Guide to Course Selection


Information for the specialty of:

Anesthesia

One of the main functions of the Anesthesiologist is to safely guide the patient through the intra-operative period with both pre-and post-operative management being equally as important.  The field demands a solid knowledge of physiology and pharmacology, as well as familiarity with surgical and medical principles.  Anesthesiologists also are involved outside the operating room in the Labor Suite, Intensive Care Unit, and pain management.  Both Intensive Care Medicine and Pain Management represent subspecialties of Anesthesiology with a high demand.  Training may also be completed in areas such as cardiac, neurologic, obstetric, pediatric, and regional anesthesia.

School Required Sub-I Category:
Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Medicine or Pediatrics with the inpatient experience of Family Medicine, Medicine, or Pediatrics recommended.

Department Required Courses:
ANE200
ANE300
Critical Care:  Surgical, Medical, or Neurological are acceptable

Highly Recommended:
Pain
Pediatric Anesthesia
Cardiology
Pulmonary Medicine
Neurology
Radiology
Palliative Care
Renal

Helpful:
Research in Anesthesia

Letters of Recommendation:
3-4

Residency Application Process Advisors:
Lee Fleisher MD
Emily Gordon MD, MSEd
Dimitry Baranov, MD
Jason Walls MD

To learn more about Penn's Department of Anesthesia, visit their website at: https://www.pennmedicine.org/departments-and-centers/anesthesiology-and-critical-care

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Dermatology

The field of Dermatology offers a wide range of career options, including general office-based practice, an academic appointment with basic science, clinical, or epidemiological research, dermatologic surgery/procedural dermatology, pediatric dermatology, and dermatopathology. Dermatologists care for patients of all ages with both acute and chronic skin diseases as well as for patients with dermatologic manifestations of systemic disease. A strong preparation in internal medicine is advised; some surgical experience may enhance the experience but is not required.

As with other specialties, strong letters of recommendation written by faculty members who know you well are important.Four letters of recommendation are required with submission of your application. One of the four should speak to your clinical acumen in other areas (such as a medicine sub-I, etc.) with at least 2, preferably three other letters from dermatology. If you are an MD PhD student, one of your four letters should be from your PhD. It is best to ask a mentor or faculty member who has worked with you clinically for an extended period (at least one week) or with whom you have completed a longitudinal research project. Being able to speak to your specific strengths in a letter of recommendation is highly beneficial.

School Required Sub-Internship:
Emergency medicine
Family Medicine
Internal Medicine
Pediatrics

Department Required Courses:
DER300

Highly Recommended Courses:
Infectious Disease
Hematology / Oncology
Rheumatology
Additional Dermatology electives:
Pediatric Dermatology
Dermatopathology
Dermatology Away Rotation
Dermatology research

Helpful Courses:
Plastic surgery
ENT
Ophthalmology (if interested in procedural dermatology)
Allergy & Immunology
Medical Genetics
Pathology

Letters of Recommendation:
4 letters of recommendation, including:

  • 1 letter that speaks to your clinical acumen, ideally from Medicine (or Peds) sub-I.
  • At least 2, ideally 3, letters from Dermatology.
  • For MD-PhD students, 1 letter of recommendation from your PhD thesis advisor

It is best to ask faculty members who have worked with you clinically for an extended period (i.e. at least 1-2 weeks) or with whom you have completed a longitudinal research project. A letter from someone who knows you well and can speak to your specific strengths in their letter of recommendation is highly beneficial.

Residency Application Process Advisors:
Katherine Steele, MD

Career Counselors in Dermatology (Assigned by OSA for 3rd year students interested in Derm)

Away Electives
Optional, and only recommend in certain circumstances. 

Away electives are an opportunity for you to show your interest in and get to know another residency program in more depth than you can on a typical interview day. It is also an opportunity for the attendings and residents at another program to get to know you well over a month long period. I recommend that students consider an away elective if: 1) there is a particular program that you are very interested in, or 2) if there is a particular city or region of the country that you are hoping to end up, especially if you have not spent significant time there previously (e.g. hoping to match at a program on the west coast or in the midwest, but have spent your entire life on the east coast).

To learn more about Penn's Department of Dermatology visit their website at: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/dermatol/

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Emergency Medicine

Emergency Medicine (EM) is a diverse and rewarding medical specialty that focuses on the acute care of patients with all types of illnesses from all walks of life.  Emergency physicians provide a wide range of services including coordinating pre-hospital care, directing emergent resuscitations, and providing care and advocacy to patients with poor overall access to the healthcare system.  In any one shift an emergency physician may direct a major trauma or medical resuscitation, deliver a baby, provide treatment for an acute stroke, stabilize patients in acute psychiatric crises, or treat an infant with fever.  Providers must be well versed in the principals and procedures of critical care.  They must also possess a high level of vigilance and a desire to identify serious illness in early, often benign-appearing stages.  Patients of all ages and with all medical conditions come to the ED.  As such, training in EM requires a broad fund of knowledge across multiple medical specialties.  While the majority of EM residency training occurs in the emergency department, an EM resident is also required to complete rotations in medical critical care, surgical critical care, pediatric or neonatal critical care, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics, anesthesia, and surgical subspecialties.  EM is a relatively young field and continues to grow in scope.  Current fellowships (ACGME and non-ACGME) include EMS, toxicology, pediatric EM, sports medicine, hyperbaric medicine, emergency ultrasound, and medical and surgical critical care.

School Required Sub-Internship:
EM at HUP and Presbyterian Hospital (EMR 308A)

Department Required Courses:
EM at HUP and Presbyterian Hospital (EMR 308A)

Highly Recommended
Cardiology
Medical critical care
Surgical critical care
Trauma surgery
Radiology
Emergency medicine bedside ultrasound

Helpful
Anesthesiology
Dermatology
Ophthalmology
Otorhinolaryngology
Orthopedics
Infectious disease

Letters of Recommendation
2 Standard Letters of Evaluation (SLOES)

One from completing EMR 308A at Penn and one from completing a subinternship at an outside institution

Additional Information for Applying:
EMRA and CORD: Student advising guide.  Evidenced based, incredibly useful guide to all aspects of the application process for 3rd and 4th year medical students.

https://www.cordem.org/globalassets/files/student-resources/2019-studentadvisingguide-final-web-version.pdf

Residency Application Process Advisors:
Dr. Walker Lee (walker.lee@pennmedicine.upenn.edu)

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Family Medicine

Family medicine is the medical specialty which provides continuing, comprehensive health care for the individual and family in the context of their communities. It is a specialty in breadth that integrates the biological, clinical, and behavioral sciences. The scope of family medicine encompasses all ages, all genders, each organ system, and every disease entity. Family medicine emphasizes care in an out-patient primary care setting that is person-focused and follows people over their whole lifespan.  Family doctors practice in every community in the United States, and are often the only physicians in underserved and rural communities. Family medicine also is an excellent training for international medicine and global health. Opportunities to practice exist in urban communities, suburbia, multi-specialty group practices, and academic medical centers. Most family medicine doctors are primary care physicians in busy outpatient practices, including large physician group practices, academic settings, and private practices.

Additionally, some may perform surgery, care for hospitalized patients, deliver babies (including via C-section), teach students or residents, or staff the emergency room. Some family physicians develop areas of further expertise, often through fellowship training such as sports medicine, geriatrics, women's health, adolescent medicine, HIV medicine, preventive medicine, palliative medicine, integrative medicine, or research. Family medicine also provides extensive training in outpatient procedures which range from those in gynecology (i.e. intrauterine and implantable contraception, evaluation and treatment of cervical dysplasia, abortion care), to dermatology, to joint injections, and ultrasonography. Family physicians also carry out research in a range of topics that is as diverse as their clinical work though research in family medicine often looks at health care systems and delivery, issues of public health and health care policy. To train physicians for such a diverse career, family doctors complete a broad-based three-year residency with extensive outpatient, inpatient, and obstetric experiences.

School Required Sub-Internship:
Family Medicine or Internal Medicine

Highly Recommended Courses: FAM300 (Family Medicine Outpatient Externship) or FAM350 (Maternal Child Health) and any of FAM325 (Primary Care Sports Medicine), FAM326 (Community Medicine and Public Health), FAM327 (LGBTQ health) depending on personal interests.

Helpful Courses: Cardiology, Dermatology, Radiology, Neurology (especially outpatient), Pain Management, Infectious disease, Gastroenterology, any outpatient Pediatric elective, emergency medicine (adult or pediatric), OB-GYN (especially outpatient)

Letters of Recommendation: Need at least 1 and preferably 2 from Family Physicians

Additional Information for Applying:  Taking advantage of local and national resources are recommended. Join the PAFP (Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians), AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians), PSOM’s FMIG (Family Medicine Interest Group). The most highly recommended conference for students interested in Family Medicine is the AAFP National Conference for Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students held annually in Kansas City, MO, referred to as the “Kansas City Conference” that usually takes place in July. Other fantastic conferences include: FMX, STFM (Society for Teachers in Family Medicine) Spring Conference, and FMEC (Family Medicine Education Consortium) Annual Conference.

Residency Application Process Advisors: Drs. Renee Betancourt, Mario DeMarco, or Lori Atkinson

To learn more about Penn’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health residency, visit the website at: https://www.pennmedicine.org/departments-and-centers/family-medicine-and-community-health/education-and-training/residency

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Internal Medicine

Internal Medicine deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases in adult patients. Internal Medicine physicians are skilled in the management of patients who have complicated or multi-system disease processes, and they can care for hospitalized and/or ambulatory patients. They can specialize in a field (e.g. Cardiology) or pursue a career in General Internal Medicine (Hospital Medicine or Primary Care). Internal Medicine is a diverse, dynamic, and exciting field that allows physicians to become leaders in clinical medicine, research, education, public health, administration, health policy, and healthcare innovation. The Department of Medicine Leadership is looking forward to helping you plan for a meaningful career in Internal Medicine.

The Internal Medicine Residency Application Process is an exciting and fun time that typically begins with a general information session in September of your third year. There is also a spring meeting that reviews more detail of the application process. During the summer of your fourth year, you will have a formal meeting with a Department of Medicine Application Advisor to help you with your Personal Statement, Curriculum Vitae, and List of Programs. The Department of Medicine also holds a mock interview workshop in the fall of your fourth year to provide tips and useful advice for the interview process.

School required Sub-Internship: Internal Medicine

Department Required Courses: All students must complete a Sub-Internship in Internal Medicine and at least one other elective in Internal Medicine.

Highly Recommended Courses: Students who receive a High Pass or less in the Internal Medicine Clerkship or the Internal Medicine Sub-Internship should strongly consider taking an Intensive Care Unit elective in Internal Medicine prior to September of the application year. Students interested in primary care should strongly consider taking the Outpatient Externship in Internal Medicine prior to September of the application year. All students applying in Internal Medicine are encouraged to take the Internal Medicine Intern Preparation Course (Internal Medicine Bootcamp) in the spring of their fourth year.

Helpful Courses: Students should take electives to explore the diversity of opportunities within Internal Medicine. All students who apply in Internal Medicine are strongly encouraged to take an Intensive Care Unit rotation and an Outpatient rotation prior to starting intern year, but not necessarily prior to submitting their application (see special situations above). If you are returning to clinical rotations after a hiatus, including PhD work, it is recommended that you take several busy clinical rotations prior to taking a Sub-Internship in Internal Medicine. If you have had any struggles in prior Internal Medicine courses contact Keith Hamilton (keith.hamilton@pennmedicine.upenn.edu) prior to registering for your Sub-Internship so that you can plan your year to optimize success.

Letters of Recommendation: Three to four letters of recommendation are required. A Department of Medicine letter is also required and counts as one of those letters. A letter of recommendation from the sub-internship in Internal Medicine is strongly encouraged. Remaining letters can come from elective attendings and/or research mentors. If you are applying to Physician Scientist Programs, you may be asked to provide several letters from people who are familiar with your research after submitting your ERAS application.

Additional Information for Applying: Finding at least one Career or Research Mentor in Internal Medicine is useful to provide advice for career planning and for identifying research opportunities. If you are interested in finding a Mentor, contact Ann Marie Hunt (hunta@pennmedicine.upenn.edu). You will also be assigned a Department of Medicine Application Advisor if you are applying in Internal Medicine. If you have any questions, please contact Keith Hamilton or Ann Marie Hunt.

Residency Application Process Advisors: Keith Hamilton, MD and Ilene Rosen, MD

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Internal Medicine-Pediatrics

Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics is a 4 year residency in which residents rotate between pediatrics and internal medicine to become board certified internists and pediatricians at the end of their training. You complete 2 full years of pediatrics and 2 full years of medicine in an integrated fashion. Med-Peds physicians go on the practice primary care across the lifespan, subspecialize in medicine, pediatrics or combined programs often focusing on adolescents and young adults with chronic health conditions as well as pursue careers in Global Health, Medical Education, Quality Improvement and Research where understanding the full age spectrum is important. 

School required sub-internship category:
Internal Medicine
Pediatrics

Department required courses/Highly recommended courses/Helpful courses: There are no other required courses besides the two sub-internships. Since med-peds doctors have a variety of interests, students should feel comfortable choosing additional medicine, pediatric, med-peds or other electives that will be of use to them. There is a Med-Peds elective at Penn (Peds320 focused on the transition from pediatric to adult care for patients with chronic medical conditions) and other institutions. 

Letters of Recommendation: Many programs require one "Chairs" or other overall letter from pediatrics and one "Chairs" or other over all letter from medicine in additional to two letters of your choosing. The "best" letters are ones from people who know you clinically and personally as well as endorse your interest in Med-Peds. 

Additional Information for Applying: NMPRA, the National Med-Peds Residents Association is a helpful national resource to learn more about Med-Peds as a discipline and the current training programs. 

Residency Application Process Advisors:

Drs. Dava Szalda, Chad Johr, Oana, Tomescu, Laura Robinson

To learn more about Penn and CHOP's Med-Peds residency program visit the website at: https://www.pennmedicine.org/departments-and-centers/department-of-medicine/education-and-training/internal-medicine-residency/our-program/combined-internal-medicine-pediatrics-program

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Neurology

Neurology is a rapidly evolving field of medicine that encompasses diagnosis and treatment of central nervous system disorders such as stroke, Alzheimer disease, encephalitis, headache and multiple sclerosis as well as peripheral nervous system conditions such as myopathies and peripheral neuropathies of genetic, toxic, and auto-immune etiologies.  Physical diagnosis based on accurate neuroanatomic localization and astute history taking remain important skills even in an era of many new imaging modalities. Neurologic consultants must be well versed in the common neurologic complications of medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, HIV, and neoplasms. Most neurologists subspecialize in areas as diverse as neuromuscular diseases, cognitive conditions, multiple sclerosis, neuro-oncology, and neurovascular diseases. Depending on the specialty, much of the neurologist’s time could be in the outpatient area, but neuro-critical care, stroke neurology, and neuro-hospitalist programs are growing rapidly, providing practice venues for those who prefer in-patient neurology.  Regardless of sub-specialty, neurologists require interpersonal skills that help patients cope with life-threatening and debilitating diseases and improve quality of life in often imperfectly treatable situations.

School Required Sub-Internship: 
Medicine Sub-I which need not be done before the Neuro Sub-I

Department Required Courses:
NEU300

Another upper level neurology elective such as:
Outpatient neurology (customized elective)
Neurocritical Care
Neuro-ophthalmology
Neuro-radiology
Rehabilitation medicine
Scholarly Pursuit in a neurologically-related area

Helpful:
Pediatric externship
Cardiology
Infectious Disease
Emergency Medicine
Endocrinology
Neurosurgery
Pulmonary Medicine
Renal Disease

To learn more about Penn's Department of Neurology visit their website at: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/neuro/index.html

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Neurosurgery

Neurological surgery encompasses treatment of adult and pediatric patients with disorders of the nervous system including: disorders of the brain, meninges, skull, and their blood supply, including the extracranial carotid and vertebral arteries; disorders of the pituitary gland; disorders of the spinal cord, meninges, and vertebral column; and disorders of the cranial and spinal nerves throughout their distribution. Disorders of the nervous system arise from congenital, degenerative, traumatic, oncologic, infectious, and atherosclerotic conditions. Neurosurgery requires a firm foundation in anatomy, pathology, neurology and radiology in combination with the acquisition of a broad range of surgical and patient management skills.

School Required Sub-Internship:
Any sub-I is fine

Department Required Courses:
NSG300
Surgery 200

Highly Recommended:
Neurocritical Care
1-2 away rotations

Helpful Courses:
Neuoradiology
Neuropathology

Letters of Recommendation: Typically 3 (Penn chairman, away sub-internship chairman, research mentor)

Additional Information for Applying:
Dr. Sean Grady (Chairman)
Dr. James Schuster (Residency Program Director)

Residency Application Process Advisors: Dr. Isaac Chen (Langfitt Neurosurgical Society faculty advisor)


To learn more about Penn's Department of Neurosurgery visit their website at: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/neurosurgery

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Obstetrics & Gynecology

Obstetrics and Gynecology is a highly rewarding specialty for physicians dedicated to women's reproductive health.  Careers in Obstetrics and Gynecology range from outpatient preventive care to inpatient critical care, and include provision of counseling, medical management, and surgical intervention across the lifespan.  While many physicians practice both Obstetrics and Gynecology after residency, fellowship opportunities are numerous for those who choose to pursue additional subspecialty training.  Fellowships include:  Maternal Fetal Medicine (High-Risk Obstetrics), Gynecologic Oncology, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Family Planning, Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, and Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery.  Our field is collaborative and research opportunities exist in fields of endocrinology, immunology, infectious disease, psychiatry, and global health. 

School required Sub-Internship: Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, or Emergency Medicine

Department Required Courses: Upper level elective in OBGYN at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania

At the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania:

  • Maternal Fetal Medicine
  • Gynecologic Oncology
  • Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
  • Urogynecology
  • Family Planning

At CHOP:

  • Fetal Diagnosis

At Pennsylvania Hospital:

  • Ambulatory Gynecology
  • Multi-specialty Gynecology Surgery
  • High Risk Obstetrics
  • Family Planning

Highly Recommended Courses:
1) Second OBGYN elective at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital, or CHOP 
2) Prep for OBGYN Internship Course 

Other Helpful Courses: SICU, Cardiology, Anesthesia, Adolescent Medicine, Infectious disease, NICU, Endocrinology, Radiology

Letters of Recommendation: Chair of OBGYN + 2 additional faculty
Most programs require 3 letters but several will accept up to 4. Typically 1 letter can be from a non-OBGYN faculty who knows you and your strengths well.

Advisor for the residency application process: Dr. Divya Shah (UME Director)

Additional information for applying:  https://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/ACOG-Departments/CREOG/CREOG-Search/Resident-Resources

OBGYN Residency at Hospital of University of Pennsylvania: https://www.pennmedicine.org/departments-and-centers/obstetrics-and-gynecology/education-and-training/residency-programs/obgyn-residency-program-hup

OBGYN Residency at Pennsylvania Hospital: https://www.pennmedicine.org/departments-and-centers/obstetrics-and-gynecology/education-and-training/residency-programs/obgyn-residency-program-pah

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Ophthalmology

Ophthalmology is the ideal career choice for students who are interested in, pursuing a specialty that includes a broad scope of practice including medicine and surgery, treatment of pediatric and adult patients, and primary care as well as highly specialized treatment. Ophthalmologists are historically amongst the most professionally satisfied physicians because of these opportunities to provide many different types of care and to pursue a wide range of research opportunities. Ophthalmology also offers the possibility for diagnostic and therapeutic precision that are unavailable in many other medical and surgical specialties. Most ophthalmologists practice a mixture of medicine and surgery ranging from the evaluation of patients with blurred vision and the standard medical treatment of conditions such as glaucoma all the way to the most delicate and precise surgical manipulations including laser surgery and intraocular surgery. At the same time, ophthalmologists are developing long term relationships with their patients and providing emergent care in many different critical situations such as trauma and sudden vision loss. Most ophthalmologists spend the majority of their time in the office seeing medical patients and one day a week in the operating room performing any number of different procedures depending on subspecialty interests. Ophthalmic manifestations of systemic disease are commonly encountered in practice and ophthalmologists often interact with physicians in many other fields. Ophthalmology has undergone a considerable degree of subspecialization with additional training available to pursue careers in cornea and external disease, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, oculoplastics, pediatric ophthalmology, medical and surgical retina, ocular pathology and ocular oncology. Opportunities for careers in academic ophthalmology (combined basic or clinical research with clinical practice) are numerous and readily available to physicians who prepare themselves appropriately. Ophthalmology is currently set up for an early match. Students are matched with residencies approximately 18 months before their starting date with the match completed in January of the senior year. The early match necessitates the application process to occur over the summer between third and fourth year with interviews generally occurring in November and December. One non-ophthalmology letter is preferred to use in the ophthalmology match.

School Required Sub-Internship:
A sub-I in medicine or emergency medicine is required.

Department Required Course:
OPH300 and one of the following--

Pediatric Ophthalmology (OPH301)
Adult Oculoplastics and Orbital Surgery (OPH303)
Pediatric and Adult Oculoplastic and Orbital Surgery (OPH305)
Neuro-Ophthalmology (ITD340)

Other Suggested Courses:
Infectious Disease
Medicine Sub-I
Rheumatology
Neuro-radiology
Otorhinolaryngology
Plastic Surgery

Helpful:
Allergy and Immunology
Endocrinology

Letters of Recommendation:
One ophthalmology letter
One non ophthalmology clinical letter
One other letter (ophthalmology, clinical non ophthalmology, research)

Contact Person:
Prithvi Sankar, MD

To learn more about Penn's Department of Ophthalmology visit their website at https://www.pennmedicine.org/departments-and-centers/ophthalmology/education-and-training/residency-training.

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Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic Surgery is an exciting, evolving field and offers both clinical, teaching and research opportunities in an extremely diverse patient population. Surgical interventions are an important part of what we do clinically but a significant portion of our time is also dedicated towards office hours and non-operative treatments. An Orthopedic Surgeon is exposed to a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions and develops significant relationships with patients. The various sub-specialties (which are typically pursued via a one-year fellowship program) include foot & ankle, hand, adult arthroplasty, pediatrics, shoulder, sports, spine, tumor, and trauma. Surgical procedures involve tissues including the integument, vessels, nerves, muscle, tendon, ligaments, cartilage, bone as well as work with various materials including plastics, metals and composites. Active areas of research in Orthopedic Surgery include education, epidemiology, health services / policy, clinical decision making and outcomes, bioengineering, biomechanics, genetic/molecular/cell/tissue biology of normal/injured/degenerative/cancerous musculoskeletal tissues. In general, Orthopedic Surgery appeals mostly to future doctors who wish to use physical and biologic principles, problem-solving skills, and operative techniques in order to have a significant positive impact on a diverse patient population.

School Required Sub-Internship:
Emergency medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics

Department Required Courses:
Any home or away rotation

Highly Recommended Courses:
Two Penn Orthopedic 300 level courses (any two are okay; feel free to discuss choices with Dr Ahn if questions about specific rotations). 

Two away courses are essentially required. 

Helpful (in no particular order):
EM
Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
Musculoskeletal Radiology
Rheumatology
Endocrinology
PM&R
Anesthesia/Pain Management

Letters of Recommendation

  • Chair
  • 3 from orthopedic surgeons (can be home or away)
  • Some specific programs require non-ortho or non surgical letter

Additional Information for Applying:

  • Doing well in clerkships and Step I are important.

  • Strong interpersonal skills, attention to detail and teamwork are highly valued.  

  • Other academics including research are important but secondary.

Please see the following for more departmental student education information: https://www.pennmedicine.org/departments-and-centers/orthopaedic-surgery/education-and-training/student-education

Please see the following for more near-peer education information: https://www.med.upenn.edu/orthopaedic-surgery-society/

Residency Application Process Advisors:
Jaimo Ahn, Joe Bernstein, Kate O’Connor

To learn more about Penn’s Department of X residency problem visit the website at: https://www.pennmedicine.org/departments-and-centers/orthopaedic-surgery/education-and-training/residency

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Otorhinolaryngology

The field of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (also known as "ENT") is a diverse, innovative and exciting specialty which combines the medical and surgical treatment of head and neck pathology. Sub-specialties within Otorhinolaryngology are broad and diverse, including head and neck oncology, skull base surgery, otology, sinus surgery, facial plastic surgery, microvascular reconstruction, pediatric otorhinolaryngology, and laryngology. The appeal of Otorhinolaryngology includes the combination of medicine and surgery, the variety within the field, the intricate and complex anatomy, and to some a better lifestyle than other surgical specialties. However, as with any other field, lifestyle varies according to the chosen sub-specialty. Sub-specialty fellowships in Otorhinolaryngology are mostly one year long and incorporate both clinical duties and research. Overall, Otorhinolaryngology is a highly regarded, very academic specialty, and the competition for residency positions is intense.

School required Sub-Internship: All choices (EM, Family Medicine, Medicine, Pediatrics) are possible options with some suggesting that medicine might be most helpful.

Department Required Course: OTO300A (HUP). The VA (OTO300B) and Pennsylvania Hospital (OTO300D) rotations are good choices for students looking for additional general ENT experience. CHOP (OTO301) is a good choice for students with a particular interest in pediatric ENT. The Otorhinolaryngology Primary Care rotation (OTO302) is recommended for students who wish to gain experience in managing otorhinolaryngologic problems in the adult or pediatric primary care setting

Highly Recommended:
Surgical externship
Plastic Surgery or Neurosurgery

Helpful:
Anesthesiology
Neuroradiology
Radiation oncology
SICU
Pathology

Letters of Recommendation: A minimum of 3 letters from ENT faculty are required, one of which is a departmental letter from chair and program director.

Away Rotations: Typically not required for Penn applicants, but recommended if looking to match in specific geographic region or program.

Residency Application Process Advisors: Dr. Michael Ruckenstein and Dr. James Kearney

To learn more about Penn's Department of Otorhinolaryngology visit their website at: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/pennorl/welcome.htm

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Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Pathology is an ideal specialty choice for students interested in combining clinical and investigative work in their careers. Pathology is comprised of anatomic and clinical pathology. Anatomic pathology includes surgical pathology, autopsy, and cytopathology. Clinical pathology, also known as laboratory medicine, includes the sub-specialties of transfusion medicine/blood banking, clinical chemistry, toxicology, endocrinology, immunology, immunogenetics (HLA), microbiology and coagulation.  Subspecialties that bridge laboratory medicine and anatomic pathology include hematopathology, molecular pathology and genomics (including cytogenetics).

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine attracts a large number of MD/PhD students given its close connection to investigative work.  Pathology research spans many different disciplines, ranging from experimental research to informatics to translational research. Because modern investigation of disease processes frequently calls for development of sophisticated laboratory procedures which depend upon a basic understanding of cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology, a strengthening of the student's grasp of these areas of basic science is highly desirable. Projects involving basic techniques may be arranged with faculty members in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine or other basic science departments within the School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Helpful Courses (Clinical Years):

  • Frontiers course for lab medicine (Don Siegel)
  • Electives in Anatomic Pathology (Roseann Wu)
  • Electives in Clinical Pathology (Irv Nachamkin)Surgical Pathology (Emma E. Furth)
  • Medical Pathology (Carolyn Cambor)
  • Clinical Connections (for Penn MD-PhD students)
  • 1-year post-sophomore fellowship in Pathology and Lab Medicine

For Students Contemplating Pathology Residency Required Courses Include:
Advanced-level clinical medical courses
One-month Autopsy pathology, surgical pathology or laboratory medicine

Highly Recommended Courses:
Medicine Sub-I
Endocrinology
Gastroenterology
Hematology/Oncology
Infectious Disease
Medical ICU
Pulmonary Medicine
Radiology
Renal Disease
Surgical Oncology

Letters of Recommendation – 3 recommended, 2 required

Residency Application Process Advisors: – In general, Dr. Aqui meets with Penn Med students to discuss their plans. Because pathology is such a broad field, a meeting with the student first is recommended, then direction is provided toward the most appropriate faculty member for additional mentoring.  Pathology hosts a lunch prior to recruitment season to review the application process. It’s not Penn-specific and it’s not a “pre-interview”.

Additionally, Taku Kambayashi and Warren Pear meet with all the MD-PhD students considering Pathology.

To learn more about Penn’s Department of Pathology residency problem visit the website at: http://pathology.med.upenn.edu/

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Pediatrics

Pediatrics offers an exciting career that combines intellectual rigor with the unpredictability and humor intrinsic to children.   A few of the many diverse career opportunities available to pediatricians include:

  • Primary care- develop longitudinal relationships with children and families from newborn through adolescence
  • Subspecialty provider- work with both inpatients and outpatients in a specific field and perform multiple procedures a week...or never perform procedures
  • Hospitalist- work with inpatients in an academic or community environment
  • Emergency or urgent care provider- work in an acute care setting with a large variety of patient conditions
  • Intensivist- stabilize critically ill neonates and children
  • Advocacy- focus on health policy and public health or global health
  • Research - perform basic science, translational, or clinical research
  • Leadership roles in medical education, patient safety, quality improvement, bioinformatics, hospital operations and more

School Required Sub-Internship:
Pediatrics

Highly Recommended Courses:
NICU
Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Pediatric Infectious Diseases

Helpful Courses:
PICU, Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Dermatology, any Pediatric subspecialty that piques your interest and could provide exposure to a field with inpatient, outpatient, consult, and procedural (if interested) responsibilities.

Letters of Recommendation: Usually three in addition to a Department of Pediatrics letter.

Additional Information for Applying:  There is an informational session held in May.

Student Advisors for the Residency Application Process:
- Erin Pete Devon: petedevone@email.chop.edu
- Stacey Rose: roses@email.chop.edu
- Amanda Van Pelt: vanpeltal@email.chop.edu

To learn more about the Pediatric residency program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, visit the website:https://www.chop.edu/pediatric-residency-program

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Psychiatry

Modern Psychiatry incorporates advances in genetics, molecular biology, neurobiology, pharmacology and psychology. As a result, Psychiatrists now have a variety of therapeutic modalities available to them in addition to psychopharmacology: individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, cognitive and behavioral therapy, and non-invasive neuromodulation techniques (ECT and TMS). Advances in all of these fields have led to better treatment for both acute and chronic psychiatric illnesses. Psychiatrists work in a variety of environments, including community-based ambulatory settings, general or psychiatric inpatient settings, and research-oriented academic centers. In the public sector, psychiatrists often become team leader for all mental health professionals. Nevertheless, private practice remains a viable option for many psychiatrists.

School Required Sub-I Category:
Medicine Sub-I or Family Medicine Sub-I or Pediatrics Sub-I

Required:
Psychiatry externship

Highly Recommended:
Addiction/Alcoholism OR
Child/Adolescent Psychiatry OR
Consult-liaison Psychiatry

Letters of Recommendation: One letter needed from medicine, either internal or family or pediatrics. Two letters needed from psychiatry.  Total of 3, four max.

Residency Application Process Advisors:
Matthew Kayser, MD, PhD (anyone interested in research)
Claudia Baldassano MD
Cabrina Cambpell MD
Kristin Light MD

To learn more about Penn's Department of Psychiatry visit their website at: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/psych/

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Radiology

Radiologists use a detailed knowledge of anatomy, pathology, and patho-physiology to perform minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. The field requires a vast fund of knowledge but is also among the few specialties that provide the opportunity to teach and perform research at the same time. Diagnostic Radiology is divided into numerous sub-specialty areas including chest, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, pediatric, MRI, neuro, musculoskeletal, mammography, untrasonography, and nuclear medicine. Depending on the practice setting (private, community, or academic), radiologists may be responsible for multiple types of diagnostic procedures or may limit their practice to a sub-specialty. In any case, the field features regular, defined hours and some patient contact (depending on the procedure and the modality). One big concern among students considering Radiology as a field is that there is minimal patient contact and that most of its practitioners spend their time in isolated, dark rooms. Most radiologists have ample contact with referring physicians, acting as consultants for a wide array of clinicians. For those who prefer direct patient contact or are more interested in invasive procedures they should consider the exciting and rapidly advancing field of Interventional Radiology (IR). IR employs sophisticated imaging and invasive techniques to perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures that in the past could only be accomplished via surgery.

Required:

RA300
Another upper level Radiology elective

Highly recommended:

Sub-I in one of the following:
Medicine
Pediatrics
Obstetrics/Gynecology
Surgery

Helpful:

Cardiology
Infectious Disease
Orthopaedic Surgery
Rheumatology
Gastroenterology
Otorhinolaryngology
Hematology/Oncology
Pulmonary Medicine
Surgical Pathology
Surgery externship
Other Surgical sub-specialty clerkships

To learn more about Penn's Department of Radiology visit their website at: http://www.rad.upenn.edu.

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Radiation Oncology

Radiation Oncology is an integral component of multi-disciplinary oncology care, and the field is rapidly evolving to both keep pace with and transform oncologic paradigms.  Radiation Oncologists are physicians who must integrate a wide range of knowledge, clinical expertise, and technical skills. First and foremost, Radiation Oncologists must be compassionate oncologists. A detailed knowledge of anatomy, surgical oncology, medical oncology, cancer biology including immunology, and palliative and supportive care are all critical. Many patients see their Radiation Oncologists as their primary physicians both during treatment and in long-term follow up, and therefore mastery of general internal medicine is also important. As such, students interested in this field should acquire a broad clinical background.

Radiation Oncology incorporates:

  • Learning the general principles of oncology, including the basic science of cancer biology, diagnostic work-up and staging of cancer, participating in tumor boards and formulating multidisciplinary treatment plans that incorporate radiation, surgery, and systemic therapy, and the supportive care of the cancer patient throughout their journey.
  • Understanding the role of radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer, both in the definitive and palliative settings.
  • An introduction to the specialized procedures for treatment delivery in Radiation Oncology, including Simulation and treatment planning integrating CT, PET, and MRI-based planning, techniques including intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), proton therapy, and brachytherapy. 
  • Learning about the management of acute and late toxicity of multi-modality cancer therapy, and supportive care principles.

Radiation Oncology offers ample opportunities for clinical and/or basic research for students motivated to pursue a career in this field. Some laboratory and/or clinical research positions in the Department offer students a modest stipend.

School Required Sub-Internship:
Internal Medicine

Department Required Courses:
Radiation Oncology

Highly Recommended Courses:
Hematology/Oncology
Surgical Oncology
Radiology
Surgical Pathology

Helpful Courses (in no particular order):
Gynecologic Oncology
Pediatric Oncology
Otorhinolaryngology
Urology
Neurosurgery
Gastroenterology
Pulmonary Medicine
Infectious Disease
Neurology
Psychiatry

Letters of Recommendation: Students matching in Radiation Oncology are encouraged to obtain letters of recommendation from Radiation Oncology faculty that know the applicant best, research mentors, and one letter from Internal Medicine.

Additional Information for Applying: The strongest applicants in Radiation Oncology demonstrate clinical excellence during their rotations, and an interest in and motivation to pursue clinical and/or basic research. One way to learn about potential research opportunities is to ask your attending during your Radiation Oncology elective.

Residency Application Process Advisors:

  • J. Nicholas Lukens, MD
  • Neha Vapiwala, MD

Away Electives:
Away electives are not required, however, they can sometimes be helpful if the student has a strong interest in a particular program.

To learn more about Penn’s Department of Radiation Oncology residency program, visit the website at: https://www.xrt.upenn.edu/residency

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Rehabilitation Medicine

Rehabilitation Medicine, also known as Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, specialists or "Physiatrists" treat a wide range of problems from sore shoulders to spinal cord injuries. They focus on helping patients who are recovering from injuries or disabling illnesses (such as musculoskeletal disorders, head traumas, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and cognitive impairments) to regain as much function as possible. For those students interested in the specialty of Rehabilitation Medicine, it is imperative to understand that rehabilitation is a very diverse and encompassing field. A broad knowledge base is required to be a successful practitioner. Thus, it is important to master basic concepts of internal medicine, surgery, psychiatry, pediatrics, and family medicine. The specialty offers non-surgical interventions and takes a holistic approach to patient management, often coordinating an interdisciplinary team including neurologists, psychologists, and surgeons as well as allied health professionals in the care of patients with complex physical, social and psychological needs. A high degree of patient contact and long-term care are common in this field.

Highly recommended:

Rehabilitation Medicine elective
Medicine sub-I
Neurology
Radiology: emphasis on musculoskeletal readings
Orthopedic Surgery
Inter-disciplinary Pain Clinic
Rheumatology
Sports Medicine

Helpful:

Research
Occupational Medicine
Cardiology
Neurosurgery
Ambulatory Medicine
Urology
Trauma Service

To learn more about the department visit their website at: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/rehabmed/educ/index.shtml or email them with questions.

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Surgery (General)

The practice of general surgery challenges your cognitive and technical skills on a daily basis.  It is never boring.  A career in surgery is rewarding because surgical intervention provides the patient with the opportunity for immediate cure, prevention of disease, the alleviation of symptoms, and/or palliation.   For most general surgeons, working on patients in the Operating Room is the central focus of their week.  Successful surgeons are adept at diagnosis (using exam skills, imaging and lab assessments) and formulating and carrying out a treatment plan (protocol driven, but creative and adaptable).   Aside from building their manual skills and mastering the associated technology, surgical residents learn teamwork and leadership skills in residency that benefit them throughout their careers.   Training in general surgery qualifies a physician to move on to fellowship training in Trauma, Critical Care, Pediatric Surgery, Complex Surgical Oncology, Minimally invasive/Bariatric, Transplant, Colorectal, Plastic, Vascular, Cardiac, Thoracic,  Hepatobiliary, Burns, or Breast Surgery.

School Required Sub-Internship: Emergency medicine or Internal Medicine preferred

Department Required Courses: 3 Electives/Preceptorships in surgery from list below

Highly Recommended Courses: 
SICU
Acute Care Surgery
Endocrine/Oncology Surgery
Colorectal
Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Surgery
Gastrointestinal Surgery
Trauma
Presbyterian General

Helpful Courses:
Radiology (diagnostic or IR)
Pathology
Infectious Disease
Renal
GI
Cardiology
Pulmonary
Transplant

Letters of Recommendation: The chair will provide a letter, three additional letters from core faculty at Penn are recommended.

Additional Information for Applying: https://www.facs.org/education/resources/residency-search

Residency Application Process Advisors:  
Ari Brooks, MD
Rachel Kelz, MD
Cary Aarons MD  

To learn more about Penn's Department of Surgery residency visit the website at https://www.pennmedicine.org/departments-and-centers/department-of-surgery

 

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Surgery (Plastic)

The Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania looks to identify, recruit, and train those who demonstrate the potential and leadership skills in academic plastic surgery. Our is to train and educate our residents across the entire spectrum of plastic surgery. We strive for a diverse team of residents to build on a foundation of inclusion, compassion and respect for patients and each other.  Our goal is to produce competent, safe, effective and ethical plastic surgeons that possess an outstanding knowledge base, superior operative skills, and dedication to their patients and the community.   Our ultimate goal is to lead our graduates to board certification in plastic surgery.

Our residency program consists of both an Integrated and Independent training pathway, accredited for 21 full-time residents. Our currently consists of 7 hospital sites and 20 faculty members. We offer fellowship training in microsurgery, craniofacial surgery and clinical research.

School Required Sub-Internship: Any Sub-I

Department Required Courses:
SUR360 and one of the following:

Pediatric Plastic Surgery
Adult and Pediatric Plastic Surgery
Adult Reconstructive/Pediatric Plastic Surgery
Plastic Surgery
Adult Reconstruction
2 away rotations

Residency Application Process Advisors:
Joseph Serletti, MD

Joshua Fosnot, MD

Paris Butler MD  

To learn more about Penn’s Division of Plastic Surgery Residency, please visit the website at: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/surgery/Education/plastic_surgery/plastic_surgery_program.htm

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Urology

Urology is the branch of medicine that deals with, in both adults and children, surgical and medical diseases of the male and female urinary tract, the male reproductive organs, and the adrenal glands.  Urologists are trained in the knowledge of the basic and clinical sciences related to the normal and diseased genitourinary system, and the skills required for the diagnosis and medical and surgical therapy of benign and malignant disorders affecting the anatomy and function of this system.  Therapy may be behavioral, pharmacologic, surgical, and includes all types of reconstruction of the genitourinary tract.

The normal duration of training in Urology after graduation from an accredited medical or osteopathic school is 60 months.  The 1st year includes at least 6 months of core surgical education in rotations outside of Urology designed to foster competence in basic surgical skills, the perioperative care of surgical patients, and interdisciplinary patient care coordination.  At least 3 months must be in Urology rotations designed to develop basic urological skills in general care of the urology patient in an ambulatory, inpatient, and emergency environment.  The remaining 3 months can consist of nonsurgical rotations design to complement urological education or urology rotations designed to developed further competence in urological issues.  Years 2-5 include progressive education in clinical Urology with for autonomy and responsibility developing in a parallel fashion.  Up to 6 months of these last 4 years may be devoted to non-urological clinical education or research, at the discretion of the program director and chair/chief of the service.

The Urology program at Penn is a 5-year program for 3 residents and a 6 year program for 1 resident, the 6 years including a year of dedicated research with no clinical responsibilities.  This research year occurs between the 3rd and 4th year of clinical training.  There are 2 separate matches for Penn Urology, one labeled clinical and one labeled research.  You may apply to both. 

Highly recommended: A 1-month elective in Urology. There is an elective for primarily adult Urology (based at HUP but during which is spent part of week at CHOP), and there is a separate elective for a 1-month rotation solely at CHOP. 

Helpful: You can choose to take a 2-week rotation in Urology as part of your surgery course (recommended for those interested or potentially interested in Urology)   While there are no particular courses which are strongly recommended prior to a Urology rotation.  A rotation on a General surgery service is useful, as is a rotation in the surgical intensive care unit.

Additional Information for Applying: The Urology match is an early one, and match lists are generally required to be submitted by the end of the 1st week in January, and the match results are available by the 3rd or 4th week in January.  There is no formal couples match in Urology, but if you have a significant other who is applying in a different specialty, you can certainly make this known during the application or interview process.

Residency Application Process Advisors: The Chief of Urology here at Penn is Thomas Guzzo, and the program director is Alan Wein. Dr. Wein likes to meet with all students who are interested in Urology and will provide guidance through the application and match process.  Dr. Guzzo will also happily meet with you, and you will become well acquainted with him during the elective rotation in adult urology, a week of which is generally spent with him in the operating room and in the outpatient area.  The associate and assistant program directors are Robert(Caleb) Kovell and Justin Ziemba, both of whom are also readily available and who you will meet and spend time with on the elective rotation. Our full time residency coordinator is Jennifer Prassas(Jennifer.Prassas@pennmedicine.upenn.edu, 215-349-5042).

To learn more about Penn's Department of Urology visit their website at http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/surgery/clin/urology.html

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