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Residency Planning FAQs - Internal Medicine

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Why do students choose to train in your specialty? What is it they find attractive?

Students choose to specialize in internal medicine for several reasons. First and foremost, they are interested in caring for the acute and chronic illnesses seen in adults (over age 18). They are attracted to the intellectual challenge of providing comprehensive care to a patient and derive satisfaction from participating in the continuity care of their patients.

The future career possibilities in internal medicine are enormous. Residents can choose to do primary care general medicine, enter one of the subspecialties of internal medicine, or do other creative ventures - such as working for the CDC, public policy, among others. Subspecialty fellowships are available in many areas. You can deliver comprehensive care as an endocrinologist or nephrologist, or do invasive procedures as a cardiologist or gastroenterologist. Some choose to enter geriatrics, rheumatology or even women's health.

Training in internal medicine provides the resident with a comprehensive approach to medical illness with an emphasis on your relationship with the patient, deductive reasoning, evidence based medicine, differential diagnoses, and long-term management of the medical and psychosocial issues.

What are the top 10 training programs nationally in terms of overall reputation?  

  • Johns Hopkins
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Harvard University
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Washington, Seattle
  • Washington University, St. Louis
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Duke University
  • University of Texas (Southwestern-Dallas)

What are some good regional programs?

  • University of Maryland
  • Medical College of Virginia
  • University of Virginia
  • Temple University (Philadelphia)
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Jefferson Medical College (Philadelphia)

What are the strengths of the program here at the University of Maryland?  

Our philosophy of training at the University of Maryland emphasizes a broad curriculum in internal medicine that allows our residents to be successful in careers as general internists, subspecialists or investigators. To this end, our residents complete a core curriculum in internal medicine and have sufficient elective time to explore areas of interest.

We are very liberal in allowing residents to create electives that suit their needs, such as those in rural medicine, international health, both basic science and clinical research, and complementary medicine, among others. We balance service and education so that residents have an exceptional clinical experience while having enough time to attend conferences, read and search the literature.

The support for our residents comes from all levels – the chairman, the program director and faculty, as well as from the residents themselves. Importantly, our residents are given a great deal of autonomy and thereby build their expertise in medicine. With diverse patients, accessible attendings and high academic standards, our residents are superbly prepared for the next step in their careers.

What are the factors you look at when evaluating an applicant from most important to least important?

Intellectual capabilities (clerkship, subinternship and basic science grades, USMLE scores); clinical acumen (as evaluated by faculty, particularly during subinternship, through letters of recommendation and your Dean's letter); interpersonal skills; potential for leadership; interest in caring for the underserved; other degrees (e.g., MPH, PhD, etc.); research experience; interesting other life experiences; volunteerism.

What advice do you have for University of Maryland students interested in your specialty?

Seek out a mentor, someone who was your attending or resident. Talk to them about your interests and ask them why they entered the field. Get an idea for what they like and dislike. Talk to residents in medicine while you are on your medicine clerkship. Imagine how you would feel caring for our patients as your career. Attend conferences in the Department of Medicine. Attend Morning Report and Grand Rounds to get an idea of what active learning is all about. Attend the Internal Medicine Interest Group to meet others who are deciding on internal medicine as a career.

If students have more questions, whom should they contact and how?

For General Internal Medicine:

Susan D. Wolfsthal, MD
Residency Program Director

David Tasker, MD
ssociate Program Director

For Med-Peds:

Ron San Juan, MD
Associate Program Director
Page at 410-894-7479

For Emergency Medicine-Internal Medicine:

Robert Rogers, MD
Associate Program Director

Visit the University of Maryland Medical Center's Internal Medicine Residency web site.

The American College of Physicians also has an informative Internal Medicine Website.