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The Last All-Nighter

July 15, 2018
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone,

I thought I’d put the all-nighters behind me, but it wasn’t meant to be. The deadline for posting this year’s fellowship letters was fast-approaching and I was in the zone. So it wasn’t until 5AM last Monday, as pale sunlight filtered through my office windows, that I posted the last of 33 letters of recommendation. Here’s this year’s specialty breakdown:

  • Allergy & Immunology (1)
  • Cardiology (8)
  • Geriatrics (1)
  • GI (7)
  • Heme-Onc (9)
  • ID (1)
  • Nephrology (1)
  • PCCM (5)

We’ve clumped specialties more than usual this year, but rest assured, future applicants: if you want to do endocrinology, rheumatology, palliative care, or anything else, we’ll support you. No doubt in the next few weeks, I’ll be hearing from residents pursuing hospitalist positions, primary care, and GIM fellowships.

For those of you wondering what goes into a Program Director’s letter, I’ve attached my “female” template (the male one is the same, except for the pronouns). To compose each letter, I add the resident’s name and specialty, pick adjectives, and insert quotes from faculty and peer evaluations- but not the ones meant for constructive feedback. I finish the letters off with a summary adjective (Exceptional, Outstanding, Excellent, or Good), using a rubric explained in the footnote. Fortunately, no one was “good” this year.

For those of you planning to apply in the future, look closely at the letter’s content, which describes clinical performance, medical knowledge, teaching, communication, interpersonal skills, scholarship, and extracurricular activities. The ideal fellowship candidate excels in all these areas. The reality is you write your own letters with the work you do. Go all out for your patients. Study. Teach. Show your emotional intelligence. Pursue scholarship. Join a committee. Lead a journal club. Promote wellness. Help with recruitment. Be a good citizen and support each other.

It was a joy to write letters for such marvelous candidates, though it took a couple of days to recover. We’re going to have another fantastic fellowship match this year. Good luck to all.



All PD Notes:

PS For those who didn’t see it, here’s the baseball I picked up at Citi Field last Wednesday!

Submitted by Mark David Siegel on July 15, 2018