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Rate the So Cal programs


7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 11, 2001
I am not familiar with them, as I concentrated my efforts on East Coast programs in general. Several 3rd-years have asked me about them at a recent meeting of interested students. Could anyone provide info on UCSD, UCI, UCLA and Loma Linda? Particularly interested in work conditions/hours/call schedule and fellowship opps at each. I have counselled them to avoid Harbor and USC as they don't appear to be stable or very friendly.




Not your scut monkey
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 9, 2003
Palo Alto, CA
my personal pref in SoCal was UCLA > UCSD > UCI. wasn't able to interview at loma linda, and i wouldn't really recommend USC or Harbor unless you really want to be in SoCal (i interviewed at both).

- new hospital should be up and running by 2006 maybe? looks really nice from the outside. per the residents, they work pretty hard (630a-6p on average) but enjoy working in westwood. good clinical diversity, though probably not as much as UCSF. call is roughly q5 at UCLA, q3 at cedars (24h on, 48h off), q7 at children's.
- transplant and cardiac are the major strengths (or so i was told). critical care is definitely not a strong point (done either at UCLA or long beach VA w/ UCI, no anesthesia/CC faculty at UCLA that i recall), and peds is done primarily at children's (like USC and UCI) with some ectopic peds at UCLA. residents do ambulatory stuff and lots of blocks over in santa monica. OB at cedars-sinai. some VA experience, pain at private clinics.
- large program, 20 residents per year but with good camaraderie (visible at lunch), with a large percentage of asians in the current classes. got a good vibe from half of the faculty i met, especially dr. steadman, vice chair for medical education. dinner the night before with residents only and lunch in the cafeteria with residents only (about 20 or so floated in and out). my favorite SoCal program and #2 on my rank list.

- awesome location in sunny san diego. PD emphasizes that residents average 60h a week. about 6 calls a month, and i think 2 full weekends off per month.
- 4 hospitals for rotations. thornton (newest, in la jolla), hillcrest (former county, in san diego), VA (in la jolla), and children's in san diego. most of your time as a resident is spent at hillcrest. critical care is the main glaring weakness that i recall. i think their heart numbers are a little tight but everything else seemed pretty solid. open ICU, no anesthesia/CC faculty that i recall. research is one their big things, with lots of NIH funding for their size and 17 MD faculty actively involved in research. main interests are pain, neuraxial stuff, cardio/pulm, and simulator/pt safety.
- small department, 28 MD faculty and some PhD faculty. 10-12 residents per year, very tight group. liked all of the faculty that i met, especially dr. drummond (the chair) and dr. wahrenbrock (the PD, not the most PC guy you'll meet but not really offensive, more "telling it like it is"). very friendly, very laid back and very collegial. M&M is held at hillcrest but teleconferenced with thornton and was great to attend - attendings are very knowledgable. missed dinner the night before, but about 12 residents showed up for lunch (no attendings). really, really liked it there and put them #3 on my list (location wasn't quite as ideal as UCLA).

- i think irvine has a pretty solid program and great location, but just doesn't sell it quite right. turned off a lot of people by sending out an email telling people not to call the office to inquire about application status due to an ACGME review. also only offered 3 interview dates, no exceptions. later sent out an email stating that step 2 scores were required prior to ranking, which was rescinded a day or two later. i think it's just the coordinator that comes across as really curt and cold. interview day ran from 2p to 9p with 5 interviews. new hospital on the way but won't be done for some years yet. hours are about the same as UCSD, call at UCIMC is roughly 3-5 times a month.
- overall pretty solid clinical training. 5 major hospitals for rotations. UCIMC, LBVA (regional and SICU, semi-open and run by anesthesia), cedars-sinai (OB), children's (peds) and long beach memorial. pain is a major focus. some research available but nothing on the scale of UCSD.
- small department, 27 clinical faculty (all teach) and 8 residents per year. didn't meet too many residents are dinner on interview night, and attendings were present at dinner. most of the attendings i met were friendly and cool, but the PD really weirded me out. overall, i felt it was a good program but had enough reservations about it to drop it to #6 (last of my california programs), after davis even.
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