Program Director Interviews

Program Director Interview Series: Dorian Drigalla, MD, FACEP | Scott & White Medical Center - Temple

In this installment of the Program Director Interview Series, Dorian Drigalla, MD, FACEP, offers an overview of the EM residency at Scott & White Medical Center - Temple

What sets your program apart from others?
After 26 years, we have grown from 6 to 14 residents per year (18 to 42 total).  As a Level 1 Trauma Center – Chest Pain Center – Stroke Center – Tertiary Referral Center, we care for a catchment area of more than 1 million people in our city and surrounding counties.  We see 70,000-75,000 visits per year at our adult site and 30,000 visits per year at our Children’s ED in a city of about 73,000 people.  As there is no pure “county” hospital here, we are the private hospital, the academic center, and the non-profit hospital that serves all.

What are the benefits of attending a 3- vs. 4-year EM residency program?
The main benefit is the ability to complete all core EM training requirements in less time and being adequately prepared and board-eligible. While some feel that a 4-year program may better prepare graduates for an academic career, we have a high percentage of graduates choose academic careers.

What is something students may not know about your program?
We have multiple fellowship-trained and/or dual-boarded faculty, including 3 Peds-EM, 1 EMS, 1 EM-Critical Care, 1 Medical Toxicology, and 1 Tropical and Disaster Medicine.

What range of USMLE/COMLEX Step 1 scores do you look for in an applicant for the program?
220+ Step 1.  All applicants should take USMLE Step 1 – we use this as the uniform comparative exam.

What opportunities for research exist? Do you look for residency candidates with research experience?
Our faculty includes editors of two textbooks with multiple chapter-writing opportunities.  We participate in some clinical trials, quite a bit of simulation and education-based research, and we author many case reports. 

Do you have opportunities to explore global health at your institution?
We have a 2-week elective in the PGY2 year, which is sufficient time to allow for a self-driven elective.  Our institution supports allowance of these experiences, but individual opportunities must be sought.  Our PGY3 Associate Program Director completed a Global Health (Tropical and Disaster) Fellowship and is a great mentor and resource for these opportunities. 

What are some qualities your program looks for in applicants?
Strong academic performance, honesty, integrity, team player.

What attributes make an applicant stand out to you?
Former work experience, participation in leadership (in work, school, church, or the community), AOA recognition, research participation

Interested in learning more about the Scott & White Medical Center - Temple Emergency Medicine Residency Program? Get details!

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