Advising, Match, Program Director Interviews

Program Director Interview Series: Dave Caro, MD, FACEP | University of Florida-Jacksonville

This month, the EMRA Medical Student Council interviewed Dave Caro, MD, FACEP, Program Director at the University of Florida- Jacksonville's Emergency Medicine Residency Program. Below, Dr. Caro shares his advice and insight.

What sets your program apart from others?

The UFCOM-Jacksonville is based at a safety-net hospital that is a Level I trauma center. Residents are given the opportunity to provide supervised patient care from the beginning of their training. They progress in levels of responsibility in a busy clinical environment that allows them to develop safe and effective parallel-processing skills as they progress through their training.

What are the benefits of attending a 3 vs. 4 year EM residency program?

The 3- vs. 4-year EM residency training topic has been hotly debated since the difference in training formats were approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).  One of the classic debates between two fathers of EM can be found here:

What is something that students may not know about your program?

We have traditionally been a clinically-oriented program, with an emphasis on hands-on training. However, we have also been very active academically, producing over 100 scholarly works per year. Our research division has been increasingly active, and now we even have an NIH-funded researcher, our own Dr. Faheem Guirgis, who is doing NIH-funded research in sepsis!

What range of USMLE/COMLEX Step 1 scores do you look for in an applicant for the program?

Again, a hotly debated topic.  We have guidelines we use in our initial screening each year, which vary based on the minimum passing score on the boards, as these minimums can change year-to-year. It's safe to say that we give preference to students who pass step 1 and step 2 on the first attempt, and who also perform at or around the national mean.

What kinds of opportunities for research exist? Do you look for residency candidates with research experience?

See #3 above. We have funded research in sepsis, patient safety, and pain management; we also have a number of other projects ongoing. We have a research division that actively involves trainees in projects as interest develops. Students do not have to have prior research experience for us to consider them as candidates. Prior experience does get factored into our global assessment of a candidate, as does a number of other extra-curricular activities. 

Do you have opportunities to explore global health at your institution?

We are fortunate to have Elizabeth Devos, MD, as a UF-Jax EM faculty member. Dr Devos is the Medical Director of International Emergency Medicine Education for the UF College of Medicine, and Program Director of the UFCOM International Medical Education Programs. She also oversees global health participation by residents on our campus.

What are some qualities that your program looks for in applicants?

There are generic qualities that all programs will want - honesty, integrity, professionalism, solid academics, strong work ethic, good interpersonal skills. Importantly, I can't overstate the significance of maturity and the ability to assume responsibility in our analysis of a candidate. It's one thing to say you're mature or that you want's another to demonstrate it.  We try to look for applicants who have assumed various positions of responsibility in their life while maintaining their ability to perform academically.  That "look" varies from person to person based on their life experiences; we consider multiple different activities in our attempt to find a resident who will work well within our program. 

Interested in learning more about EM at the University of Florida-Jacksonville?

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