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Dread and Excitement, But Mostly Excitement

October 18, 2020
by Mark David Siegel

“As good as any, nicer than most.”

-Fred Kantor, Paul B. Beeson Professor Emeritus of Medicine

Hi everyone:

I’m facing Wednesday with a mix of dread and excitement. Well, mostly excitement. In this COVID-delayed year, recruitment season is starting late, but on Wednesday at 9AM, it begins. Every year, we get thousands of applications, but this time we’re expecting more because of remote interviewing, which eliminates travel expenses. So, from Wednesday morning until the list goes in on March 3, it will be all recruitment all the time.

The residents we seek can train anywhere they want, so how do we entice them to New Haven? What distinguishes us? Why Yale? I have a thousand answers, but here are 10:

  1. Clinical training: Between YNHH and VACT, we care for an immensely diverse community of patients. New Haven has been ranked #1 in the country in its reflection of America’s population. Our catchment area extends to New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and beyond. From the bread and butter to the rarest of the rare, you will see a vast array of conditions and learn from some of the country’s top physicians. We offer specialty services in oncology, hematology, liver disease, infectious diseases, cardiology, nephrology, and geriatrics, as well as exceptional ICUs and resident-run general medicine services. We have phenomenal outpatient clinics caring for veterans and our New Haven neighbors. We emphasize “graduated autonomy,” which means you will get all the support you need from the start, knowing that when you graduate, there will be no clinical challenge you can’t handle.
  2. Education: We offer a rich array of teaching conferences, including spectacular Chief-led Morning Reports, a comprehensive noon conference series, a writers’ workshop, and teaching rounds led by residents and internationally-renowned faculty. We are devoted to “teaching the teacher,” so you will learn how to run conferences, identify the needs of learners, and give meaningful feedback. You will learn the most important skills at the bedside from senior residents and faculty. A special bonus: the Yale Office-Based Medicine Curriculum, edited by our primary care faculty, is used by more than one hundred residency programs throughout the country.
  3. Scholarship: There is no end to scholarship opportunities at Yale. With over 500 faculty members in our Department alone, research opportunities are limitless. We offer protected time for investigation through our Research-in-Residency program and ample scholarship opportunities in quality improvement, patient safety, and education, as well as funding to support your work and travel to conferences.
  4. Career opportunities: After training, most residents enter subspecialty fellowship, while many others pursue academic hospital medicine and primary care. From the moment you arrive at Yale, we will work with you to hone your portfolios with research and leadership opportunities, which will make you prime candidates for any career path you choose.
  5. Advising: Every categorical intern is paired with a faculty mentor-advisor-coach (the “MAC”), who serves as a trusted confidante and is fully devoted to your career development and wellbeing. You will also be assigned a senior resident as a peer advisor. Finally, we have a rich tradition of “open doors,” and you will have no trouble finding faculty who share your interests. Advising is just a phone call away.
  6. Distinctions: We offer four Distinctions, which allow residents to pursue advanced learning and skill development in four areas- education, investigation, global health & equity, and quality improvement & physician leadership. Residents who commit to a Distinction attend seminars and pursue additional scholarship in their chosen pathway. This year, by popular demand, we are developing a new Distinction devoted to Race, Bias, and Advocacy in Medicine. More to follow!
  7. Social justice: Commitment to social justice is one of the pillars of our mission. Examples include our resident-run Refugee Clinic, advocacy for affordable healthcare, our cultural competency and anti-racism curricula, and efforts to promote diversity and inclusion within our community. In addition, our global health program is one of the oldest and best-funded in the country, offering residents opportunities to develop partnerships at training sites throughout the world.
  8. Wellness: Our devotion to your wellness knows no limits. Key to this effort is a residency leadership committed to listening, to transparency, and to advocating for you.* We’ve designed the rotation schedule to ensure predictability and promote community within your assigned ambulatory “color blocks.” During the Spring wave of COVID, we revamped our schedules to guarantee all residents time to eat, exercise, sleep, socialize, and recharge. We also ensured that everyone had ample access to PPE and were kept informed with frequent Town Hall Meetings. We provide protected time for residents to schedule personal medical and dental appointments, and we offer free counseling services, supported by the hospital. We have frequent social events planned by our resident-run Wellness committee as well as an annual ball and our very own annual Arts Night. In the hospital, we strive to make your work meaningful and rewarding, and to recognize your efforts. And, not least, New Haven is a wonderful place to live, with an affordable cost of living, abundant housing within walking distance of the hospital, a world-class university, museums, theaters, restaurants, places to hike, bike, and run, access to beaches and skiing, and a scrumptious food scene.
  9. Agency: To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, we aim to be a program “of the residents, by the residents, and for the residents.” We have committees and interest groups for everything- a governing body (the Executive Council), a resident-run Program Evaluation Committee (PEC), sports teams (especially our softball team, the Beeson Bombers), a resident periodical (the Beeson Beat), a recruitment committee (the Welcoming Committee), a Wellness Committee, journal clubs, a Women in Medicine Group, Distinction Leadership, education committees (inpatient, ambulatory, POCUS), a resident-run procedure team, and ad hoc committees (note-writing and 28-hour call). Residents also participate in the Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee as well as the GME Office’s Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC) and Resident Fellow Senate. To the extent that we thrive as a program, we do so because our residents identify challenges, seek solutions, and strive to make us the best program we can be.
  10. The people: If you’re going to choose Yale for one reason and one reason only, come for the people. We come from diverse religious, ethnic, racial, and geographic backgrounds. All are welcome here, no matter what you look like, where you come from, or whom you love. You’ll find talented residents wherever you go, but you’ll never find a group that is friendlier, kinder, more creative, or more open-minded and generous than ours. When you come to Yale you join a family. We take care of one another, and that’s the secret to our success, the key to our wellness, and the most important reason we recruit such wonderful residents, year after year.

I could go on, but that’s enough for now. As I look forward to reviewing thousands of applications this week, nothing makes me more excited than the prospect of recruiting another phenomenal class of Yale interns.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone. Get some sun!


*The Relationship Between Residents' Perceptions of Residency Program Leadership Team Behaviors and Resident Burnout and Satisfaction (H/T to Hedy Wald):

Submitted by Mark David Siegel on October 18, 2020