Dec 4, 2013
11
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
Other than the big boys in socal (UCLA and UCSD), what is the word on programs like Cedars vs Harbor-UCLA, vs UCI? Of the 3, harbor-ucla is the biggest mystery to me.

Can anyone comment on lack of subspecialized attendings, volume, or fellowship prospects? Having trouble approaching them vs other mid-tier programs outside cali.
 
Dec 9, 2011
1,370
516
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UCI is a decent program. One of the best locations all over US. The program is good, but overrated. You may find a good fellowship in one of the big California programs from here, though generally fellowships are not difficult and you may find it no matter where you go.

Unless you are very miserable to stay in California I would avoid Harbor-UCLA. Also forget about Cedar.

If you can match at one of the community programs in California, probably your scores are good enough to find a good spot at a University program somewhere else. Now it may be just me. But I choose a well organized university program somewhere else over a mid or low tier program in California or Boston or NY. It is only me. I know that people tell you that rank Cedar over Hopkins if you want to stay in California.

In general, community programs in good locations are overrated and difficult to match compared to many other excellent university programs but in less desirable locations. A good training and experience of a good department is something that will stay with you and can not be taken away, even if you can not f ind a job in your desirable location for a year or two. This is my opinion.
 
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Dec 15, 2013
5
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Medical Student
UCI is a decent program. One of the best locations all over US. The program is good, but overrated. You may find a good fellowship in one of the big California programs from here, though generally fellowships are not difficult and you may find it no matter where you go.

Unless you are very miserable to stay in California I would avoid Harbor-UCLA. Also forget about Cedar.

If you can match at one of the community programs in California, probably your scores are good enough to find a good spot at a University program somewhere else. Now it may be just me. But I choose a well organized university program somewhere else over a mid or low tier program in California or Boston or NY. It is only me. I know that people tell you that rank Cedar over Hopkins if you want to stay in California.

In general, community programs in good locations are overrated and difficult to match compared to many other excellent university programs but in less desirable locations. A good training and experience of a good department is something that will stay with you and can not be taken away, even if you can not f ind a job in your desirable location for a year or two. This is my opinion.

What if you are asian? To be honest, as an Asian American location is even more important and throughout the interview season, I've seen the pattern of the preponderance of Asian residents in community programs in south Cali, north Cali, and new york( I.e. Harbor ucla and st lukes Roosevelt) and the lack of asians in great programs in other cities. How do other asian applicants weigh the location vs name debate
 
Dec 9, 2011
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What if you are asian? To be honest, as an Asian American location is even more important and throughout the interview season, I've seen the pattern of the preponderance of Asian residents in community programs in south Cali, north Cali, and new york( I.e. Harbor ucla and st lukes Roosevelt) and the lack of asians in great programs in other cities. How do other asian applicants weigh the location vs name debate
I understand your situation. I am a first generation immigrant. I moved here early in college. I also have a different cultural background and don't speak a native American English. And I can exactly understand what you say.

This is my opinion. It may be wrong or biased.
If you have to compromise a lot to move out of California or it is not possible, then you are fine. You do the best you can. For example, if your significant other is a resident in Cali or for many reasons you can not move, that is fine. Life is not all about residency or work or training. However, if for example your only concern is not to be able to date someone from your ethnicity (if that is what you prefer) or not to find enough Asian restaurants, then the story is different. Honestly, residency is only 4 years. You will be very busy half of your residency. I personally make that compromise for the sake of my education and the experience. You can always move for fellowship to one of the big California programs. It is not that hard.

Now you may not agree. You may be happier to stay in California. Again, it is fine. Do what makes you happier. Different people have different tastes. I personally gave a lot of priority to the residency experience and my training. I was lucky to match at my number one which was one of the top radiology programs. Being out in pp for a while, still I enjoy the training that I got a few years back. However, in my rank order list with a few exceptions (I ranked MIR pretty low because didn't like the location), I gave priority to the quality of program. But it was just me. I know many people do it differently and it works for them.
 

Corrion

5+ Year Member
Jan 28, 2013
32
6
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Resident [Any Field]
What if you are asian? To be honest, as an Asian American location is even more important and throughout the interview season, I've seen the pattern of the preponderance of Asian residents in community programs in south Cali, north Cali, and new york( I.e. Harbor ucla and st lukes Roosevelt) and the lack of asians in great programs in other cities. How do other asian applicants weigh the location vs name debate
This all depends on how much importance you place in the racial makeup of your community. Lets face it, asian americans (brown, yellow, etc) are overrepresented in medicine so you'd probably find Asian residents no matter where you go. Luckily, race hasn't been an issue in my professional life but I imagine if someone closely associated with Asian communities or cliques their entire lives, they may feel differently about this. Surrounding community ethnicity played no role in my rank list. I couples matched; our list was a compromise of program strengths and desired locations. We had initially wanted to go to the west coast but we ended up at a very strong program in the midwest.

As a side note, regarding UCLA-Harbor, it was my least favorite of the LA programs I visited. It certainly has the county hospital feel (indigent patients, lots of resident autonomy, so-so facilities) but in Harbor's case I feel like it was more of a detractor. I felt (but do not have any evidence to substantiate this) that you would lose out on seeing more rare pathology that would go to larger tertiary centers (eg. no transplant program). Harbor's relationship with LA Biomed was also unclear as was the program's support for research by residents.
 
Last edited:
Jan 4, 2014
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I'm a resident at one of these socal programs. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions. For many California programs, the interview season is just getting started. I have heard about some red flags regarding UCLA-harbor and Kaiser. The other programs including Santa Barbara Cottage generally have a good reputation amongst the residents. Radiology residents all know each other (it's a tiny world) and discuss pros and cons about their programs. As for being Asian, I know of Asian residents in lots of different areas of the country who are happy. I would not choose a program based upon its racial makeup unless the city you will be living in cannot provide something that you need (although I can't imagine avoiding a program because there wasn't a good pho place nearby).
 

choweee

Radical Dreamer
10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2006
70
3
New York City
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Californian doing residency in NYC. The pho is horrible here :(

At least we have a K-town that doesn't require driving home from at the end of the night :)