In the latest installment of our PD Q&A series, we are highlighting the WellSpan York Hospital Emergency Medicine Residency Program. We spoke with the current PD Dr. Amber Billet, MD, FACEP about what makes her program unique and what she looks for in potential residents.
What sets your program apart from others?
At York, since we are a community-academic hybrid program, residents have the best of both worlds. They get hands on experience taking care of a diverse, high acuity, high volume patient population and have a ton of procedural autonomy since there are no subspecialty fellows. Academically, there are all the resources you need to succeed (i.e.-simulation, ultrasound, research, subspecialty interest tracks). Our attendings are fellowship or specially trained in Toxicology, Ultrasound, Critical Care, Wilderness Medicine, Medical Education, EMS, Disaster Medicine, Forensics, Global Health, etc. which lends itself to a robust clinical and educational experience and mentorship.
What are the benefits of attending a 3 vs. 4 year EM residency program?
I think this is a very individualized decision for each applicant and one is not necessarily better than the other. If you are interviewing at 4 year programs, be sure to look closely at the entire curriculum to get a full understanding of what the potential benefit is.
What is something students may not know about your program?
York has a remarkably unique, diverse patient population. I was pleasantly surprised at this diversity when I moved here from NYC. I still very vividly recall taking care of my first rural trauma injury (fall from tree stand during hunting season). We have a large catchment area, so we see everything from rural farm injuries to penetrating trauma to blunt trauma. We care for patients from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds with varying social determinants of health. We have many Spanish-speaking patients and a growing Haitian Creole population.
How do you feel about the change to pass/fail Step 1 grading?
We utilize a holistic review and read every single part of every single application that we receive. We are very committed to learning about the person and what unique quality they may bring to our team. With Step 1 now being pass/fail, while we have no minimum Step 2 score requirement, it is strongly encouraged that Step 2/COMLEX 2 be completed and resulted prior to interview season.
What kinds of opportunities for research exist? Do you look for residency candidates with research experience?
We have a research director, associate research director, and research coordinator. We do home grown studies, clinical trials, multi-center studies, and ultrasound research. We don’t have a research requirement for our residency candidates. If you are passionate about research, great! You can continue to do tons here. If you are less passionate about research, that’s fine too. We can still support your research endeavors and mentor you in an area you may be more interested in pursuing during residency. We want you to channel your energy and time doing what you are passionate about whether that be research or another subspecialty area of EM.
Do you have opportunities to explore global health at your institution?
Yes! We have a Global Health program here at York Hospital that is codirected by Dr. Scott Williams, one of our EM attendings and Dr. Nancy Nagib (family medicine attending). Residents can join the Global Health program as interns and participate in opportunities to go abroad internationally throughout residency including Ghana, Guatemala, Kurdistan, etc. Residents have a dedicated 4 week elective time during EM-3 year and many may choose to do their elective out of the country. For more information you can view the program at: https://www.wellspanmedicaleducation.org/global-health/
What are some qualities that your program looks for in applicants?
We look for applicants who are first and foremost people. We want individuals who are hard-working, motivated, self-reflective and team players. We want folks who have a life and interests outside of work/residency. We support diversity and are always looking to recruit individuals with unique life experiences.
Can you describe any attributes and qualities that make applicants stand out?
There is always constant change in healthcare and in Emergency Medicine so individuals who can demonstrate maturity, resilience and adaptability always do well in our program. We have a strong emphasis on individualized learning and mentorship so really want each resident to focus on their own individual educational goals. This lends itself to a supportive, non-malignant, non-competitive teaching environment. Our attendings have so much to teach so we are always looking for those residents who are open to feedback and are coachable. If you already knew everything, there would be no point or purpose for residency training!