Medical Students, Program Director Interviews, Match

Program Director Interview with Dr. Michelino Mancini, Program Director at Spectrum Health Lakeland

In the latest installment of our PD Q&A series, we are highlighting the Spectrum Health Lakeland Emergency Medicine Residency Program. We spoke with the current PD Dr. Michelino Mancini, MD, about what makes his program unique and what he looks for in potential residents.

What sets your program apart from others?

This is a tough question because there are a number of fantastic residency programs throughout the country. The most predominant feature of Corewell Health Lakeland’s EM residency program is its unopposed educational environment. This is supplemented by the fact that Corewell Health Lakeland acts as a safety net healthcare system for the community in Southwest Michigan. Being the largest residency at Lakeland and not having other surgical specific residency programs to compete with allows our EM residents ample experience mastering traumas, resuscitations and procedures. From day one, residents are brought into complex and high acuity patient encounters and taught the prioritization of stabilization. As they become more comfortable in these scenarios, they gain more autonomy in their practice and the confidence to manage multiple traumas and resuscitations. In addition, residents obtain all their mandated ACGME procedure logs within their 2nd year and then are provided opportunities to expand their procedural capabilities with advanced skills such as bedside lateral canthotomy, transvenous pacemakers and regional nerve blocks. This early progressive autonomy is guided and encouraged by our diverse and supportive faculty. Our faculty includes many nationally recognized educators who are dedicated to the success of the residents beyond their years of training.

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

Our program is a 3-year residency, with options to expand knowledge in the field of Emergency Medicine with our longitudinal tracks: Administration, EMS, Medical Education/Simulation, Pediatrics, Sports Medicine, Ultrasound and Wilderness Medicine. These tracks have led residents directly into their specific field of interest post-graduation while others have utilized these tracks to enter into specialty fellowships.

What is something students may not know about your program?

Our program develops residents into leaders. Over 60% of our graduating residents enter into a leadership position within their first year as an attending. This is a result of our EM specific leadership curriculum, institutional committee participation, quality improvement methodologies and our individualized mentorship program. In addition, our program is known for its family environment. From wilderness retreats to journal clubs and weekly resident get togethers, our residents feel like they are part of a family amongst themselves and the faculty they learn from. This family environment allows learners wellness opportunities within the hospital and outside the daily work schedules. Finally, and most importantly, you have an extended family beyond your years of training.

What range of USMLE/COMLEX Step 1 scores do you look for in an applicant for the program? Or alternatively, how do you feel about the change to pass/fail Step 1 grading?

We have no set limits for either test and consider applicants from both MD and DO training programs, using a holistic approach. Our Faculty and Chief Residents over the years have included MD and DO graduates.


The change to a pass fail is long overdue. The USMLE/COMLEX scores provide a small picture of a potential candidate. Programs are reviewing the entire application of a candidate and utilizing internal metrics to understand individual fit. This change will likely lead to a more in-depth review of all applicants.

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

Lakeland offers numerous research opportunities for our residents and faculty. All EM residents are teamed up with experienced EM faculty in developing a research project. These projects focus on realistic clinical research hypotheses. Some of our most recent publications include “Gender differences in the disposition of patients presenting to the emergency department with chest pain” and a “Cohort Study Evaluating the Efficacy of PO Magnesium in the Treatment of Adolescent Acute Traumatic Brain Injury." All research projects are supported by statisticians, grant writers and research assistants. The completion of the residents’ research projects leads them to present their topic at regional and national conferences.

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

Lakeland is extremely lucky to partner with a local medical group (Southwestern Medical Group) that has numerous affiliates internationally. Faculty traveling abroad for medical missions or those providing aid at clinics frequently secure resident participation for these wonderful experiences. Our most sought-after locations annually are Sierra Leone, Togo and Haiti.

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

Leadership, communication, emotional intelligence, creativity, resourcefulness, integrity and accountability to the field of emergency medicine.

Can you describe any attributes and qualities that make applicants stand out?

I like to use the word “spongibility." Applicants who have displayed their ability to absorb as many experiences in medical school as possible are on the right path to success. We don’t expect medical students or residents to know everything, but we do expect them to strive to become better every day. These experiences will develop your eagerness to learn and reach levels of success that sometimes are difficult to initially see. This is our ultimate goal, to make you into the best version of yourself.

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