Switching from Ortho to FM during m3

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2+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2018
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Hey everyone. I have always loved sports medicine and spent the last 2.5 years gunning for ortho. I just finish my m3 ortho elective and realized I enjoyed being more in MSK/sports clinic than the actual surgeries. I don’t want to work every weekend and be on call24/7.

I have always known FM to sports medicine is a great route and I realized I liked outpatient too much.

My questions are :

1) I have many poster presentations and 2 podiums at ortho conferences, I have 4 publications in orthopedic journals. Will this work translate over in an FM application if I make clear why I made the change ? I’m hoping my research and passions count for something still; a lot of it was in sports medicine.

2) I go to a USMD school and have had good grades so far plan on having some strong letters. My fiancé and I just bought a house out in CA. How feasible will it be to apply just to CA residences and match there ? Given I’ve never lived there but have very strong ties( future wife and I bought a house there, her whole family lives there)

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Speaking as a FM-sports med attending, you’ll be fine. Do a FM sub-I and some primary care related volunteering too. Matching into CA FM programs from a Cali med school should be good. Do a rotation at one of the FM programs near you. Look for FM programs with sports med fellowships, or residencies that has a good track of people matching into sports. Reach out to your primary care sports med faculty at your med school as well. Good luck!
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Going from ortho to FM should be fine. Getting into a CA program should be no problem, especially since you sound like a strong applicant. FM is ridiculously easy to get into if you are a US MD. Try to pick one with a SM program attached- makes things a lot easier.
Getting into a California SM program shouldn't be too difficult for you but it is very competitive at the top programs (UCLA, Stanford, UCSF.. ). A lot of people apply more broadly for SM since there are super strong programs elsewhere and it's only a year.

Also please make sure you like FM before applying- remember, as a PCSM doctor you are primary care first. Its 3 years of FM and only 1 year of sports medicine. A lot of what PCSM is *surprise" primary care. And most people end up doing more primary care than sports med , especially at the beginning of their career
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