Monday, November 11, 2019

The Interview Trail in EM-All Your Questions Answered

All your questions about EM interviews answered

How many interviews is too many?
10 interviews will give you a 95% chance of matching according to NRMP data. It can be difficult to stay engaged and be interested in more than ten-so if you are in the enviable position of having more, critically look at your list and cancel those you are less likely to work for you.

What if I only have 6?
As many have discovered you only need one, but as your interview numbers go down your risk of going unmatched increases. At 6 you still have a 75% chance of matching. You should go to all 6 and discuss with your advisor if and when to develop a back up plan.

What are programs looking for?
Programs are looking for applicants who will succeed. Most have a set of traits they have noticed overtime that successful residents share. Kind, honest and hardworking top the list. The NRMP program director's survey is a great place to look for these traits.

Should I contact programs if I haven't heard from them?
This is a tough one to answer as this can pay off but can also drive program directors crazy making them less likely to offer you an interview. In general only contact a program if you have a supreme interest and you question if this may not have come across in your application. An example would be loving and wanting to move back to an area that wasn't referenced in your ERAS application.

Who should I be?
Firstly recognize you are trying on each program and they are doing the same. For this reason you must be yourself. I well dressed, non-trash talking, non-swearing best version of yourself. Avoid the pitfall of being too superficial or restrained to get to really experience each program and imagine yourself there.

How do I show I want to be there?
Be interested. This is reflected throughout your interview-you will be on stage the whole time, but so are they. Attend the pre-night social event so you can meet residents and see their interactions away from medicine. Be on time for your interview, since you will often be in a new area-leave twice the amount of time you'd expect it to take so you don't sweat through those spiffy clothes because you are running late. Have questions-genuine questions about the area, people and program. If you run out engage your interviewer in conversation.

What if I loose my luggage, get in an accident, or get lost?
Programs are real people too and we can adapt, just let them know what is going on. Then relax-stop perseverating and do what needs doing, it will make a great story.

Should I send thank you emails or cards?
Feel free to send or not send-this is pretty unlikely to change you likelihood of matching but if you enjoy doing so go right ahead.

Will programs be insulted if I cancel?
No, we understand and want applicants to focus on programs they are interested in. Just please give as much notice as possible at least 2 weeks, so the spot can be filled.

Overall the interview trail can be both exhilarating and exhausting. If you can, take time to spend a few hours in each place exploring and picturing yourself in this new area. When you go to rank your programs reflect back on how you felt and go with your instincts.

Good luck and travel well.

Lucienne Lutfy-Clayton is an Associate Program Director and Medical Education co-Fellowship Director at UMMS Baystate. While she never got lost, ended up late or lost her luggage she did spend a magical snowy night in Portland Maine and ended up living there for four years post residency. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Another New Program: Nazareth in Philadelphia

There is another new EM Residency Program already accredited for the 2020 Match.  In most cases, now is too late in the cycle to apply to more EM programs and expect them to take your application seriously, but a new program is going to be different.

From their Program Director, Kanika Gupta:

Nazareth Hospital is a new ACGME accredited program located in northeast Philadelphia. We are a three year program looking for both PGY 1 and 2 residents to start July 2020.  Please spread the word! Thanks!
Kanika Gupta, M.D.
Residency Program Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
Nazareth Hospital

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Unified Program Release Date

In an effort to add some additional standardization to the interview scheduling process a group of EM Residency Programs has agreed to use a common interview release date.  Only a subset of programs are able to wait until this date to offer interviews.  Hopefully this can give some reassurance to anyone who is already worried they have not received enough interview offers. 

Here are the details sent out by Dr. Jennie Buchanon, APD at Denver Health:

The County Program of Community Practice is proceeding with the unified interview release date again this year.

  • Unified Release Date October 15th invites out at 12pm Eastern Standard Time
  • October 16th 12pm Eastern Standard Time Interview Broker Opens for scheduling
The following institutions are participating:
UCSF Fresno
Boston Medical Center
Kingman Regional Medical Center
Mount Sinai Medical Center Miami Beach
UT Health San Antonio
SUNY Upstate
Cook County
Denver Health
UT Southwestern
UF Jacksonville
UMKC University of Missouri-Kansas City
Metro - Cleveland
SUNY Downstate
JPS (John Peter Smith)
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center
UC Irvine
McGovern Med at UTHealth (formerly UT Houston)
Loyola University Medical Center
University of New Mexico (UNM)
Virginia Tech Carilion
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
LSU New Orleans
Henry Ford Hospital
Mount Sinai in NYC (for clarification The Mount Sinai Hospital program not Mount Sinai- St Lukes/West)
University at Buffalo

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

New Program: Ochsner in New Orleans!

We are in new program announcement season!  Another new program has announced that they are recruiting for the 2020 match:

"The Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, Louisiana has received its initial accreditation and that we will be accepting applications through ERAS for our first class of 6 residents to begin July 1, 2020.

The Emergency Department at Ochsner is a busy tertiary medical center in New Orleans. We are a multi-specialty tertiary care receiving facility and the hub of the Ochsner Healthcare System. We currently have residency programs in Anesthesiology, Internal Medicine, Neurology, OB-GYN, Orthopedics Surgery, Pediatrics, Podiatry, Psychiatry, Radiology, Surgery and Urology, and will be looking to add additional programs in future years.

For residents looking to get in on the ground floor of a program with a tremendous educational opportunity, this is an ideal fit!  Ochsner has made a commitment to the growth of Graduate Medical Education and I am very excited about the future of medical education at Ochsner.

Please let your students know to look for us in ERAS (1102100171) and to contact me with any questions about the program. Our website is:

Sal J. Suau, MD
Program Director
Ochsner Health System
New Orleans, LA

Monday, September 23, 2019

New Programs: Summa Health in Ohio and HealthQuest in New York

A couple more programs have announced that they will be interviewing for the match this year.  Summa Health is re-establishing an EM residency and HealthQuest will be based in a new hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Please read the messages below from their Program Directors to learn more about these  atypical programs.  Many reading this will say, "I don't want any part of a new program".  That means that these are exactly what some other folks are looking for (places that may not get inundated with applications). 

Summa Health - Akron, Ohio

"I am excited to announce that the ACGME has granted Summa Health initial accreditation for emergency medicine. As some of you know, I began my career at Summa and came back to facilitate the accreditation. We have wonderful facilities, 85,000 patient volume in our main ED, great metrics, great faculty, and a dedicated system-wide GME apparatus. I am excited to begin interviewing for our first class!"

Michael S. Beeson, M.D., MBA, FACEP
Program Director, Department of Emergency Medicine
President-elect, American Board of Emergency Medicine
Professor of Emergency Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University
Summa Health
525 E. Market St.
PO Box 2090 | Akron, OH 44309-2090
p 330.375.6876 f

HealthQuest Vassar Brothers in Poughkeepsie, NY

The HealthQuest EM Residency Program with a primary clinical training site at Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Poughkeepsie, NY will be reviewed for accreditation by the ACGME RRC-EM in January, 2020. We are optimistic that we will be successful in receiving initial accreditation at that time and in anticipation of that we will begin interviews for an inaugural class to start July, 2020. We are not able to participate in ERAS yet but we are accepting applications via e-mail that must include your recommendation letters, CV, personal statement, Dean's letter, and USMLE scores. Sending a copy of your common ERAS applications is encouraged. Please send all application materials and further inquiries to Julia Demboski, Program Manager, or Marc Borenstein, MD, Program Director, Please visit the HealthQuest/Nuvance website for further information about the HealthQuest/Nuvance organization as well as the opening of a new Vassar Brothers Medical Center Hospital and Emergency Department in early 2020 as well as plans that are underway for the opening of a medical school in partnership with Marist College in 2022-2023.

Marc Borenstein
Program Director
Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center
Poughkeepsie NY

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

New Program: Valley Health System in Las Vegas!

For those looking to expand their search or escape to warm weather, there is a new program in Las Vegas:

 "I am pleased to announce that our new EM program at Valley Health System in Las Vegas, NV has just received initial accreditation.  We will be using ERAS and NRMP to obtain our initial class of 8 residents for July, 2020. Our program utilizes a diverse group of four teaching ED's and a rural EM curriculum.  Although we welcome applicants of diverse backgrounds, we are not able to sponsor any visas.
 Please feel free to forward this notice to any EM residency applicant that you feel would benefit from the opportunities presented by our new program. Our program should be listed in ERAS starting today.  Qualified applicants will be scheduled for in-person interviews.

 Anyone with specific questions, please feel free to contact me."
Thomas Swoboda, MD, MS, CPE
Residency Program Director
The Valley Health System
Las Vegas NV

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

ERAS is about to open to programs-are you ready?

ERAS opens to programs in just 4 days and applicants around the world are making their finishing touches. Here are answers to the questions we get asked the most:

How many programs should I apply to?
This depends on your competitiveness and where you ideally want to apply. Consider using EMATCH to look for risks within your own application and develop a targeted strategy.

What if I only have one SLOE posted on 9/15?
So this is multipart depending on if and when you will have a second SLOE:
If you have a second SLOE that will be posted within the next few weeks, you will be fine. It takes time for programs to review applications and many will wait a few weeks expecting another SLOE.

If you have a second SLOE coming later and you are not getting many interviews, consider sending an email to your top programs once the letter is posted. This is not necessary but might get you moved back into the review pile. Don't send 40 emails, only contact programs you are most interested in and email once, not over and over.

If you will only have one SLOE use EMRA Match to identify programs that will offer an interview with only one SLOE and apply to these to improve your odds.

When will I hear about interviews?
This will vary widely by program. Most programs will use a booking service and many try to send invitations in the evening to minimize interruptions to your clinical duties. There are also a group of programs that have agreed to a common release date of October 15th. As a generality you should expect most of your interview invitations to come in the month of October.

How many interviews is enough?
10-12 interviews is plenty. Ten will get you to a 95% probability of matching and twelve will get you to 99% per NRMP match data for EM.

Aren't more interviews better?
Not always, firstly it is hard to fit more than 2 interviews per week, travel is very expensive, and many applicants become exhausted during this process. You need to be on the whole time and it can get hard to appear interested and enthusiastic week after week. Those extra interviews are unlikely to improve your outcomes in the match, so put your time and money in the programs you are most interested in.

How can I ace my interviews?
Firstly make sure you know what to expect and how to determine what you need and want. This is different for every person but focus on what makes helps you learn and keeps you well. Make sure you leave enough time to make it to the pre-inteview social with residents and get the rest you need to be your best self. A classic blunder is getting your luggage lost, don't let it happen to you, so carry ons only.

Is it rude to cancel interviews?
No, if you have other opportunities that better match your needs simply let programs know with enough notice to offer the interview to another applicant. Please Please Please be generous with one another and cancel with at least 2 weeks notice so your spot can go to someone else.

While stressful the reward at the end of this application is well worth it - hang in and find ways to enjoy the ride

Lucienne Lutfy-Clayton is an APD at UMMS Baystate and the immediate past chair of CORD's API committee.