgery (x3) (number 1 ortho journal in the world), Journal of the american academy of orthopaedic surgeons, orthopaedic journal of sports medicine, arthroscopy x2, Journal of arthroplasty, Injury (x2), JAMA-dermatology (x2), JAMA otoloryngology, Plastic reconstructive & aesthetic surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, annals of plastic surgery, international orthopaedics, pediatric otorhinolaryngology, among others these are the ones off the top of my head.

So, as AnatomyGrey said, lots of luck and hard word sprinkled with what I like to think of as divine intervention (you non-religious people can just call it more luck)

I picked my school (I got into like 10 DO schools) based on 2 things 1. They had their own ortho program and 2. there was this guy who supposedly let students do research and get publications.

However, I had ZERO research experience from undergrad so I knew it was going to be an uphill battle.

Early in my medical school career I talked to him (the PI) and was let on his "research team". He teaches medical students how to do research, and puts them on teams together to do these projects. He is an expert in methodological quality and really dives deep into evaluating the quality of published clinical research. Many of his projects are what you would call systematic reviews and met-analyses however they have their own twist to them. Journals LOVE his type of work. The pros to this type of research is 1. No IRB needed which saves a lot of time and 2. You can open a sweat shop and do the same project in multiple fields or sub-fields because it doesn't matter what specialty we are looking at the goal is still the same: to evaluate and report the quality of the work produced to ensure it is 1. reproducible 2. generalizable and 3. not fake findings lol.

So, he started me off on a team of medical students on a psychiatry study about October of my first year. I QUICKLY realized my work ethic was far superior to the others on my team and they would just slow me down. So, (without permission at the time lol) I broke off and took the methods and did my own studies on the same subject in Dermatology, ortho, and ENT. After I showed him my work he was amazed, and we developed a great relationship as I became my PIs work horse. This meant lots of 1 on 1 teaching and mentorship the other students did not get. For the rest of 1st year (from november on) I spent probably 2-3 hours a day minimum on research. How did those first 3 studies turn out? One was publish in JAMA - Dermatology, one in JAMA - Otolaryngology, and one in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (number 1 ortho journal in the world). This success resulted in more attention from my PI, and the rest is history.

Now, I had developed some really good research skills. It takes me about 2.5 hours to write an intro on any subject and 4 hours for a discussion. So, I could churn out papers almost as fast as I could come up with ideas for them. Many times me and one of my best friends (who matched ortho the year ahead of me) would just get ideas from reading literature in other specialties on similar methodological issues and say "hey, we can do that" and we would just do it. Summer of 1st year the pubs started rolling in, and I was at like 7 by the time 2nd year started and I just kept rolling with this because it became clear it was going to be something that could set me apart especially if I had good board scores. Also, because I came up with my own ideas and liked to work with minimal teammates I was first author on about 80% of the papers I was on. Of those original 7 pubs, 6 of them I was first author on.

Fast forward to just after second year. I just got my board scores back and was devastated because I worked so hard and my UWorlds said I would be 250+ and now I am wondering if I should switch specialties or apply to a backup. Right at this time the PD at my home program was changed to an MD who was much more academic, and had a vested interest in getting the program to do more research. He also had some clinical projects that had just been sitting, and some great ideas for clinical projects. He heard about me because I had been getting the residents on research projects for the last 2 years, asked for my help, and because of the training I had in other types of research I 1. Knew how to write scientific exceptionally well 2. knew what methodological safeguards were important for quality studies and 3. knew how to navigate the submission and revision process and he let me fly on a few clinical projects that are now published ( one of which in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery (a top orthopaedics journal). Also, I now (and then) wrote all of the IRBs for the ortho program. I found IRB's are nothing more than basically protocols, which I had already been making for my other studies. Writing an IRB due to my training was NBD at this point, and took me an afternoon (at most). Working with this PD brought a ton of life back into my research endeavors and now all 3rd year and 4th year I was working on clinical research and the methodologic research with my original PI. Furthermore, this PD had TONS of faith in me and really took me under his wing. He did a lot of things for me that boosted my confidence as a person and applicant to ortho. The letter he wrote me (I now have a copy of) was honestly probably the GOAT letter. Despite wanting me to stay, he still wrote me a letter than opened up many more doors for me and for that he has my upmost respect and loyalty. In all reality, my research skills were more than just a cool CV booster. They helped me create relationships with my home program that I otherwise would have never had and as a result I was very involved in ortho from my first year forward, but especially after the PD switch.

Now however, instead of being the work horse on every study I had a group of 1st and 2nd year I worked with who would do the heavy lifting and I would more or less act as a PI and guide the projects. This allowed me to really continue the original line of research while also being the heavy lifter for the clinical side of my research. These projects all turned out exceptionally well. I am now currently a clinical research heavy lifter and a methodlogical researc mentor if that makes any sense.

The next step in my research transformation is, because I have done so much, I now had the knowledge to lead studies. So, asked the PD about some issues in trauma surgery and we decided to do a full blown systematic review and meta-analysis about a certain subject. I did the protocol, data extraction, wrote the paper, did the stats, and did the revision for this. All on my own, and it was published in JAMA. The largest ortho systematic review ever to my knowledge (over 100+ studies included). I am currently the PI for multiple studies I am running regarding reverse total shoulders, that I anticipate to be published in very high journals.

Now, the interesting thing is my original 3 studies actually made me an expert in this certain type of methodological study and I am asked frequently to peer review for big journals on this subject. I have peer reviewed for the BMJ, New England Journal of Medicine, and many others. Most recently the BMJ (a top medical journal in the world) asked me to write an editorial to be published soon regarding this same issue that I started my first 3 studies on the first year of medical school. God is very good, and it has been crazy to see things come full circle.

I am going to put this in all caps because this is the reason why I have so many publications: THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF GETTING PUBLISHED IS 1. WRITING, ITS NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU FIND ITS ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE ABOUT IT 2. ANTICIPATION, YOU HAVE TO ANTICIPATE WHAT PEER REVIEWERS ARE GOING TO NAG YOU ABOUT AND ADDRESS THAT BEFORE YOU SUBMIT THIS STUDY (this only comes with experience), 3. YOU NEED A RECIPE FOR YOUR MANUSCRIPTS, DO THE SAME THING EVERY TIME. MY INTROS ALWAYS HAVE THESE 4 PARAGRAPHS (1. little bit of background 2. what others have found in other fields/studies. 3. what knowledge is missing 4. how we aim to address what is missing) DISCUSSIONS ARE ALMOST THE SAME (1. small summary of what we found 2. how our study fills in knowledge gaps 3. how our study compares to other studies 4. what are the clinical implications 5. what are ways we can change for better in the future 6. limitations 7. conclusion. DONE!!! I literally do that on every paper. BECAUSE I HAVE A SYSTEM AND STICK TO IT, I AM ABLE TO WORK EXTREMELY FAST AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT CITATIONS I NEED BEFORE I EVEN ATTEMPT TO WRITE THE PAPER BECAUSE I WRITE ALL MY PAPERS THE SAME. HOWEVER, THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF GETTING HEAVY PUBS IS NOT RELYING ON OTHER PEOPLE. YOU HAVE TO BE THE ONE WHO WANTS IT MORE THAN ANYONE, AND YOU CANNOT BE ABOVE DOING THE DIRTY WORK. I TELL MY YOUNGER STUDENTS "THE BEST WAY TO PUBLISH QUALITY AND PUBLISH FAST IS TO DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF. THE MORE HANDS YOU GET DIRTY THE LESS QUALITY THE WORK WILL HAVE AND THE LONGER IT WILL ACTUALLY TAKE".

I am happy to answer any questions about my work or give any advice needed, however, you are likely not going to have this degree of success unless you have a mentor like mine, which is why I feel very blessed to have went to the school I did.

I think its important to understand my success was due to 1. a high output mentor who taught me how to be high output myself. 2. A weird God given talent for writing (many studies accepted without revision) 3. A loving wife who let me do all this stuff without complaining about how hard I was working
Post of the year?
Yup.
This is actually something the DO forum was sorely lacking in.

Big congratulations on your success.
 
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DarkHorizon

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Still not buying it. “Luck” doesn’t get you 30 publications in high impact surgical journals in med school. That’s not “luck,” that’s what happens when you’re God and you decide to experience mortal life for a few years. I highly doubt many of you even got 5-10 publications in high impact journals. Even ONE publication in a journal like JAMA plastics is the centerpiece of a rockstar MD applicant’s ERAS app.

I want DNC himself to answer FistLength questions. If this is real then he’s about to make what is perhaps the most useful AMA the DO forum’s ever seen.

Can confirm, have reviewed his application and CV. I was just as amazed as you. I reviewed applications for MD ortho fellowship candidates at a fairly academic place, not once did I come across an application that even came close to his research pedigree. His research is likely in the top 1% of candidates for any field, and very impressive to say the least.
 
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Dr.Bruh

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All I gotta say is that when you become famous please use your influence to advocate for us DOs. We need you!!
 
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My initial jealousy and disbelief has been overcome by frank awe and appreciation. People like you, who are humble and are liberal with diffusing praise, deserve to succeed. Being a DO provides so many opportunities for excuses, but you sacked up, worked hard, and took advantage of a little luck and opportunity. Not everyone does that. Good on ya mate.
 
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Gonzalo de Montalvo

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Thanks for the thread. If you could do it again, would you sacrifice say, 50-75%, of your pubs in exchange for higher boards and GPA/class rank? Would this have changed your interview season you think?

Obviously the research is something you have a talent for and enjoy, so I don’t expect you to say you’d do it any differently, but like you say not all DOs students will have the same opportunity or desire for so much research (especially seeing as how you have a very special mentor at your school/in your specialty of interest, I’d say most DO students wouldn’t have the opportunity). Not meant to be a dig, I’m just trying to help generalize the appeal of your match success.

I guess another way to put what I’m saying is, considering you blew the research portion out of the water, do you think students could be as—or more—competitive than yourself if they “only” have 3,4,5 solid research experiences, have higher boards/rank, and all else equal (work ethic, personality, etc.)? I wonder because having a great well rounded app is obviously what we try to achieve, and we usually think one part of our application being so much better than the others is “compensating,” but what if you were noticed for your research and work ethic and beyond that your metrics didn’t matter? In fact, maybe a well rounded DO even with 80th percentile quality in all areas of their app would just be kind of washed out because, although great, nothing in particular on their app is screaming like your research credentials for example?

Congrats! I second that more DOs should come back for more transparent AMAs across all specialties. Thanks again, I’m not trying to get too arm-chair hypothetical in your thread
 

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Sorry if I am being ignorant, however, OP applied to 170 programs total and netted 12 interviews, is that number high or low compared to OP's accomplishments?
 

TwistedTea

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I don't even remember who I used to be honest, just would search the type of stats I need + comprehensive meta-analysis and then would watch and tinker until I could do it.
So do you feel meta analysis are more bang for the buck vs eh primary studies? Plan on trying to do a few in residency. I got into a program that heavily supports resident research (unlike former med school which supports building new buildings not related to our education with our tuition dollars) and has a lot of opportunity to knock out a few research experiences. (probly applying cardio). I’ve only done like one qualitative review in the past research wise lol (didn’t even put it on eras since I don’t remember what it was about lmao)
 

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Sorry if I am being ignorant, however, OP applied to 170 programs total and netted 12 interviews, is that number high or low compared to OP's accomplishments?

It's extremely high for a DO ortho applicant. He basically doubled the average number of IVs for (matched?) DO ortho applicants if I recall correctly. Double digit IVs is pretty unheard of for DOs. And several of them were from MD programs, so that makes it even more crazy. If he was from an MD school, I reckon he would have had like 20-30+ IVs. He is a true superstar.
 
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DNC127

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Thanks for the thread. If you could do it again, would you sacrifice say, 50-75%, of your pubs in exchange for higher boards and GPA/class rank? Would this have changed your interview season you think?

Obviously the research is something you have a talent for and enjoy, so I don’t expect you to say you’d do it any differently, but like you say not all DOs students will have the same opportunity or desire for so much research (especially seeing as how you have a very special mentor at your school/in your specialty of interest, I’d say most DO students wouldn’t have the opportunity). Not meant to be a dig, I’m just trying to help generalize the appeal of your match success.

I guess another way to put what I’m saying is, considering you blew the research portion out of the water, do you think students could be as—or more—competitive than yourself if they “only” have 3,4,5 solid research experiences, have higher boards/rank, and all else equal (work ethic, personality, etc.)? I wonder because having a great well rounded app is obviously what we try to achieve, and we usually think one part of our application being so much better than the others is “compensating,” but what if you were noticed for your research and work ethic and beyond that your metrics didn’t matter? In fact, maybe a well rounded DO even with 80th percentile quality in all areas of their app would just be kind of washed out because, although great, nothing in particular on their app is screaming like your research credentials for example?

Congrats! I second that more DOs should come back for more transparent AMAs across all specialties. Thanks again, I’m not trying to get too arm-chair hypothetical in your thread



Well, I guess another part of the story I left out to not sound like a whiner was that the first year of medical school I was top 20 in my class. However, I was studying probably 8-10 hours a day for class on top of my research efforts. Schedule was 6am to midnight. Every day. I am not a naturally gifted test taker so I really have to bust my balls to score high. However with boards looming I knew I couldn’t keep that going + research + boards study. Plus, some of the ortho residents at our home program said they don’t look at class rank too much unless you are like top 5 or bottom quartile. So I decided to ditch class and focus on boards and research for my second year. I studied arguably more for boards than anyone in my class. Like all things I do, I go full tilt. I literally studied for like 9 months before I took my board exams for at least 5 hours a day (12-15 hours the last couple months) And I would just cram for classes on the weekends before the test. My early NBMEs 3 months out were in the 230’s and my Uworlds in the weeks leading up to my USMLE were 250’s. My COMSAE I took 3 months before my test was higher than my actual Comlex score.

So to answer your question, no I wouldn’t change anything because I should have had almost a perfect app based on projections and my effort. I’m not much of an excuse maker, but my only older brother died in a hiking accident 2 weeks before my board exams. That combined with 9 months of board studying was like hitting the ultimate wall. But, my motivation was gone and I knew I didn’t have it in me to push my test back so I flew home for the funeral and hung out with my family for the 2 weeks before my boards and stopped studying the last 2 weeks.

like I said above I was devastated and embarrassed about my board scores. Still am tbh. The burnout and hurt from my first dedicated lingered for quite a while, so I changed my gameplan up for step 2 and did 2 months of focused studying and did better than the first go around, but as said above I am not a natural test taker so I needed more than 2 months to really “excel”.

so, no I wouldn’t change anything. That’s not who I am. I dive in headfirst for the things I want without checking for water lol despite my boards, I only know of maybe a handful of applicants more successful than me applying DO ortho and they both had insane board scores (260+ and 800+). So despite my boards my dive in headfirst attitude paid off immensely.
 
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DNC127

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Sorry if I am being ignorant, however, OP applied to 170 programs total and netted 12 interviews, is that number high or low compared to OP's accomplishments?

I say this as humbly as possible, but the average matched interview invites is 5, I was fortunate enough to get 12 only doing 3 months of DO auditions. Most matched students this year did 5-6 months and sometimes 7. If I had done 2-3 more months on the DO side I would have probably had 14-15. Which is wild for a dude with below average scores (for ortho) especially on the DO side where board scores are usually king for getting non-rotator interviews.

ortho as a DO is a tough route. Getting above 5 interviews requires a great app + being gone from your friends / family for a half year.

very fortunate to be where I am. As said above, Devine intervention + luck + grit.
 
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DNC127

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So do you feel meta analysis are more bang for the buck vs eh primary studies? Plan on trying to do a few in residency. I got into a program that heavily supports resident research (unlike former med school which supports building new buildings not related to our education with our tuition dollars) and has a lot of opportunity to knock out a few research experiences. (probly applying cardio). I’ve only done like one qualitative review in the past research wise lol (didn’t even put it on eras since I don’t remember what it was about lmao)

Yes. 100%. My studies in clinical research take 4x the headache and effort of the meta analyses. Way better bang for buck, but also potentially lower impact if not published in a big journal (you run this risk with clinical I guess so who knows I guess)
 
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  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.