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Anyone out there know anything about the gensurg program at UCSF - East Bay?
 
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Celiac Plexus

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Originally posted by tonem
From what I hear, it is a pretty malignant program.
Tonem, or anyone else for that matter, please elaborate!

Thanks in advance!
 
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tonem

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I'm doing a surgery rotation with two former UCSF medical students. I casually mentioned that I was thinking about applying to UCSF-East Bay. They both stopped what they were doing and said are you crazy. I asked why and they said that the program director is "hard core" to put it nicely and that residents are overworked and treated poorly. It just so happened that the anesthesia resident on the case we were scrubbing for dropped out of their program in his third year. When they told him what I said he just shook his head and said he'd talk to me later, unfortunately I haven't seen him again.

That's all I really know about the program. I have to admit that by looking at their webpage they don't look too bad. I'll probably apply anyway and see for myself.
 

tripod

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Ouch. I got an interview from East Bay also and was going to go but that doesn't sound too good. I worked with a transplant attending that trained from East bay and he wasn't a very pleasant character.
 

dr. strangelove

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Ouch indeed. I just scheduled an interview there coming up in the next few weeks and after reading/hearing about the program will most likely cancel my trip. I got funny vibes when I called to schedule and they told me the my interview was at X:XX o'clock and when I asked If i was supposed to come early for a tour or meet with a resident they said, "Well, let's get the interview out of the way and if there is a resident available, we can give you a tour." Is it me or is that really kind of strange. Do they really think that I would fly from a different part of the country and not even want a tour of the facility or meet with a resident?! Are they being serious, b/c there is no way that I can consider a program like that. Thought I'd share my experience with everyone. :(
 

surg

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Wow, things seem to have changed. 5 years ago, I visited what was then UC Davis East Bay and actually very much enjoyed the visit. UCSF-East Bay is based out of Oakland and is really a County Hospital style program more than a University-style program. That means that it is certainly more "hard-working" than many other programs, and the level of ancillary services is not as good as it should be (probably on par with a VA for those of you without county or inner-city experience). I liked the faculty that I met, but honestly don't remember who the prog. director was then so I don't know if things have changed. Claude Organ was the chair at that time and is truly a class act. He was probably one of the most prominent African-American general surgeons of his time. He has been looking to retire from what I hear. Don't know what is going on with that, I would check before signing up with the program.

Flexibility in educational program was somewhat limited in terms of on-site research, but talking to the mid-level residents they seemed to be pleased with the ability to progress toward their career goals by utilizing external research resources for those that wanted it.

In short: I thought the program was educationally sound. A reasonable patient population, but lacking in ancillary services. I liked the access to Oakland Children's hospital and the access to the Kaiser patients for bread and butter surgery, but high end tertiary care was probably a little less than a true University Hospital. This was somewhat offset by the advanced pathology that walked through the door. Overall, a hard program, but I believed it to be rewarding for those that finished. Perhaps I was mistaken. It is disappointing to hear that things may have deteriorated.
 

girlwithaknife

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Anyone here actually interviewed at East Bay this year yet?

I'd be curious to know what impressions of the program are after seeing what it is like this year.

BTW, I got an email about a social event the night before the interview. Is this a new thing?
 

amc123

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I wondered if anyone had any more recent information on UCSF East Bay program in general surgery? Is it malignant, like these prior posts say?
 

gasnewby

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i interviewed there a few years ago. liked it, but that busy county hospital was what i was looking for. might not be what everybody is looking for. it sounded pretty brutal. the residents talked about learning how to break into the radiology dept after hours to get copies of films before the OR cases started. i think they used a credit card.:)

they gave us about 30 mins with the residents in a panel type discussion without attendings present. they were very honest. one seemed like a jerk tho- he was ridiculing a new intern who had asked for an alarm (egads!) on his pager.

it sounds like you will get great training there. i just don't know how much time you'll have to study and it will probably be a tough 5 years.

i really liked dr organ and got to meet him. he passed away ~ a year ago as you know. i liked the other attendings i met.
 

Castro Viejo

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Claude Organ was the chair at that time and is truly a class act. He was probably one of the most prominent African-American general surgeons of his time. He has been looking to retire from what I hear. Don't know what is going on with that, I would check before signing up with the program.
Organ died about two or three years ago. There was a whole thing about him in Archives of Surgery, of which he was Editor for a while, I believe.

I don't know who took his place at East Bay.

I never applied to East Bay back in the day because of rumors that it was among the most malignant programs in the country. That's probably an exaggeration, but I know a Rads Resident where I am now who trained for some time at East Bay before deciding to become a Radiologist. His one word description of his experience there: "Horrible."

I've also got a friend who's on staff at UCSF who thinks East Bay is a dump and would challenge anyone to go there and say otherwise.

So, all in all, East Bay probably isn't the greatest place in the world, but if you're trying to get into the ultra-competitive California market, I guess it may be a viable one.

P.S. The only program in California that ever granted me an interview for General Surgery was Cottage. :)
 
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SomedaySoon

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I applied to East Bay. It was one of two places that I didn't rank. I would've rather gone unmatched than go there, and it wasn't even becuase of it's malignant rep (which I hadn't heard of.)

The residents kept talking about how dangerous it was to live there and go running anywhere near the hospital. They also kept saying that it was an "in the trenches" place in such a way that it was clear that it was all work adn no teaching, especially not on newere and higher end techniques that would need more of a budget. They also didn't even pay for us to have lunch during our interview, they had a drug rep bring food and she ran out!!

The attendings on my interviews were a mix, but moslty bland or seemed eager to move on and out.
Beyond the above, I didn't have any interactions with current residents. That in itself says a lot!

On the flip side, a intern at my med school when I was student applied there and liked it, and that is why I applied.
 

meathooks

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I interviewed there last year and thought it was great. It was one of the few pre-interview dinners I actually stayed through the entire thing because I was having so much fun talking to everyone. The residents were in one of the rooms watching a bowl game, the chairman was telling stories, and everyone seemed very friendly. It was one of my top choice programs, over anything in LA.

The main hospital seemed big and dirty (like most county hospitals), kaiser seemed all right, and children's seemed nice. Definitely check with the staff before you rent a hotel (I stayed next to Kaiser, with ladies "working" right outside my room), cause you can end up in a bad neighborhood real quick.
 
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Blade28

Definitely check with the staff before you rent a hotel (I stayed next to Kaiser, with ladies "working" right outside my room), cause you can end up in a bad neighborhood real quick.
I was born at that Kaiser. :(
 

SURGI

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The UCSF-East Bay Residency program is NOT at all malignant. More than 10-15 years ago, there were a couple of individual attendings that could be considered "malignant". Dr. Organ died in 2005, some time after Dr. Alden Harken took over the program. Dr. Harken is a "jewel" who cares very much about his residents & their learning processes. He has most of the pre-interview dinners at his house the night before Interview Day. Breakfast & lunch are provided the next day as well. All interviewing students have unending contact with the residents during Interview Day, so there is more than enough time to interact with the current residents and see what the program is really all about. Take a look at their website and see the research that the residents do and see where they match for fellowships after training as well. I think you'll be impressed with what you see! Good luck!!
 

glade

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Nothing like bumping an ancient thread to update us all on the fact that the malignant attending at an institution died, so everything is now A-OK at a program.
 

Black Surgeon

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Given a warning for making fun of the URMs on their forum. In case you didn't know, the black patients "relax" when they discover that they are being taken care of by a black doctor. FIGHT TEH POWER!!!
Glade, if the intention with the inappropriate signature is to offend URMs, then consider your mission accomplished on my account. I do hope however, that it is nothing more than a poor attempt at being comical.
 

glade

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Just accurately reporting an actual conversation between minority physicians on the URM board, "Black Surgeon."
 

Black Surgeon

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Just accurately reporting an actual conversation between minority physicians on the URM board, "Black Surgeon."
I have nothing more to say on the matter, do as you please.
 

glade

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No problem, you're the one who brought it up. By the way, if anyone is interested, the thread (including the incidence in my sig) is still up on the URM boards. It's the "Hospital Nod" thread. I had a post on there, but it was deleted by the mods. So apparently everything that remains on there is kosher for viewing pleasure.
 

Rabbit Hole

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I don't think the goal of our resident air freshener's signature was meant to be offensive to the URM forum.

I think he/she was attempting to demonstrate something else :)confused:).
 

m.m

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My partner is a resident at UCSF East Bay (AKA Highland Hospital, AAKA Alameda Health System) in Oakland, and frankly I’m a little shocked at how little actual information has been given about the program itself and how much focus has been placed on conjecture.

I wanted to paint a realistic picture, to the best of my knowledge, of the program and it’s people. I hope this helps. I will try to address everything in the past posts.

If you are looking for a place to learn the widest swath of surgical procedures, work at a county hospital like Highland. They are the front line that serves the indigent populace, as well as being THE trauma activation center for Alameda County. There are a lot of surgeons who never get to see as wide a variety of trauma by nature of where they train, and then work.

The elective service is the same way. EMTALA only covers emergencies, and people who go to private hospitals without insurance will be seen and treated for only the emergent symptom. Once stable, they are released and referred to a county hospital, such as Highland, for the remainder of their treatment, providing it’s residents with the opportunity to see and treat an incredibly diverse range of cases.

The program operates almost on a shoestring budget, best as I can tell because it’s county, what can I say? Maybe with the upcoming ACA, perhaps they will see a growth in resources? That being said, you do learn to make due with what you have on hand, so it becomes a very meat and potatoes kind of residency. No fancy robotics. Sometimes not even a minimally invasive option. Never a shortage of variety. That situation is offset by taking elective rotations through some of the local Kaiser hospitals. Sometimes you are assisting Kaiser surgeon, sometimes you will be assisting a Highland Chief.

The staff is a mixed bag, but I suspect any hospital (or job for that matter…) can be that way. It is not a dump, as they are presently adding a new second wing to join the first. By no means is it a malignant program either, and I take umbrage with that statement as to how the program stands presently. I can’t speak to how it used to be, so if you find yourself way, WAY at the bottom of this thread mining information from the intraweb instead of taking the top four statements as gospel, then kudos! What I do know is that there are a number of very dedicated and skilled people who choose to work and teach there that I am proud to know.

This program is not as didactic as other programs and/or med school was. It requires large bunches of diligence on the part of the resident (you) to hit the resources and prepping yourself for what you see on the horizon, be that tomorrow’s amputation or the ABSITE in the spring. There is a LOT of autonomy at this program and you will need to pick things up at a quick acceleration.

By the way, ABSITE scores count, especially if you have any desire to specialize. If you can not score at least in the 50th percentile, there may be trouble in your future.

Scut work is a reality. Intern year will be full of it. Fact of life. Everybody has had to do the same, all the way back to the stoneage.

Reflect and think about the pressures and sacrifice the next five to seven years will lay out. Still excited?

My best advice:
-Don’t wait for instruction. Ask to be helpful. They are virtually identical but the latter makes you look good.
-Study. And then study some more. You can never study enough. If this is your calling then you already know it. If you want this to be your calling, you should know there is a never-ending pile of information that grows daily for you to absorb.
-Grow a thick skin. Sometimes you will get yelled at. Sometimes it won’t even be your fault. The way you handle it only reflects back to you.
-Treat your position as if it matters, and carry yourself in alignment with that position. A couple years back there was a medicine intern who wore a trucker cap in the ED all day long. He may have been a great doctor, but his outfit only worked to countermand any confidence in his decision making process. Because he thought it was a good idea to wear a trucker cap to work in the ED. All. Day. Long.
-Remember that your partner’s life sucks without you and they are giving a lot up as well.
-Martha works hard. Don’t bother her with petty things.

Hope that helps. Good luck on the interview trail.
 

m.m

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It took a record length of time (2002-2013), but this thread has finally completed the life cycle of all "malignant program" threads.

For those unfamiliar, that life cycle goes something like this:
OP: "Does anyone know anything about xxx surgery program?"
Various responders:
-"I heard second-hand from someone ten years ago that they might be kind of mean"
-"I heard it's not that bad"
-"I heard they killed a man"
(insert occasional response from non-surgeon poster danbo: "it doesn't really matter because everyone knows UTSW is the world's best training program")
Finally...an offended resident of xxx surgery program can no longer restrain themselves, and they post a scathing defense of said program.

Usually it doesn't take 11 years to complete the cycle.
 

m.m

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Well, now it's truly finished; you've trolled it and I've responded.

The End.
 

Winged Scapula

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I was kind of thinking that's their program coordinator?
So was I, although the website lists some other name as a contact person. Just wanted to make sure he wasn't "outing" his SO (although there isn't a current resident there named Martha).

:shrug:
 
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