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I am one of the Orthopedic residents at Umass and just wanted to let people know a little about our program. This is the same post that I wrote on orthogate.com, so if you read that one then don't waste your time reading this. Everything I write about Umass is only my opinons, so take it with a grain of salt and it is slightly biased. Since there is no review about our program, I thought it would be helpful to the medical students that are interested in Ortho by writing this review.
One of the chiefs from last year showed me his case log and he had over 2500 loged as primary with the attending. (that was before the 80 hour work week took effect) We have a very early operative experience, you start doing a lot of the bread and butter cases very early on. One of the interns just finished his 3 months of ortho and he has done a few DHS screws skin to skin, plated fractures with the attending walking him through, and have done exposures to primary hips/knees and closed most of the incision, plus reduced many fx in the ED. The attendings here let you do alot in the OR very early in the training and there is always plenty of cases to go around, so you don't need to double scrub for the most part. And when you are the chief, I seen them walking the juniors through the case with the attending in the back.
Overall, our program is very busy with both the elective and trauma cases. The residents have an overall call of q 4 to q 5 for 5 years. You will have home call as a senior and each rotation is different in terms of how hard you will work. The trauma call is tough at the University. But in the end, you will come out a very compatent orthopod.
Our program recruited a new chairman, Dr. Ayers, about 3 years ago and he has done nothing but great things. Very well known in Joints and head of the Orthopedics Resident Education Committee in the American Academy of Orthopedics. We reorganized our conference schedule. Starting this month, we have fracture/trauma/MM conferences every M,Tue,and Thu mornings, Wed is usually Grand rounds (visiting professors/Umass Professors), with 3 hours of Core lectures on Friday mornings from 7-10am. Also every month, we have dedicated time where the Chair/program director will meet with all of the residents to talk about issues/events/changes or any other topics. We also have OITE review, Basic sciences, etc, during the month. What I really like about Umass, is that the attendings really enjoy teaching. We have attendings that are present for almost all of the morning conferences and they do alot of teaching in the clinics and OR.
Each year, there are 2 spots offered as 6 yr tracks with one yr of ortho research. There is plenty of opportunities and projects going on here. You will also be required to publish at least one article in order to graduate from the program. Umass just built a huge research building (Lazzar Building) about 4 yrs ago and have since increased their NIH funding from $30 Milion in 2001 to> $177 Million dollars in 2005. Umass medical school is in the Top 50 in terms of research ranking and top 5 in the primary care ranking. And a good medical school will always help the reputation of the residency program. Plus with all of the new research activities going on at Umass Med, there will always be plenty of basic science or clinical research for you as a ortho resident (collaborations with other labs, alot of the Ortho attendings have mult research going on, your own project, etc). Also our Chairman is very academic/research oriented so he will always have alot of projects or you can choose your own based on your interests.
We are the only level I trauma center in Central and Western Massachusetts. There is life flight which brings paitents from about 150 miles radius around Umass (people come from Conn, Vermont, NY, and all of Western + Central Mass), and I can tell you from being on the trauma service that we get a ton of ortho trauma cases all the time. Right now, Umass will finish building a New Emergency Department by Jan, 2006. It encompasses about 300,000 sq ft of space that will have about 70 new treatment rooms, 4 large trauma bays, whole new radiology department with CT and MRI on site, also 12 New ORs and with 4-5 of them as dedicated Orthopedics Operating Rooms. We are one of the busiest ED in the country with about 120,000 visits each year. The old emergency room will be converted into New Orthopedics clinics that will house the Sports, Trauma, and Peds services. There will also be 30 more ICU beds and the ED is buying a new Helicopter next year. All of the old ORs will be reamped and open at a later date. Since there is so much highway in Cent/Western Mass and plenty of EtOh and also lots of people with zero common sense, you will have a great Ortho trauma experience and see all kinds of fractures that your mind can imagine. We also rotate through Memorial Campus for the Joint/Spine/Foot Ankle services. This hospital has a private feel with nice floors and Operating rooms. For the Hand service, we Rotate through anther Hospital call Hannaman. And as a PGY-4, you will rotate 3 months at the New England Bapist. Also our chair is currently looking to bring a tumor guy on board sometimes in the future.
We have a great group of residents, everyone is very nice and laid back. Also the attendings here are very approachable and they are all mostly nice/benign in the OR. I think the atmosphere is one of the biggest reason why I decided on coming to Umass, I felt that I really fit with the people (residents and attendings). Alot of the attendings here are very involved with the teaching and care about the happiness of the residents. For the most part, I think everyone is very happy with the program and our program is pretty strict about the 80 hour work week. We have almost 30 full time academic attendings who are trained at many different places including Harvard, Umass, Columbia, Hopkins, UPenn, Case, Brown, etc, etc. So you will have a great learning experience. Some of our chiefs in the last fews years have gone to UCSD for trauma, New England Bapist/Carolinas for Spine, HSS for Sports (but declined due to military), Birgham/Harvard/Union Memorial Sports, and a few have head directly to private practice.
Worcester, MA, ..... well it is Worcester.... can't say much about it. But it is cheap for housing, most residents brought, or you can live closer to Boston. One resident that used to be here lived in Cambridge and it is a 45 min drive. You can split the distance and live in between Boston and Worcester if you want to be closer to the CITY. There is also a lot of colleges in Worcester, so the Bars can be pretty good during the school year. If you are married, then Worcester is the right place for you, since almost everyone here is married or close to it and it is cheap to live, lots of great family neiborghoods around, and you can definitely buy a place with a resident's salary.
I think We have a very good program and just want to let people know a little about us. Umass Ortho has a good mix of academics/teaching/Operative experience with a great group of residents/attendings in very nice facilities. (even better when the New ED/OR complexs open in 2006) I have really enjoyed my time here so far and if you are interested, throw us an application and if you get an interview, come and check us out. We require a 2 day interview (Friday and Sat) and the reason is that I think the program wants to get an feel for whether you would fit or not, and 2 days is not a long time, but it is a little better than just a one day 2 hour interview. I think last year we had around 400 applications for 4 spots, so it is pretty competitive, but that is the norm across the board for Ortho. My home program received almost 600 apps for 5 spots.
I wish you guys all the best in the application process and securing a spot in Ortho, it is a tough match, but all worth it in the end. I am sorry for the long post, and this is my first post on this site (used to check the posts here all the time last year, but never wrote anyting) I think this site have a lot of great info and also alot of crap. You just have to take what people say with a grain of salt.... including what I just wrote :D . And lastly, just wanted to say to everyone that there are a lot of great and quality programs out there with great residents and attendings, just find one that you feel the best fit or that you can see your self there 5 years and still be happy. In the end, everyone coming out of any accredited Ortho Program will be an "Orthopod" and end up in the BEST surgical subspeciality.
I just wanted to add that feel free to PM me if you have any questions. If you are a 3rd or 4th year medical student, and if you are very interested in our program, come and rotate with us. You can contact the residency coordinator, Michelle Auger, Michelle.Auger@umassmed.edu or call (508) 856-4262, to set up an rotation. Umass website is www.umassmed.edu
Thanks and good luck!!