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Could anyone comment on their opinions of Penn for AP/CP training? Any specific likes/dislikes from people that are currently there or interviewed there?
 

yaah

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My problem with training at penn: their surg path training time seemed inadequate, and I am not sure if this is true or not, but this was my impression on my interview. They had a limited amount of time on surg path and had a four day schedule. Thus, they only ended up grossing specimens once every four days, and only did 6-8 months of surg path. So they only grossed about 24 days during their residency. That seems suspicious to me. But clearly they produce excellent pathologists!

Plus, one of their residents is really cute. :love:
 

EvilTaz

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I'm a med student at Penn, applying for path residencies this year. First, the CP program at Penn is very very strong. For many programs, CP is an afterthought. There are very few programs which are as strong for CP (like UWashington). I'm not applying for CP - but there seems to be consensus that Penn CP is great.

Head-to-head the AP side is probably not as strong as some of the heavy hitters (MGH, JHU) but it is still a top notch program. SurgPath is only 8 months with a 4 day cut schedule - but you are cutting a lot of specimens on your cut day as you are responsible for all the bigs from the hosptial. And you definitely cut more than 24 days. (8 months, 5 cut days per month). The latter months you move from processing big speciments to the biopsy/small service which the PA's gross in. I think that it then becomes a two day schedule where you get your slides one day and sign out the next (I'm not positive this). They just opened several new OR's this year so the specimen volume is higher now. If you want more surgpath, several residents do an extra year as a surgpath fellow.

You are very busy when on surg path, but probably not as busy as MGH/JHU/BWH. Nobody has problems with passing the boards. I have enjoyed working with every attending with whom I have signed out. Some of the faculty are newer/younger which I think is nice because they show you what signing out is like when you're not the world's expert. That being said, we have several leading experts (I'm thinking of endocrine, neuropath, dermpath), and at least one pathologist who specializes in each specialty. Unless you know you want to do surgpath specifically, Penn has a great balance with CP, AP, and research.

You get more cytopath here than at other programs (about 4 months) and the faculty are very strong. As for autopsy, I have worked for years with the autopsy assistants and they are absolutely awesome. Also, Penn has a great record for supporting resident research and they aim for a 50/50 split in terms of research-oriented vs. clinically-oriented residents. If you want a K08 at some point, Penn has a better record than any other program in terms of numbers and success rate.

I can confirm that there are a lot of MD and MD/PhD students who are applying for path this year - but I think that Penn did not interview everyone from Penn because they did not want to be exclusive.

A hidden plus is that Penn places a lot of emphasis on getting residents who are personable and collegial. They have no problems rejecting someone they think is an a-hole even if they are destined to cure cancer and diabetes, and moving people up on their list because everyone thought they would work well with others in the department. All the residents I know are great, none are toxic.

Also, I like Philly. They have great music, sports (GO EAGLES!), museums. The restaurant quality is surprisingly good (with the best rated french restaurant in America, the Iron Chef Morimioto's restaurant, even the foodtrucks outside the hospital have been featured on the Food network, etc.). Not as big as NYC or LA, and the people have a little more attitude than the WestCoast, but also less expensive.
 

b&ierstiefel

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yaah said:
Plus, one of their residents is really cute. :love:
Hmm...yet you did not rank them. Hey you're interested in dermpath these days, right?

OK *serious hat back on*...my thoughts on Penn mirrors what Logos' has to say.

Penn's program is pretty big and last year's class was almost all MD/PhDs which they said was a total fluke. Each year though, they do attract an insane # of MD/PhD's though and they have a great track record for producing academic pathologists. Logos' mentioned the one year of research support. It seems that many programs will fully fund one year of research (whereas other programs will fund up to 3). During this one year at Penn, you will be expected to get preliminary data in the lab and apply for those KO8's. However, Penn has a very rich tradition of success in this aspect as virtually close to all their residents succeed in getting KO8's without any problems (1/3 of the score being quality of mentor; 1/3 score being your institution; leaving only the remaining 1/3 on how badass your proposal is). Anyways, their strong tradition of producing physician-scientists really impressed me; they're doing something right. This is one of the places where I would not feel as part of a minority or an exception to some rule...I don't wanna go to a place where I'm referred to as, "we got this one resident in our program but he's off in the lab now."

As for Philly, Philly isn't the prettiest place to live but Philly gets a bad rap just like Baltimore. There is perhaps some justification to this but I think too many people jump to write those two cities off as sh*tty places to live. As for Penn, their medical center is intermingled with the other Penn schools and the undergrad campus somewhat and their campus looks very nice. It seems that there are pockets of neighborhoods where the Penn residents live and I think they get free parking in a garage so you don't have to worry too much about getting your car broken into.

As for their applicants, I am well aware too that Penn is producing many pathology applicants this year. And I heard that 6 or 7 of their graduating MSTP class is going into path and almost all of them are really into neuropath (based on a conversation I had at Hopkins since apparently all those Penn folks interviewed at Hopkins). Neuropath at Penn is really really strong and I think a hefty number of them may want to stay at Penn for residency so competition is quite stiff. I would think that if they wanted to stay at Penn, they're pretty much a shoe-in which really leaves just a few spots for us outsiders :laugh:

Furthermore, there is the AP and CP issue at Penn. When I interviewed there I got the distinct impression that CP as extremely strong there...probably one of the best CP training institutions in the country. But they recently lost Debra Leonard to Cornell and now lost Jay Hess to Michigan (Go Blue!). However, I don't think the impact will be too significant given that Penn is very CP-strong and will fill these holes pretty quickly. With all this CP talk, I can see how some may think that AP takes a back seat at Penn and may not be as strong as other AP heavy institutions. However, they do have good specimen variety and volume so when I look at Penn, I see a strong and balanced institution.

Finally, I can't say enough about the administration, the PD, and the department chair. Some of the coolest people I've met along the interview trail. Very pro-resident attitudes from the high-up's and Logos' testified to the evidence for that in his post. As for the surg path facilities, I was told that they were not too pretty and many people who interview there are far from impressed. However, they were upfront and honest which I respect a lot. They are trying to remedy the situation; however, due to space issues renovations/expansions of the surg path area will happen very incrementally and not as fast as the improvements being made to other path areas such as the residents room and all.

What I wanna know is: How can they afford to take all these interviewees out to dinner the night before? and then a nice lunch on interview day? where does this money come from?
 

b&ierstiefel

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EvilTaz said:
I can confirm that there are a lot of MD and MD/PhD students who are applying for path this year - but I think that Penn did not interview everyone from Penn because they did not want to be exclusive.
I heard this as well which was still kinda surprising though. Then there are the 12 applicants from Jefferson as well :eek: . When I had lunch with some of the residents, they told me that most or all of these Jefferson folks do a month at Penn. They thought a lot of them were really cool and they were disappointed that many of them didn't get an interview this year at Penn.
EvilTaz said:
A hidden plus is that Penn places a lot of emphasis on getting residents who are personable and collegial. They have no problems rejecting someone they think is an a-hole even if they are destined to cure cancer and diabetes, and moving people up on their list because everyone thought they would work well with others in the department. All the residents I know are great, none are toxic.
Totally! Lots of smart folks at Penn but they were all really really cool. The dynamic and interactions during the conferences impressed me very much; the faculty and residents are serious about pathology but still know how to joke around and enjoy themselves. It was a great atmosphere there.