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west coast programs

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology: Eye Physicians & Surgeons' started by minterr, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. minterr

    5+ Year Member

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    these are the ones I am considering:

    univ of washington
    ohsu/casey
    ucsf
    stanford
    ucla
    usc-doheny

    comments on the similarities/differences between these programs; what are the relative reputations?
     
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  3. niveknat

    niveknat Member
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    I am curious to hear what others have to say about OHSU/Casey as well. I loved Portland, and I thought the residents were super happy about their training at Casey, the faculty-resident relationships, and the overall camaraderie. Facilities were gorgeous. I was impressed that nearly all the faculty showed up at the luncheon on the interview day to chat with all of us (and this was a Saturday). Their surgical numbers were solid all around. However, 2 questions that were lingering in my mind were i) why no one had done a retina fellowship in the past 4 years in spite of their fantastic retina faculty and ii) their rather cold panel-style interviews. Overall warm vibes at this place. I think this is a solid academic-oriented program. Planning to rank it highly.

    only heard a few things on the trail about UWashington.. didn't interview there, but ppl said it was an up and coming program, but that it may take some time still with new changes on the way. new chairman van gelder (who came from WashU) is supposed to be awesome, apparently. this is all hearsay of course.
     
  4. minterr

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    I think the panel interviews were done so the entire committee could meet the interviewee, but not take up a lot of time doing individual interviews. I think the program has in the past attracted laid back residents, who may not want the lifestyle of surgical retina. I'm sure they would love to help one of their residents get a retina fellowship, if not take them into their own fellowship!
     
  5. MacularStar

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    I received the same impression.... that they want people to go into retina. From talking with the fellows I dont think that doing a residency there will increase your chances of matching for retina fellowship at Casey. I asked the fellows specifically about this and they said it may even be harder since they encourage their residents to diversify their training.
     
  6. FlyingDoc

    FlyingDoc Junior Member
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    my friend is a resident at casey and says that the residents there are too lifestyle-oriented and laid back to be retina surgeons. oh well...

    also, i've met russ van gelder and he is a cool dude and very easy to talk to.

    good luck with the match!
     
  7. minterr

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    russ van gelder is the chairman at the university of washington, not casey.
     
  8. Photon Catchers

    Photon Catchers Junior Member
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    I'm a resident at Casey, so thought I could give some insight into the mysterious retina fellowship void that has confounded the ophthalmic community ;)

    I think people haven't applied for retina for the past 4 years because of a few issues:

    1. Residents have liked other subspecialties more than retina: we had a few recent grads go into oculoplastics, cornea, glaucoma, or even comprehensive. I don't know that I would call oculoplastics a specialty for the laid-back! No one has fallen for retina more than another specialty :(

    2. Our retina rotation has been combined with the inpatient consult service, which made for an exhausting retina rotation. This will no longer be the case. However, in the past, when we were on the retina service, we were paged for urgent hospital/ER issues and this fragmented our day. We would often wait until the end of the day to see our consults, which would make for long days. Or, if we had to leave early, we would miss cool surgeries, or feel bad leaving our attendings who were eager to teach us. We felt pulled in different directions, and it was frustrating.

    We approached our PD about the issue, and he's changed things. We now have a dedicated "consult resident" who sees the consults and ER patients. In their "downtime" there will be time for research. Hallelujah!

    3. Some people may not want the additional 2 years of training. This is partially why I decided not to do this. I LOVED retina, and I was encouraged to apply. They made it clear that I would be supported in my decision. I would have loved to stay at Casey for fellowship, since they have incredible attendings, a very bonded program, and fantastic surgical numbers. However, I love comprehensive ophtho just as much, and I can start this right away! Our PD puts absolutely no pressure on us to do a fellowship, he really tries to help us come to a decision about what is best for our own individual situation. For me, this was comprehensive.

    On a separate note, as for the panel interview - I agree, it's not ideal! I've been rallying to change this as well, to no avail... The committee members all want to hear the same information about the applicants, without having the applicant repeat themselves 6 times. I think this makes it hard for applicants to have a "conversation" with the committee members, who are really funny, intelligent, cool people - you just might not be able to tell when they all look like a wall of nodding faces..... My advice is to chat with them at the lunch (well, that's advice for next year's applicants).

    I welcome other questions about the program if you have them. I personally think Casey is the best environment for training in the country, but everyone has to find something that matches their personality and learning style.

    Good luck on the match everyone!
     
  9. eyescold

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    I interviewed at Casey last year and didn't get any kind of an intimidating vibe from the panel interviews. Actually I thought it was really nice that pretty much the entire faculty wanted to show up early on a saturday morning, and I found them all to be friendly and engaging. Casey seemed like a really classy program overall, hard to imagine not being happy/having a great experience there.
     
  10. MacularStar

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    Thank you Photon Catchers for taking the time to give such a thoughtful response! Changing the interview panels would be an improvement, but despite that the program, faculty, and residents are stellar. :)
     
  11. VikingFavre

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    What are thoughts on stanford's program? As compared to the big guns of UCSF, UCLA, and USC
     
    #10 VikingFavre, Oct 29, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009

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