Faculty Survey Results

  • Survey Respondent: Michael O. Koch, MD, Department Chair
    Residency Program: Indiana University
    If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?
    We have one of the highest surgical volumes for major cancer and reconstructive cases in the nation. We also have one of the largest pediatric experiences in the country with 5 full time pediatric urologists on staff.
    What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?
    We are looking for intelligent hard working students that can get along well with our faculty and co-residents.
    What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?
    Letters of recommendation from trusted colleagues. Grades on surgery, medicine and urology.
    What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?
    Urology is highly competitive and each year 30-35% of applying students do not match. If you are persistent, you can usually find a position eventually, but if you are not as competitive, you should consider what your contingency plan will be. Work hard on your clinical rotations. You need to distinguish yourself on your surgical and urology rotations.
  • Survey Respondent: Charles Brendler, MD, Department Chair
    Residency Program: University of Chicago
    If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?
    If I were an applicant, I would choose to train at the University of Chicago because we offer a strong, diversified clinical program coupled with a firm commitment to and established funding for research. Our outstanding faculty and residents work together in a collegial environment to provide the best possible patient care and to advance the field of urology through discovery.
    What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?
    The University of Chicago urology program seeks to attract bright, enthusiastic, and personable young men and women who are excited about urology and willing to work hard not only clinically but also in helping to make discoveries which will improve patient care.
    What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?
    The parts of the application which we consider most important in ranking applicants are clinical performance during clerkships, board scores, and academic honors, particularly AOA. Letters of recommendation and the personal statement are also important but less so because it is difficult to make objective comparisons between applicants based on letters and personal statements.
    What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?
    * I would advise prospective applicants to apply to a broad range of urology programs commensurate with their academic records. I would recommend doing at least one sub-internship at the applicant's own medical school so that the urology faculty there can get to know the applicant well and write meaningful letters of recommendation. I would consider doing a second sub-internship at another institution in which the applicant is very interested.
    * When interviewing, I would talk to the urology residents at each program because they will provide the most accurate information about that program. I would specifically inquire about faculty availability, particularly the chairman, and how much the chairman and other faculty travel. I would also ask about research opportunities and support for resident education.
    * Make your personal statement concise (no longer than one page), and try to emphasize some unique aspect of your life which will catch the interest of the reader. Remember that the reviewer will probably be reading at least 200 of these statements.
    * Finally, in addition to the chairman of urology at your own medical school, obtain letters of recommendation from three other individuals who know you particularly well and can make meaningful comments about your abilities. Do not ask all of the urology faculty at your institution to write letters. The chairman's letter is the one that counts. Consider asking faculty in other medical disciplines who know you well to write your additional letters of recommendation.
  • Survey Respondent: LTC Ronald S. Sutherland, MD, Residency Program Director
    Residency Program: Tripler Army Medical Center
    If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?
    In one sentence, our urology training program provides the highest quality urological education in an academically rigorous and faculty-supporting environment. As a bonus, residents enjoy living in incredibly beautiful Hawaii.
    What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?
    Medical students interested in our program should demonstrate a high degree of motivation to study urological surgery and be willing to serve in the armed services.
    What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?
    Positive letters of recommendation highlighting the student's knowledge base, clinical performance and personal attributes and qualities.
    What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?
    Students should rotate through our program for at least a week to understand what military urology is like and the various aspects of the training program. It will give the faculty a chance to get to know them as well. Because urology residencies are highly competitive, we generally select from the highest qualified applicants. Applicants are encouraged to publish. An accomplished curriculum vitae is often the discriminator when selecting from equally highly qualified applicants.
  • Survey Respondent: Martha K. Terris, MD, Residency Program Director
    Residency Program: Georgia Regents University
    If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?
    The Section of Urology at the Medical College of Georgia offers a fully accredited postgraduate residency training program designed to prepare selected physicians to evaluate, understand, and manage medical and surgical aspects of genitourinary disorders. In addition to providing a rigorous clinical training program, the Urology Section strives to create an atmosphere of scientific curiosity and endeavor. Residents complete the program with solid clinical skills and academic strength to start a successful clinical practice or a competitive fellowship.
    What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?
    As with all programs, a student's performance on Part 1 of the National Board of Medical Examiners licensing examination, quality of their medical school, medical school classroom performance, letters of recommendation, and any research productivity are factors determining who will be offered an interview. At the interview, interpersonal skills, attitude, and compatibility with our team are evaluated.
    What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?
    There is no single component that is most important. Strength in one area may compensate for another area that is less strong.
    What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?
    * First and second year medical students considering urology as a specialty should identify members of the urology faculty at their medical school who are willing to review their curriculum vitae and offer specific advise regarding enhancing their application. Generally, if the student's schedule allows, participation in a research project will improve the chances of matching with a program high on their list. The more in-depth the research, the more the application is enhanced. Research does not necessarily have to be in the field of urology to boost one's application. If the student is unsure of having adequate time to complete a project, however, she should not obligate herself. Failing to follow-through on the research commitment will reflect more poorly on the applicant than the lack of any research experience.
    * Medical students interested in urology should participate in a urology rotation at their home institution late in their junior year or early in their senior year. Students should strive to perform their best during this rotation. Once becoming familiar with the faculty, prospective urology residents should solicit letters of recommendation from the urology leadership at their medical school. Participating in a urology rotation at an institution other than the student's home institution may be beneficial if it is a program at which the student is particularly interested completing residency training. A visiting student rotation can also give students the chance to impress the urology faculty at another institution if their clinical skills outweigh their academic record or who attend a medical school of lesser reputation. Other elective clinical rotations to consider during medical school include general surgery, renal transplantation, pediatric surgery, nephrology, neurology, gynecology, radiology, pathology, and anesthesia.
    To arrange an elective rotation with the MCG Section of Urology or another MCG specialty, contact the Curriculum Office at (706) 722-4805 or check their website at www.mcg.edu/SOM/coffice. For non-MCG students the URL is www.mcg.edu/SOM/coffice/OtherStudents/electives.htm.
  • Survey Respondent: Chad W.M. Ritenour, MD, Residency Program Director
    Residency Program: Emory University
    If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?
    When you combine an active faculty with an outstanding location, an excellent program results. I think we have that combination at Emory. With five residency-associated hospitals, including a large county hospital and VA hospital, the variety of surgical cases and pathology is outstanding. Exposure to phenomenal clinical and basic science research is possible. Resident education is a priority. Most importantly, the potential for the individual and the program is limitless.
    What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?
    We are looking for residents who will take excellent care of our patients and who will act as good representatives of our department. We are seeking individuals with dynamic personalities who will question and examine new areas of urology. Moreover, we are looking to train people who are excited about their choice of urology and their future career.
    What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?
    I read a candidate's entire application and then make an overall decision regarding academic strength and personality. I think each component has some weight in the choice to interview an applicant. Letters of recommendation are important because they give the most insight into how others perceive the applicant. Honestly, at most programs, I believe board scores, as they are the only objective standard, carry the most initial weight. Personal statements rarely help or hurt a candidate's potential.
    What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?
    Several things are important. First and foremost, look for a place where you could be happy for five or six years. Secondly, look for a program where things (e.g. research, resident development, surgery) are actively being developed and improved; historically good programs need to continue to be progressive. Last, find a program that will help you get to your next career step, whatever that may be. Good luck.
  • Survey Respondent: M. Louis Moy, MD- Residency Program Director
    Residency Program: University of Florida
    If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?

    UF Urology has a longstanding track record of training outstanding urologists that have assumed leadership positions both in the academic world and community setting. Established as a departemnt in 2007 we have continued to build on this tradition of excellence to train highly qualified urologic surgeons. Attractive features of the UF urology residency program include:

    o High volume surgical experience that includes endourology, open, laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery o A fully accredited training program that embraces the values of innovation, compassion and discovery

    o An internationally recognized faculty that is strongly committed to resident training

    o Strong focus on evidence-based, multidisciplinary patient care o Exceptional research opportunities and mentorship for aspiring academic urologists o Gainesville is ranked number 1 for its high quality of life, including low cost of living, and a small-town feel with big-town features.

    What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?

    UF Urology is looking for well rounded, self motivated individuals that work well in teams and are committed to providing the best possible care to every single patient. Furthermore, we are particularly interested in mentoring the academic development of individuals who wish to pursue fellowship and faculty positions.

    What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?

    The UF residency review committee carefully reviews the entire application package of every single applicant. Important components of the application include the personal statement, academic interest, research experience and letters of recommendation. Applicants that best fit these selection criteria are invited for a personal interview. The final ranking incorporates all these dimensions.

    What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?

    * Take every opportunity to expose yourself to the practice of urology not only at your home institution.

    * Involve yourself in research, but don’t wait until months before the application deadline to do so.

    * “Dig in” with the residents by taking responsibility both on the ward and the operating room to make sure that you have a good understanding of what awaits you in residency and that you enjoy what you will be doing for the next five years.

    * Talk to the current residents of a program to get a sense of what the relationship among the residents and between residents and faculty is like.

    * Choose a training program that excites you and that has a clear upward trajectory.

  • Survey Respondent: Joseph D. Schmidt, MD, Department Chair
    If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?
    The UCSD Urology Residency Training program is a closely-knit program with a nearly 1:1 faculty/resident ratio. Faculty and attending supervision is close and responsibilities for patient care, including operative experience, increase appropriately through the 4 years of the training program.
    What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?
    Not only an individual who has a good fund of knowledge and good use of hands, but someone who can work interdependently with his or her co-residents as well as with the faculty.
    What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?
    Apart from objective examination scores that are some help in triaging applications, the most significant information is that which is included in the letters of recommendation. They are especially significant when coming from practicing urologists and particularly important if those urologists are in academic health centers and well known to my faculty or me.
    What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?
    As I tell each student that I interview, as well as those interested in urology from our own school, do not think or apply geographically. Look for the best or better programs no matter where they're located or where you feel you would be well treated, well trained, and happy.
  • Survey Respondent: Linda Shortliffe, MD, Department Chair
    Residency Program: Stanford University
    If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?
    - Research opportunity helps allow decision making about academic medicine and interests - Depth of subspecialty coverage - Patient and institutional diversity - Size of program - Location
    What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?
    - Critical mind and interest in academic questions in both clinical and basic urology - Motivation to achieve excellence in area(s) - Organization and ability to discuss topics - Emotional intelligence
    What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?
    Past performance
    What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?
    Perform realistic self-assessment of your interest in urology and your level of competitiveness with others who may be applying and then apply to a range of institutions.
  • Survey Respondent: Herbert C. Ruckle, MD, Department Chair
    Residency Program: Loma Linda University
    If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?
    The Loma Linda University urology program provides a diverse training experience utilizing Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda University Children's Hospital, Jerry Pettis VA Hospital, and two nearby county facilities. Our faculty members are dedicated to providing a learning environment based on the highest quality patient care and advancing urologic research.
    What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?
    We look for motivated individuals passionate about the field of urology who will be our colleagues and ambassadors of our program after completing their training.
    What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?
    All parts of the application are considered. The interviews and past performance are emphasized.
    What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?
    Understand that urology has become very competitive. Make a realistic assessment of your competitiveness and formulate a winning plan. This is a great field!
  • Survey Respondent: Herbert C. Ruckle, MD, Department Chair
    Residency Program: University of Arizona
    If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?
    As one of the only programs in the country to employ only fellowship trained urology attendings (Female Urology, Oncology, Laparoscopy) at the University Medical Center, we offer excellent subspecialty training. We also send our residents to a large private practice group, which teaches a more "general urology" rotation. The Arizona VA Hospital provides the residents with an experience concentrating on continuity of care--you meet the patient, evaluate the patient, schedule the surgery, perform the surgery, and follow-up the patient with attending supervision. We also rotate with fellowship trained pediatric urologists at an outside site, and in Tucson with two fellowship trained infertility specialists.
    What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?
    We are looking for applicants with a desire to enter academic medicine, willing to produce during residency, and who show an interest in teaching.
    What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?
    We take the entire application seriously, and we do not necessarily make any specific scores for grades, boards, personal statement, or extracurricular activities. But clearly, those applicants who demonstrate a desire for academic endeavors enjoy an advantage.
    What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?
    My advice to applicants hoping to match in Urology is to realize that the field has become quite competitive. Do not limit yourself to too few applications and interviews. Be the shopper--rank the programs in the order you want, rather than figuring who wants you. Enjoy the interviews, learn about the programs, and FEEL FREE TO CALL the attendings or residents for any further questions.