My brain is smoking. After 14 straight days in the MICU—working with a brilliant team—I’ve begun wading through residency applications, 5218 as of this morning. Interviews start on October 27, so I’m moving fast.*
The pool is competitive and we can only interview a minority, so I have to cull the list. Here’s how I do it:
First, I eliminate candidates who don’t meet minimal thresholds: those who graduated more than five years ago, international students without US experience, and those who struggled with the USMLEs.
Second, I screen out candidates without meaningful scholarship, unless they can contribute in other ways, for example in leadership and advocacy. This screen demands nuance because candidates may have fewer opportunities if they don’t attend a major research institution like Yale.
Third, I pay attention to applicants who signaled us, since the majority of our current PGY1s signaled us last year. Given the limited number of interview slots, we need to focus on candidates who express interest. We still invite plenty of applicants who don’t signal us, assuming many will fall under our spell on interview day.
Fourth, I pay some attention, though less, to candidates who say they want to train in New England. This one’s tricky since I suspect that for some applicants, when they say “New England,” they really mean “Boston,” for example when they write “I loved college in Boston” or “my heart bleeds Celtics green.” But if they say “meet me at Pepe’s,” I’m hooked.
Finally, I group applicant by school, scrolling through MSPEs, saving only candidates who excelled on clerkships, particularly internal medicine, since strong clinical performance is non-negotiable.
Starting with 4314 categorical applicants, I hope to whittle down the list to about a thousand by the end of today. I’ll review the remaining files in great detail, focusing on leadership, scholarship, and potential contributions to the New Haven community and our social justice and diversity missions. I’ll pay special attention to candidates from underrepresented groups and those who have overcome socioeconomic and personal hardships. My goal is to send out invitations on October 13.
In a parallel effort, Drs. Silvia Vilarinho and Andrew Wang will be reviewing physician scientist candidates, and I’ll be reviewing candidates for the preliminary program. From now until we submit our rank lists on February 28, it will be, more or less, all recruitment all the time.
Next week, we’ll discuss how you can help us build another class of interns who are “as good as any, nicer than most.”
Enjoy your sunny Sunday, everyone! I’ll be heading out to the bike path before starting another marathon session with ERAS.
*If you’re a faculty or fellow who’d like to interview but haven’t joined the intern selection committee yet, please let Brett and me know! We’re welcoming new members.