Aug 2, 2016
3
0
I realize this is a somewhat fraught question. I created a new account to ask because my regular one is too identifiable and I'm applying this season. Once I decided on EM, I had been hoping to match at UMass, mostly for family/personal reasons, but I also thought it had a good reputation. However over the past few months, as I get ready to actually apply and interview at places, I've heard a few concerning things about the program, but some of it is kind of vague and my advisors don't have recent experience with the program to help me filter. Basically I've heard it has become borderline malignant due to the PD, and also that the hospital has a lot of financial/staffing issues, and that the reputation is suffering a bit. If anyone can shed light on this, either publicly or via PM I'd really appreciate it. I hope it isn't too offensive to ask; my intention is not to insult anyone or make life-changing decisions based solely on anonymous internet input. Thanks.
 

Egorr11

10+ Year Member
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Mar 7, 2008
10
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Fellow [Any Field], Attending Physician
Hey simonsaysmd! I did residency at Umass and now currently doing fellowship so I feel like i can probably answer some questions/clarify. Let me start off by saying when I was applying, Umass wasn't really on my radar and I matched here by happenstance and I couldn't be happier. A lot of that has to do with the PD. Dr. Bird is so supportive of the residents and the program. He works tirelessly to tweak our rotations to make them better and actually cares about our experience. We started a resident wellness committee a few years ago and he personally funded it for a long time until we could support ourselves financially. He even received Best Teacher Award (voted on by the residents) this past year. I'm not sure what to say about the hospital financially or staffing wise, but under our CEO (Umass EM grad, all around awesome dude Eric Dickson), we've turned around financially and we're implementing Epic next year so huge things are coming! Umass is a level 1 trauma center, busy academic medical center and the ED is very busy and the residents work hard. But that is every residency. Just to hammer home the point, last year 7 of 11 graduating residents stayed at Umass to start their careers (fellowship and full attendings/faculty) -- definitely wouldn't happen if this place were malignant. I could go on and on about how great we are (our high NIH funding, all star faculty, quirky/awesome town of worcester) but you can message me if you have any other questions. Thanks for posting your concerns so we have the chance to clear it up!
 
Aug 3, 2016
1
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Status
Fellow [Any Field], Attending Physician
As a recent Umass EM grad I can assure you our PD is by no means malignant, so I was surprised to see this post. He truly cares about the health and wellbeing of the residents and does everything possible to ensure you receive the best training during your 3 year residency here. As a chief resident I saw a lot of went on behind the scenes and I promise you Dr. Bird addresses any concerns relating to resident rotations, interpersonal issues, schedules, and even little things like coffee pots or library books very promptly and with everyones best interest in mind.

In terms of hospital issues, I'm not aware of any not-for-profit academic centers raking in the big bucks given the patient populations we serve. The department of EM and hospital medical group are separate billing entities. I haven't heard of either going bankrupt. We just built a brand new observation unit (about 30 beds) to be staffed by the ED. We've been hiring a bunch more scribes (for attending shifts...otherwise you don't learn to chart efficiently as a resident). I guess what I'm saying is that it doesn't seem to be the case at all that we're financially suffering.

I would choose this residency again in a heartbeat. Ask the current residents when you interview and you'll see what I mean.
 
OP
S
Aug 2, 2016
3
0
Thank you both for taking the time to reply. It says a lot that recent grads feel so positively about the program! Looking forward to hopefully meeting some UMass residents in person this cycle. :)
 
Aug 3, 2016
2
1
Hello-
I share the same sentiments, also a recent Umass grad. The program is far from malignant- I always found Dr. Bird hugely supportive, and committed to us and improving the program. When a rotation sucks, he makes an effort to rapidly change it. If another service in the hospital is disrespectful to us, you can be sure he has our back and is making things right with their program director as soon as possible. As a hospital, yes, UMass has its flaws, and the hospital inefficiencies (outside the ED) can make it a frustrating place to work at times. Despite this, it has attracted amazing attendings, who are so enthusiastic about teaching they endure the tough work environment.

You will have to see what program feels right to you when you interview/visit- personally, I always felt lucky to have matched at UMass. Don't get me wrong, we work hard, and the ED is super busy- but you'll get an awesome education and graduate ready to practice in any environment.

Best of luck to you this year!
 

med2013

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7+ Year Member
Apr 13, 2009
4
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Pre-Medical
I want to echo the above - I am a UMASS trained resident, who has stayed for fellowship. I was thrilled to match at UMASS, and now after completing residency couldn't be happier with my training and experience. Our PD is incredibly supportive, faculty enthusiastic, and we have a great ED to work in. We are far from malignant. Good luck with interview season, it's such an exciting time!!!
 

FroggerMD

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2008
35
15
Oakland, CA
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Attending Physician
I don't have any personal experience w/ UMass (I interviewed for residency there about 8 years ago and thought it was ok), but a friend of mine had a terrible experience and ended up resigning. I don't want to say much more because it's probably easy to figure out who she is, but I know her well and she's a great, smart physician. She felt that the PD was very misogynistic and malignant. I can try to put you in touch with her if you'd like, PM me.
 

PLU2010

7+ Year Member
Jan 25, 2010
42
2
Status
Resident [Any Field]
SimonSaysMD,
As one of the current residents, I would like to address your thoughts and concerns.

The first is regarding a malignant PD. I strongly feel we have one of the strongest program directors in our hospital and I would suspect the country. He frequently “goes to bat” for the residents in the program and we feel he sincerely cares about not only our training, but also our well-being. The PD (Dr. Steve Bird) helped to start an EM Wellness Committee (like us on FaceBook!) and has been chosen to start a hospital-wide peer support network. Dr. Bird has high expectations for us - he wants us to be the best physicians, leaders, and people possible. He is anything but malignant. I strongly suggest you ask the current residents when you come visit Umass.

One thing that has been true over the last several months has been attending staffing issues. Unfortunately, a number of attending have had to take unexpected medical leaves around the same time but the department has increased hiring and coverage to ensure that we are now fully staffed. This is something that is impossible to predict, but we are currently fully staffed. Financially, I have little to add. As a department, we make money for the institution and have consistently done so during my time in residency here. As an institution, when I came on there were many concerns regarding the financial stability, however, these concerns seemed to have been addressed appropriately (the hospital had a $100M turnaround in the last 3 years), and I do not feel like the bean counters have any presence on my practice.

Overall, although I did not grow up or do medical school in the northeast, I feel like Umass has given me the experience and education to leave residency confident I will be able to leave residency ready to be an attending in practice. I would strongly suggest doing a visiting student rotation with us to get a better understanding of our department and residency program. I look forward to meeting you either on rotation or on the interview trail this fall and I hope the best to you in searching for the best EM residency for you.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or other rumor and I will do my best to address them with my current experiences.
 

KinesiologyNerd

5+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2012
1,010
959
Anytown, USA
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Man so apparently the best way to get up to date residency reviews is express concern a program is malignant?

Good feedback here though. I hadn't heard anything bad about UMass but it's on my list.
 
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walktopus

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Aug 31, 2007
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I don't have any personal experience w/ UMass (I interviewed for residency there about 8 years ago and thought it was ok), but a friend of mine had a terrible experience and ended up resigning. I don't want to say much more because it's probably easy to figure out who she is, but I know her well and she's a great, smart physician. She felt that the PD was very misogynistic and malignant. I can try to put you in touch with her if you'd like, PM me.
I'm a current resident and female, and I can attest that our program director goes above and beyond to make sure that female residents feel supported. Like most programs in the country, we have fewer female residents and faculty members than male. However, our PD works to actively recruit women to our program, nominates and promotes women for recognition of their accomplishments, and supports our Women in Medicine nights (including making sure we all have the night off at the same time to attend). Our program has graduated many women who have gone on to very successful careers. I'm happy to elaborate by PM if you'd like more info!
 
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Aug 3, 2016
2
1
Man so apparently the best way to get up to date residency reviews is express concern a program is malignant?

Good feedback here though. I hadn't heard anything bad about UMass but it's on my list.

That's because we are passionate about the program!

I hope the comments are helpful- please do keep in mind the flawed nature of posts on an anonymized forum -- so be sure to visit us! We are much more convincing (and better looking) in person :).
 
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Psai

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That's because we are passionate about the program!

I hope the comments are helpful- please do keep in mind the flawed nature of posts on an anonymized forum -- so be sure to visit us! We are much more convincing (and better looking) in person :).
dat username tho
 
OP
S
Aug 2, 2016
3
0
Thanks again for the added info everyone, excited for the application season to start. One thing that I will say is that I've received a few PMs that were not as glowing as the public reviews here and substantiated some of the issues mentioned. Supposedly from recent or current residents. Not surprising though since negative things tend to be more hush-hush. Clearly the best solution is to try my best to get an interview and see for myself!
 

Apollyon

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It's SDN par, though, for someone to say something less than flattering about a residency program, and, nearly immediately, people with a prior very light, or nonexistent, SDN presence show up, and, uniformly, extol the absolute virtues about the program, and insinuate (or outright state) that the prior author was either mistaken, disgruntled, or mentally ill. Moreover, none of these respondents ever says anything negative, at all. You would swear that every program was Walnut Grove, or Mayberry (minus Otis the drunk). Reality doesn't apply, sometimes.
 
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irJanus

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Jan 30, 2009
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Limited personal anecdote here, but interviewed there years ago and loved it. Leadership seemed to have vision, LOVED their APD and the residents were chill. Wanted to be closer to home, but ranked them highly. Was impressed. 2cents. :)