Match, Program Director Interviews, Medical Students

Program Director Interview with Dr. Jeffrey Siegelman, Program Director at Emory University Emergency Medicine Residency

In the latest installment of our PD Q&A series, we are highlighting the Emory University Emergency Medicine Residency program. We spoke with the current PD Dr. Jeffrey Siegelman about what makes their program unique and what they look for in potential residents.

What sets your program apart from others?

Emory’s EM residency has been around for 50 years, so we are well established. At the same time, we also embrace innovation both due to the changing demands of patient care and the evolving needs of residents as learners. Our program combines a pervasive mission to care for the underserved with the academic endeavors spanning the breadth of Emergency Medicine.

What is something students may not know about your program?

Part of working at a safety net hospital is serving as an advocate for patients, both clinically and in the community. Our residents do a great job of considering our patients’ social context and working to develop plans that maximize patients’ success. At Grady, we can get our patients the care they need, but it sometimes requires a few extra phone calls and knowing how the system works to get things done on behalf of our patients. Our residents never hesitate to put in the extra effort it takes to make it happen.

How do you feel about the change to pass/fail Step 1 grading?

It is great. For us we have never had filters or held people to a certain score. We understand that there are things that happen to medical students that impact their score on a particular test. What we look for is for people who are committed, compassionate, leaders in the field. We weigh the SLOEs heavily in helping us understand who is going to be a great fit for Emergency Medicine.

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

We want people who are going to be engaged in some aspect of EM, whatever their interests are, so that they can develop as a leader in the field. We have 140 faculty doing amazing things and want residents to join in. Some of the areas of particular interest in the department are injury prevention, opioid use disorder, EMS, ultrasound, healthcare disparities, and more. Residents have access to statistical analysis support and monthly writing days to help prepare IRBs and manuscripts for anything they are working on. As their research completes, we support travel to go to conferences.

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

Yes, over the last 5-6 years this is the part of the department that has grown the most. We have funding to support resident travel during their second and third year. They can work with faculty in the department who have diverse areas of focus, from South America, to Africa, to Asia. The Emory School of Medicine also has a track that residents can apply to travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

What are some qualities that your program looks for in applicants?Can you describe any attributes and qualities that make applicants stand out?

When I look at the application, I'm trying to answer 2 questions: Are they going to be great in EM and are they a fit for Emory? The first question comes from personal statements, SLOEs, MSPEs, and recommendation letters. The second question is answered more by what the applicant has participated in and accomplished leading up to residency. Are they motivated by working at a safety net hospital; have they shown interest in taking leadership roles? There is not one thing I recruit for, but I want a class of engaged residents who are working to become the best EM physicians they can be and contribute to the field of emergency medicine. Certainly, how an applicant performs in the emergency department on their audition rotations speaks loudest in terms of how they’ll do in residency. 

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

I think first it's a geographic decision. So, if you want to go to the Northeast or West coast, there are many 4-year programs, but the Southeast has mostly 3-year programs. I personally attended a 4-year program and had the chance to pursue my interest in education and simulation with my elective time. Attending an Emergency Medicine program for 3 years is enough to make a clinically excellent EM physician. There is time to pursue academic interests, but it will require working concurrently with their clinical responsibilities which becomes easier with seniority. Our residents have had the opportunity to explore their interests as far as research, academics, global health, and more.





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