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Why Yale (2018)?

October 14, 2018
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone,

Greetings from South Hero Island, VT in the middle of Lake Champlain! We’re spending a couple of nights in a farm house with the girls, celebrating our 31stanniversary and Heide’s (?) birthday. In a couple of hours we’re heading to Montreal for brunch.

Our first categorical interview day is just nine days away. Most of you will be interviewing, leading tours, sharing meals, or chatting with the applicants, so how will you respond when you’re asked, "Why Yale?" Our candidates are incredibly talented and can match wherever they want, so why should they come here? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Our hospitals: Yale-New Haven is one of the country’s largest hospitals. We care for a socioeconomically diverse, medically complex patient population. Our huge catchment area includes all of Connecticut and stretches from New York to Rhode Island to southern Massachusetts. Housestaff can care for all these patients, so they’re exposed to a wide range of illnesses from the "bread and butter" to the "once in a lifetime." Just this week in MICU, we saw patients with newly diagnosed CML, chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, orbital cellulitis, rhinovirus causing acute respiratory distress syndrome, amyloid cardiomyopathy, endocarditis with multiple embolic complications, two large variceal hemorrhages, and levamisole-induced vasculitis. We’re also fortunate to rotate at the West Haven VA, which is considered one of the country’s top VA hospitals, where we care for another richly deserving, challenging patient population.
  2. The Clinics: Residents can choose to work in several outpatient settings, including Firms A and B at the VA, the VA Center of Excellence, the YNHH Primary Care Center, the Fair Haven Community Health Center, and Yale Health. Next year, the YNHH PCC will be moving to Long Wharf and become a federally qualified health center, which will bring in robust new resources to help us care for our patients. Residents spend two out of every eight weeks on ambulatory blocks, during which they have continuity clinic, ambulatory subspecialty rotations, urgent visits, and multiple dedicated teaching sessions.
  3. The patients: We care for a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse patient population. Our patients include those with ancestors who came over on the Mayflower to many others who’ve just arrived, often as refugees. We care for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
  4. Specialty services: Our residents rotate through inpatient specialty services in liver disease (Klatskin), infectious diseases (Donaldson), renal disease (Peters), hematology (Duffy), geriatrics (Cooney), cardiology (Goodyer), and oncology. On these services, residents work with many of the nation’s leading specialists, where they can explore topics in depth, find research mentors, and consider career options. The rest of our inpatient services are general medicine and critical care, where residents work with fantastic hospitalists, intensivists, and other specialists, including basic and clinical investigators and elite clinician educators.
  5. Distinctions: All residents can pursue Distinctions in Medical Education, Investigation, Global Health & Equity, and Quality Improvement & Physician Leadership. The Distinctions allow residents to gain special expertise and enrich their training in areas of their choosing. Participation is non-competitive; all residents who want to join are welcome.
  6. The MACs: All residents are paired with a member of the faculty who serves as a Mentor-Advisor-Coach. MACs and residents meet several times a year, usually during ambulatory blocks. The MAC-resident relationship is non-evaluative and confidential. Meetings can be used to debrief, develop skills, plan careers, and address any issues the residents want to discuss.
  7. Scholarship: Most trainees pursue scholarship during residency through our Research-in-Residency program and by pursuing projects in quality improvement and medical education. Up to three months can be devoted to research, which is the maximum allowed by the ABIM. Many residents present their work at professional society meetings and publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals.
  8. The International Health Elective: We have the oldest International Health Elective in the country, offering scholarships from the Johnson & Johnson Global Health Scholars Program. Clinical sites are currently available in Africa (South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda) and Colombia, and we hope to return soon to Indonesia and Liberia.
  9. Writing: Every year we attract accomplished, ambitious writers to our program. We offer multiple writing opportunities, including the annual Writers’ Workshop, which is led by two highly-regarded physician authors, Drs. Lisa Sanders and Anna Reisman. Residents can participate in writing electives and many contribute to our residency journal,vThe Beeson Beat. Several have had their work featured in leading national journals including The Washington Post and The New York Times.
  10. Activities: Residents participate in a rich array of extracurricular activitiesincluding sports (for example the Beeson Bombers softball team^), arts (see our annual Arts Night and frequent nights at the museum*), journal clubs, and Wellness Activities.+
  11. Teaching philosophy: We are committed to a system of graduated autonomy. On most rotations, interns work 1:1 with their residents and quickly gain independence, so they are easily ready to run their own teams well before internship ends. We have multiple teaching conferences each week, including resident report, noon conferences, Grand Rounds, ambulatory conferences, and team teaching rounds.
  12. Wellness: Our Chiefs and Program Leadership are committed to the health and well-being of all trainees. Our resident-run wellness committee offers many outside activities and several residents participate in "Phone-a-Friend" program. Our ambulatory block system makes it easy for trainees to form tight-knit communities within the larger residency. A highlight of the year is our annual residency ball, held each year in early March.
  13. Career opportunities: Our graduates pursue a wide range of post-graduate careers. The most common pathway is a subspecialty fellowship and our residents do extremely well in the match year in and year out. Many residents also choose to pursue careers in hospital medicine and primary care, usually in academic settings.
  14. Social justice: We are committed to our mission to support the health and well-being of all patients regardless of their background or ability to pay. Many of our residents volunteer in our Wednesday evening Refugee Clinic and can also volunteer in our Asylum Medicine Clinic. There are also many opportunities to participate in advocacy activities sponsored by the resident senate.
  15. Residency leadership: Residents play key roles in all program decisions. The Executive Council meets monthly to advise residency leadership and has led several important efforts, including the switch to a block schedule several years ago and the development of the Distinctions. The Program Evaluation Committee is led by resident leaders in collaboration with teaching faculty and is charged with reviewing clinical rotations and our annual ACGME review. We are committed to the principle that our residency should be run by and for the residents.
  16. Climate: To provide the best care for our patients and promote effective learning, we are committed to fostering a just, kind, respectful working environment so everyone can thrive.
  17. New Haven: New Haven is a robust, thriving, affordable, cosmopolitan community. We have wonderful restaurants, museums, theaters, and countless exciting activities available on the Yale campus. There are ample opportunities for outdoor activities including running, biking, and hiking. We are just a short distance from the Long Island Sound, a short drive from ski areas, and an easy ride to both Boston and NYC.
  18. The people: This is the most important. From the moment I arrived at Yale in 1992, I knew I was home. Our residents and faculty are brilliant and committed to exceptional medical care, teaching, and science. But they’re so much more than that: they’re kind, compassionate, funny, energetic, warm, and supportive. As Fred Kantor famously says, we’re "as good as any, nicer than most." I can’t imagine anywhere else I’d rather be.

I could go on, and I have no doubt that each of you could add to the list. An exciting interview season is fast approaching and scores of wonderful applicants will be visiting. Let’s highlight the wonders that await them if they choose to join us.

Have a great day everyone- we’re off to Montreal today to celebrate Heide’s birthday at Lemeac.


Mark D. Siegel, MD, FCCP, FACP

Professor of Internal Medicine

Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine

Program Director,

Traditional Internal Medicine Residency

Yale School of Medicine

Phone: 203-785-7113

Fax: 203-785-7030

Cell: 203-589-6387

Pager: 203-370-0167

Submitted by Mark David Siegel on October 14, 2018