Nov 27, 2013
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Medical Student
Hey everyone, I'm having a really hard time determining which SoCal program to rank #1 and #2. I interviewed at all the LA programs, UCI, and UCSD, and seriously liked them all equally. I'm looking for a program that has fun people with a family atmosphere and great training--both of which I saw in all these programs. My husband and I bought a house about a year ago in Long Beach, so the 35 min commute to Harbor-UCLA and UCI are a huge plus.

My question is: Has anyone heard or experienced anything really good or really bad about these programs that would sway you one way or another? This can be anything at all, from resident happiness, research possibilities, job prospects, etc.

I personally have not decided on whether or not I want to work in academics or in the community. As far as training, I like programs with a mix of county, tertiary care/academic, and community. However, of the three I'd like the most exposure to county medicine. Anyways, let me know what you think--any words of wisdom would be MUCH appreciated! :)
 

RPedigo

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I'm a PGY-2 at Harbor-UCLA; I ranked it #1 when I was in your shoes and there's never been a single time that I have regretted that decision since. That said, I think it's important that you find the program that is best for you, because all the programs you listed are very different (USC and Harbor being similar, at least) but are all excellent programs. I can answer any specific questions you have about Harbor, if you have them. I would not hesitate to recommend my program to anyone looking for strong training in a high-acuity county environment.
 
OP
T
Nov 27, 2013
3
0
Status
Medical Student
I'm a PGY-2 at Harbor-UCLA; I ranked it #1 when I was in your shoes and there's never been a single time that I have regretted that decision since. That said, I think it's important that you find the program that is best for you, because all the programs you listed are very different (USC and Harbor being similar, at least) but are all excellent programs. I can answer any specific questions you have about Harbor, if you have them. I would not hesitate to recommend my program to anyone looking for strong training in a high-acuity county environment.
Hi RPedigo, I actually have a couple quick questions about Harbor-UCLA:
1. Is there any opportunity to spend some time at Ronald Reagan to diversify your ER training? Some programs like UCLA-Olive View spoke a lot about providing a balance in training between Tertiary Academic EM and County EM.
2. When you're on off-service rotations (other than ICU), do you have weekends off? I only ask this b/c a resident at one of my interviews said it makes a noticeable difference.
Thanks ahead of time for all your input!
 

RPedigo

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1. No, there is not. We have EM rotations at other hospitals (e.g., St. Mary's, Long Beach Memorial, White Memorial) to get community exposure, however (since the majority of all emergency residents at all programs end up going into community medicine and not academics). I don't think that you need a lot of time at a tertiary academic center unless your goal in EM is to do EM at a large tertiary academic center. I think that the best way to get competence in EM is to see a lot of really sick patients, get to do a lot of procedures, and have excellent faculty -- that's what ended up making me choose Harbor, because we have all that in abundance. However, all the programs in LA are excellent in their own right, but you need to decide what's most important to you because all the programs in the area are very different (although USC and Harbor are similar).

2. Generally no. We do 3 months of ICU (CCU/MICU/SICU) during intern year, and the majority of your other off-service rotations are the same (1 day off per week) with the exception of anesthesiology, OB, and such. Personally I would not place any kind of weight on that factor because residency is the time to get your clinical training and become ready to be an independently-practicing Emergency Physician. The curriculum and opportunities offered for education in my mind far outweigh whether or not I get 1 or 2 days off a week for a few months during my first year of residency. However, what is and is not important will be different with each person, so if having weekends off is important to you during off-service rotations in intern year (for whatever reason), then you should consider that.

I think that at the end of the day, what is important is if you think you would be happy at a certain program for x number of years while you get your training, and if the training meets your interests in Emergency Medicine. For instance, if you wanted to do intense research on "x" or "y" or do lots of global health or do lots of health policy, different programs would excel at each of those areas. It just depends on the individual person.
 

quicknss

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Nov 17, 2010
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I remember rotating down at harbor when I was a med student and it was a lot of fun. However, all the residents mentioned that they couldn't imagine doing 4 years at that place. It might have been because of the county burn out and difficult patients or maybe there was another reason. It seemed fun and would have liked to match into a 3 year socal program but now that it is a 4 year lock in I might have thought twice. Couldn't imagine doing my 4th year and not getting a fellowship out of it. The magic number is 3+fellowship no matter what state you are in.
 

Hamhock

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May 6, 2009
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Hey everyone, I'm having a really hard time determining which SoCal program to rank #1 and #2. I interviewed at all the LA programs, UCI, and UCSD, and seriously liked them all equally. s
It seems to me you may just want to be in southern CA.

I would suspect that if you are considering UCI/UCSD and LAC-USC/Harbor "equally", you are either need some more introspection (what part of EM interests you; what are your career goals; etc) or some more careful observation of the southern CA programs.

UCSD is remarkably different that LAC-USC...completely different programs, in almost every way. (both very strong, but oh so different)

HH
 
Jan 20, 2014
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Status
Medical Student
I am in a similar situation. I want to remain in So-Cal, my top programs are Harbor, UCLA, Loma Linda. I see myself doing a fellowship and cannot decide between these institutions.
Harbor will probably have the best training, UCLA has the resources for research projects and the name, Loma Linda has a 3 year program.
UCLA and Loma Linda are similar (both have a lot of supervision, both rotate at university and county ED)
The 4th year at Harbor and UCLA are quite similar in terms of ED and elective time. Harbor and UCLA have better reputation so would doing an extra year for the name be worth it or would Loma Linda and a fellowship be better?I think I will be happy at either one of these but just don't know which one. I know this brings in the 3 vs 4 year debate but I am honestly stuck. Would love everyone's thoughts. Thanks
 

dotcb

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Oct 15, 2001
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Unless the training is markedly better at a 4 yr program among your choices, if you're planning to do a fellowship - do a 3 year program.