Which specialty is most proper to do research (in another specialty) during the residency?

Sep 2, 2016
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I wish that one day I will be able to specialize in ophthalmology in US. But according to the experiences of elder colleagues: as a non-american IMG, it is almost impossible for me to get a match in it at the beginning of the career in the US.
So I got advised to try to get a residency in a relatively-easy-to-match-in specialty at first and after that (after settling in US), one can work on his CV so that I would be more ready to compete in the match of such a competitive specialty.
The point here is that we hear from time to time about an IM resident (was an IMG also) who has matched in ophth after one or two years of research in it during his IM residency in the states.
1-I want to know more and make sure if it is really possible to do exactly like what those residents did because I think an IM resident would be so busy with either his work load, shifts or even studying to catch up with his responsibilities as a resident. How could such a difficult equation be solved ?
2-If what those residents did was an exception, is there any other relatively-easy-to-match-in specialty that would be more suitable than IM to do research in ophth besides ?

I will be appreciating any help in this regard.

* I mean by a relatively-easy-to-match-in specialty the one which an ordinary applicant who is not weak, neither so outstanding would match in (an applicant with at least for example good-very good scores with USCE).

Thanks in advance.
 
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ThoracicGuy

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I wish that one day I will be able to specialize in ophthalmology in US. But according to the experiences of elder colleagues: as a non-american IMG, it is almost impossible for me to get a match in it at the beginning of the career in the US.
So I got advised to try to get a residency in a relatively-easy-to-match-in specialty at first and after that (after settling in US), one can work on his CV so that I would be more ready to compete in the match of such a competitive specialty.
The point here is that we hear from time to time about an IM resident (was an IMG also) who has matched in ophth after one or two years of research in it during his IM residency in the states.
1-I want to know more and make sure if it is really possible to do exactly like what those residents did because I think an IM resident would be so busy with either his work load, shifts or even studying to catch up with his responsibilities as a resident. How could such a difficult equation be solved ?
2-If what those residents did was an exception, is there any other relatively-easy-to-match-in specialty that would be more suitable than IM to do research in ophth besides ?

I will be appreciating any help in this regard.

* I mean by a relatively-easy-to-match-in specialty the one which an ordinary applicant who is not weak, neither so outstanding would match in (an applicant with at least for example good-very good scores with USCE).

Thanks in advance.
Your chances for ophthalmology as a FMG MD is exceedingly poor. I wouldn't count on turning an IM residency into an ophthalmology spot. I also wouldn't count on an IM program allowing you to do all that research either. Also, I would not go into IM if you weren't comfortable with doing IM or a related fellowship afterwards as your career.
 

Scope guy

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I wish that one day I will be able to specialize in ophthalmology in US. But according to the experiences of elder colleagues: as a non-american IMG, it is almost impossible for me to get a match in it at the beginning of the career in the US.
So I got advised to try to get a residency in a relatively-easy-to-match-in specialty at first and after that (after settling in US), one can work on his CV so that I would be more ready to compete in the match of such a competitive specialty.
The point here is that we hear from time to time about an IM resident (was an IMG also) who has matched in ophth after one or two years of research in it during his IM residency in the states.
1-I want to know more and make sure if it is really possible to do exactly like what those residents did because I think an IM resident would be so busy with either his work load, shifts or even studying to catch up with his responsibilities as a resident. How could such a difficult equation be solved ?
2-If what those residents did was an exception, is there any other relatively-easy-to-match-in specialty that would be more suitable than IM to do research in ophth besides ?

I will be appreciating any help in this regard.

* I mean by a relatively-easy-to-match-in specialty the one which an ordinary applicant who is not weak, neither so outstanding would match in (an applicant with at least for example good-very good scores with USCE).

Thanks in advance.
its not the right advice for sure. your best bet is working with a big name ophtho professor with research for 2 to 3 years(u can earn if u work on grant projects). After working 2 to 3 years, in house is probably your only real option. u also need to get very high scores >260 to convince the program that u are an exceptional candidate. ppl have done it in the past in this route in optho, ortho.good luck
 
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aProgDirector

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I completely agree with the above. You can either:

1. Apply to another field, and plan a career in that field. Is there some small chance you could get lucky and get an ophthal spot from an IM residency? It's tiny, and the amount of time you'd have to to dedicate to it would be very small. I approve all of the research projects for my residents, and I don't think I'd approve an ophthal project -- it's something I'd tell the resident they need to do on their own time.

OR

2. Come to the US as a "research fellow" and do full time ophthal research for 2-3 years. This has a better chance of getting you an ophthal spot, but it's still small. Problem is, if you do 3 years of research and then don't get an ophthal spot, you may not be getting any other spot either at that point.
 
OP
D
Sep 2, 2016
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I completely agree with the above. You can either:

1. Apply to another field, and plan a career in that field. Is there some small chance you could get lucky and get an ophthal spot from an IM residency? It's tiny, and the amount of time you'd have to to dedicate to it would be very small. I approve all of the research projects for my residents, and I don't think I'd approve an ophthal project -- it's something I'd tell the resident they need to do on their own time.

OR

2. Come to the US as a "research fellow" and do full time ophthal research for 2-3 years. This has a better chance of getting you an ophthal spot, but it's still small. Problem is, if you do 3 years of research and then don't get an ophthal spot, you may not be getting any other spot either at that point.
Many thanks doctor.

but regarding the tiny chance to get an ophth spot from another field, Is the IM the best choice, Or any other specialties like pathology or psychiatry would be more suitable in terms of the time off to do research and being also a relatively-easy-to-match-in specialty ??
 

ThoracicGuy

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Many thanks doctor.

but regarding the tiny chance to get an ophth spot from another field, Is the IM the best choice, Or any other specialties like pathology or psychiatry would be more suitable in terms of the time off to do research and being also a relatively-easy-to-match-in specialty ??
Most programs don't have dedicated research years, which is what you'd need to have a chance.
 

Dral

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You could try for a pathology spot. They are not competitive (except at the prestigious/top notch programs). Although you may have a lower chance of eventually getting an ophtho spot from path than IM, if you don't get an ophtho spot, you could hopefully do something like this:

http://bascompalmer.org/physician-resources/residency-and-fellowship-programs/ophthalmic-pathology-fellowship

It's not seeing patients, but it's ophtho related at least.

Keep in mind though, that (as I understand it, could be wrong) specialty pathology niches like that (or neuro or peds path) are mostly working at academic centers.

Also, the pathology job market is bad and it's tough for path trained docs to find jobs (check out the pathology forum for reference).

Edit: That fellowship is a one year training program after pathology residency, just so you know.
 
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aProgDirector

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Many thanks doctor.

but regarding the tiny chance to get an ophth spot from another field, Is the IM the best choice, Or any other specialties like pathology or psychiatry would be more suitable in terms of the time off to do research and being also a relatively-easy-to-match-in specialty ??
IM is the "best" choice, because you'll need a PGY-1 year for ophthal and IM counts. But as mentioned above, if you really want ophthal, you should do 2-3 full time research years.

Addendum:

Actually, now that I think about it, the "best" option is to train in whatever you would want to do if you can't do ophthal. Because you're probably not going to get a spot, so you should focus your training elsewhere.
 
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RadOncDoc21

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Why don't you do a prelim year first? During that year you can take step 3, possibly do some research and apply to pgy-2 positions.

If that doesn't work, you could do a research fellowship and apply to positions that become available. If there is an immediate need, you may be able to get in the field.
 

ThoracicGuy

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Why don't you do a prelim year first? During that year you can take step 3, possibly do some research and apply to pgy-2 positions.

If that doesn't work, you could do a research fellowship and apply to positions that become available. If there is an immediate need, you may be able to get in the field.
And the chances of that happening is pretty low, approaching zero. I would recommend going for IM. You can always do research after residency and apply for opthalmology if you want. But again, only doing IM if you're ok with doing IM or related fellowships afterwards...
 
OP
D
Sep 2, 2016
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Why don't you do a prelim year first? During that year you can take step 3, possibly do some research and apply to pgy-2 positions.

If that doesn't work, you could do a research fellowship and apply to positions that become available. If there is an immediate need, you may be able to get in the field.
Excuse me, sir
Would you explain what you mean by the positions that become available with a research fellowship? Do you mean the residency spots I will be be able to match in after improving my chances by a research fellowship ?
 

RadOncDoc21

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Excuse me, sir
Would you explain what you mean by the positions that become available with a research fellowship? Do you mean the residency spots I will be be able to match in after improving my chances by a research fellowship ?
Vacant optho positions that may pop up "outside the match."
 

RadOncDoc21

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And the chances of that happening is pretty low, approaching zero. I would recommend going for IM. You can always do research after residency and apply for opthalmology if you want. But again, only doing IM if you're ok with doing IM or related fellowships afterwards...
Chances are very low but I've seen it done in multiple fields including rad onc, derm, ortho and ophthalmology. You're right there are always other fields to go into as well.