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Why Yale 2023 Edition (Residents and Alumni Weigh In)

October 15, 2023
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone,

I’m in the MICU again and still have about 300 categorical applications to review, down from 4000+. This morning, I’m grateful for many things, especially the residents and alumni who helped me write this Note, answering the question “why Yale?” Here’s what they said:

  • Ali Khan; Chief Medical Officer, Oak Street Health; Yale Traditional Class of 2013:
    • I interviewed in New Haven toward the end of a long stretch of couples-match-necessitated interviews in November and December - Yale was all that stood between me and a much-needed holiday break. Twenty-plus interviews in, my litmus test for programs was worn down to three questions. Two of them were straightforward: Does the program gave the high level of clinical rigor I seek, coming from a public hospital/medical school? Has this program supported the interests of residents like me, with leadership wishes and policy dreams, with depth? One, however, was visceral: Are these the people that I want to be awake with at two o’clock in the morning? Thirty minutes into dinner, I knew in my gut that the answer was yes - and the next day only confirmed it. I’ve never looked back.
  • Cate Wright; Yale Cardiology Fellow; Yale Traditional Class of 2022:
    • I chose Yale because of its people: I was an intern during the initial days of the COVID pandemic, and felt fully supported even when recommendations were changing rapidly. I remember constant open and honest communication from our PD and chiefs, frequent town halls, and the comfort going to work knowing that our program had our backs with regard to PPE, vaccines etc. The education opportunities are plentiful, coresidents are fun to work and play with, and the program is consistently open to feedback (concrete changes have been made over the years). If I had to, I would definitely choose Yale all over again! 🙂
  • Hayden Pacl, Yale PGY1 (PSTP):
    • There's many great reasons to choose Yale, not least of which is that Yale is an exceptional institution for both medicine and research. Most importantly for me, though, I felt this program respected me as a professional and a person. This program offered me a competitive PGY salary scale relative to cost of living, great health insurance for me and my family (value ~$1500/month), a retirement portfolio and employer match, and 8 weeks parental leave for the birth of my son. While these benefits are arguably standard to working adults across the country, they are simply not standard across residencies. In fact, I could not reliably find any of these important features at other programs, let alone all of them in one. Certainly training is more than compensation, and frankly Yale stands apart by those criteria alone. But you also deserve to go to a program that respects you as a professional and a person—and you'll find that at Yale.
  • Bahadir Simsek, Yale PGY1 (Categorical):
    • Amazing co-residents!
  • Paul Fiorilli, Program Director, Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Training Program (University of Pennsylvania), Yale Traditional Class of 2013:
    • The people. Of all of the great things that Yale has and does well, the people and the relationships have always been the most important.
  • Yuxin Liu, Attending Physician (Myeloma Group), Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Yale Traditional Class of 2020:
    • For me, Yale has been where I have met my life-long friends (many of whom were at my wedding this past June!) and where I have found the most extraordinary mentors who not only are so well accomplished and giants in the field but also so caring, humble and have really taken the time and interest to help and several other trainees. I have witnessed over time how the residency always strives for betterment and followed through and made changes each year to improve resident wellbeing and education, and everyone in the leadership are always willing to continue improving. Opportunities for research, education, advocacy, leadership, and more are all here as well as plenty of fun and bonding!
  • Sebastian Placide, WHVAMC Chief Resident for Quality and Safety, Yale Traditional Class of 2023:
    • Being from a tight knit family and community in Brooklyn, I always gravitate towards places where I feel that I will be part of a family. Yale was it for me. Between our wonderful residents and program director, who gets to know us on a personal level, I was sold!" This was my answer to "Why Yale?" a little over 3 years ago during my Resident Roundup interview. My answer still holds true today. I enjoyed my experience in residency tremendously and felt that I grew as a clinician through the support of my co-residents and my attendings. I felt that my voice was heard and that doors were open to me to fulfill my goals. I have made lifelong friends here. Clearly I enjoyed it so much, I stayed on as a chief 😝
  • Andrew Boyd, CDC Medical Officer, Yale Traditional Class of 2013:
    • I still remember the three reasons I chose Yale for residency:
      • 1) Fair Haven Community Health Clinic: an FQHC where almost my entire panel spoke Spanish. When I visited Yale, I said I would like to do clinic there, and that's where I was assigned once I matched. Seeing my patients there, I felt like I was connecting with the New Haven community in a unique way. Here's who was there while I was: Chris Erb, Lisa Puglisi, Jackie Moss, Nico Arger, Michael Chiorazzi. All-stars.
      • 2) Global Health Scholars program: I wanted to do global clinical medicine, and Yale had the infrastructure to support this and celebrated sending residents to do these rotations. I did a 6 week rotation in inpatient internal medicine at two hospitals in Kigali, Rwanda. I overlapped with Justin List while there, and we shared a house together. I got better at my physical examination and saw pathology I had never seen before. I did teaching rounds and didactic sessions with residents. In 2019, I was staying in a tent in a convent courtyard in eastern DRC alongside WHO colleagues responding to an Ebola outbreak; Dr. Remy, one of the Rwanda residents I worked closely with on my rotation in Rwanda, was leading the clinical care team there. Another story about this: in 2017 I was doing a project in Liberia. Standing in the lobby of my hotel, I was elated to see Dr. Rastegar and Dr. Ogbuagu, who were there evaluating a site for placement of residents for rotation. Small world.
      • 3) The Yale residents writing course: writing about the clinical encounter and the physician role in health was important to me. Yale was the only place I visited for residency that celebrated this aspect of being a physician, and backed up that celebration by supporting a writing course for residents. Taking the course was very fun and taught me new skills. Some excellent physician writers in the room! Plus I benefited more broadly in this regard from having you, an excellent writer, as PD.
      • Once I got to Yale, there were other things I loved about it. Working in (and then running) the refugee clinic exposed me to a diverse population in need and one I liked serving; my clinical work now is at the county refugee clinic here in Atlanta. I learned how to be a good relationship partner and support friends in stressful times. And Yale residency shaped me into a physician leader. The skills I learned there have helped me at CDC lead large groups toward a goal, make decisions, and seek consensus.
  • Abdelrahman Abushouk, Yale PGY1 (Categorical):
    • Yale attendings are brilliant diagnosticians and many of them are proud alumni of the program. I noticed that people tend to stay here after training, which is a testimony to the culture at Yale. Also, if you are passionate about medical education, everyone here loves to teach. Yale medical students are truly exceptional and working with them offers an enriching, two-way learning experience. Finally, whatever your professional interests are besides clinical medicine (social justice, health economics, informatics/data science, you name it), you will find someone here to work with and learn from.
  • Juan Batlle, Yale PGY1 (Categorical):
    • There is no doubt that Yale offers a strong and diverse clinical experience, endless opportunities to develop your future career (research, education, public health, etc..), amazing mentorship, and a wonderful teaching curriculum. But being honest, other programs can offer similar things as well. Where Yale stood out the most to me and caught my attention, was in the environment and support. Right away, I felt a great spirit among the residents and faculty, everyone was so welcoming. The culture of the program made me feel at home and valued. I could perceive their genuine interest in getting to know me as a person during my interview. Adding to all of the above, New Haven is an enjoyable location with a lot to offer which made my choice of coming here an easy one.
  • Johnathan Yao, Yale PGY3 (Categorical)
    • Clinical training is amazing across both the VA and the main campus where autonomy is slowly handed out and one becomes comfortable learning bread and butter community medicine and the sickest most complex patients under sub-specialty expert care. But Yale is most special for its culture! The special leadership sets a tone that recognizes the humanity in each of its trainees. Mentorship is individualized and with unlimited resources, any academic path is not only a possibility but a reality. With such support and care, trainees can flourish and take the best care of their patients, which is the underpinning of the work we do. There is a real priority on wellness too that not only recognizes but encourages lives and interests outside of the hospital.

A special thanks to everyone who helped write today’s Note. Our first interview day is just 12 days away, which reminds me…I better finish reviewing these great applications! But first, off to the MICU, where the question “why Yale” easily answers itself.

See you soon!


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Hear My Name: Mark Siegel

Submitted by Mark David Siegel on October 15, 2023