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    Internal Medicine Residency Program

    Frequently Asked Questions on:
    General Information | For Categorical Applicants | For Preliminary Applicants | Our Program | Your Schedules | Other Important Details

    Frequently Asked Questions: For Categorical Applicants

    For your convenience, we have prepared the following questions and answers frequently raised by applicants. Please click on a question to be presented with the answer.


    Doctor’s Lounge

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    What are the three most frequently asked questions by the applicants for the Categorical program?

    1. My advisors at my medical school don’t know much about “community” training programs and they told me I should go to a university-based training program even though I like the sound and feel of CPMC and the house staff seem quite happy there.

      This is an excellent question. First of all, California Pacific Medical Center isn’t really a “community” training program. It boasts a large research institute with bench-top, clinical and outcomes projects. It is a major Northern California referral center for both renal and liver transplant and for challenging diagnostic or therapeutic cases. We are also affiliated with Dartmouth Medical School and UCSF which provides plenty of opportunity, if desired, to teach medical students and to do rotations at a large University hospital.

      We interview many categorical applicants who are clearly an excellent “fit” at CPMC but are scared by venturing into what they or their advisors perceive as the “unknown”. CPMC has the warmth and camaraderie of a small program, yet it also has the prestige, quality and education of many large university programs. Applicants who may be lost in the “cogs” of a larger university program and like being part of a “place” and a community tend to be happiest at CPMC.


    2. But I still don’t know what I want to do after residency and I’m worried that if I want to do a fellowship I won’t be able to secure a spot if I train at CPMC?

      Naturally, the ability to secure anything in life is a function of how hard you work and how you apply your talents. There are record numbers of applicants to sub-specialty fellowships the last several years and most of our residents are still able to obtain fellowship spots at places as diverse and competitive as Stanford University, UCSF, Albert Einstein, University of Pittsburgh, University of Arizona, NIH, UCSD, OHSU, Boston University, UCLA, among others (please see complete list under Life After Residency - Fellowships).


    3. OK. I’m impressed with the place, but will I be happy at CPMC? And are your current residents and interns happy at CPMC?

      This is an excellent question. As you visit other programs this is one of the best questions you can ask. If a program’s house staff are not happy, you probably won’t be happy there either. If a program’s house staff are happy, you’ll probably be happy.

      The best way to get a handle on this at CPMC is for you to ask our residents and interns, directly, whether they’re happy and satisfied. Do they feel listened to? Do their Program Directors exhibit passion (as ours do) for education, patient care and housestaff well being? Do they feel happy when they go to work each day? Do they look forward to getting to the hospital or clinic? In our satisfaction survey our house staff rate themselves as very happy with the program.

      For the past three years R1 "happiness with training at CPMC" (for both preliminary and categorical interns) has ranged from 8.5 to 9.2 on 1-10 Likert Scale (i.e. they're happy.) But come visit for a day (or 2) and see for yourself!


    Afton Chavez (MS3) and Natalie Charlton, MD

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    How does one become a second year resident in Internal Medicine?

    The selection for Medicine R-2 is on the basis of performance during the R-1 year. We do not have a pyramid system. Assuming that an R-1 performs satisfactorily, an R-2 slot is reserved for each R-1 in the three-year program. On occasion, R-1s in the Preliminary program may ask to stay and enter an R-2 year in Internal Medicine rather than in their previously selected subspecialty. We have usually been able to accommodate such requests, although this is based upon that intern's performance and is subject to space availability. If space is not available, the Program Directors have always been able to help secure preliminary interns wishing to stay in Internal Medicine positions in other excellent training programs.


    ICU Rounds

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    How does the program help prepare residents to take the Internal Medicine Board exam?

    The Program Director teaches an evening "Accelerated Board Review" course in late spring where good food, excellent teaching and collegiality are provided. Other Board Review sessions occur at noon conference. The Program Directors also provide "coaching" on a one-on-one basis to any residents who have difficulty with standardized testing. The program also requires all categorical residents to take the In-Training Examination (ITE) every year. The ITE is a "low stakes" examination paid for by the residency program and allows residents to practice test taking as well as to get a sense of how their acquisition of knowledge is progressing.



    Simulation training with George Horng, MD (ICU Attending)

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    Where do graduates from California Pacific Medical Center's Categorical program go?

    (Please see "Life After Residency" on this website.)
    Some go into primary care (many at our institution or elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area), and the rest choose subspecialty training or hospitalist work.

    We are proud of our record of obtaining excellent fellowships for our graduates. Many of our full time faculty and other members of the attending staff are very active in National Subspecialty Societies. Thus, direct contact can be made with colleagues at prestigious institutions that know and respect the recommendations of our faculty.


    Current and former residents meet to walk their dogs at Fort Funston

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    Does CPMC offer Fellowships in Medicine?

    Yes, in Cardiology, Pulmonary/Critical Care, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology and Transplant Hepatology.

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    I might want to apply for a sub-specialty fellowship after residency - how have your residents been doing in terms of fellowship placement?

    Our residents have traditionally done very well with fellowship placement (please see "Life After Residency-Fellowships" on this website). Despite this being a very competitive time to seek sub-specialty training, our residents have been very successful (NIH, Stanford, UCSF, UCLA, CPMC, OHSU, Boston University, UCSD, etc.)


    ACP 2012 Hiromi Terawaki, MD, Yfa Sparks, MD
    and Yukako Honda, MD

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    What does CPMC do to help me get a job when I have finished the program?

    The job market is pretty good in the Bay Area. We have an extensive program to help graduating house officers secure desirable practice opportunities and fellowships. The proof of our commitment is documented in the list of positions that our graduates occupy. Because our residents work in a managed care environment, they are considered to be “desirable” hires by large HMO's. The Program Director, Associate Director and Chair of Medicine have close contacts with Kaiser and other physician groups and work diligently at placing graduates in positions and locations they want. In addition, California Pacific is a Sutter Health affiliate. Sutter owns 29 hospitals and operates approximately ten large medical groups in Northern California. Sutter-affiliated hospitals and groups favor California Pacific graduates because our training program is well known for producing primary care internists and hospitalists who have expertise in both ambulatory care and complex inpatient management and who practice Evidence-Based Medicine.

    We are proud of our record of obtaining excellent fellowships for our graduates. Many of our full time faculty and other members of the attending staff are very active in National Subspecialty Societies. Thus, direct contact can be made with colleagues at prestigious institutions that respect the recommendations of our faculty regarding fellowship applicants.

    The Program Directors meet with Categorical R-1s, R-2s and R-3s twice each academic year to discuss fellowship possibilities. Each R-3 meets with the Program Directors early in their graduating year and as needed thereafter until the resident has a contract for a desired position.


    Laura Battle, MD

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    What was your 2013 IM Boards pass rate?

    Our 2013 IM Boards pass rate was 100%!!

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