Program Director Interviews, Match

Program Director Interview Series: Sarah Dubbs, MD | EM Residency Program Director at University of Maryland Emergency Medicine Residency, Baltimore, MD

In this month’s addition to the Program Director Interview Series, we got to chat with Dr. Sarah Dubbs to learn about training at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

What sets your program apart from others?

In short, amazing clinical training and our mission for leadership set us apart. The University of Maryland hosts three EM programs- a traditional 3-year Emergency Medicine program, and combined 5-year programs which prepare residents for dual board certification in either EM plus Internal Medicine or EM plus Pediatrics. Having these three programs naturally brings a broad base of personalities and interests to the program, and contributes to strong inter-departmental relationships across the medical center. Our residents train in a variety of sites in addition to our academic home base at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. They experience EM from all sides, an urban academic center, an underserved county setting, a rural ED, and even a free-standing facility. They are prepared to work, teach, and lead in any setting. Our goal is to develop strong clinicians who are dedicated to their patients, but also go above and beyond. Our trainees contribute as leaders in their hospitals and communities, and in the greater landscape of medicine.

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

There are positives to both sides. My biggest piece of advice to students with this question is to consider the global picture of what each program has to offer, and how it fits with your goals in residency and beyond. In the end, you are looking for a program that matches your values, and where your personal mission will be supported.

What is something students may not know about your program?

Residency may only be a few years, but the bonds created at UMEM are strong and enduring. Our alumni, across generations of UMEM classes, actively support each other as “fr-amily”, both in personal and career life!

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

We do not look for any specific scores when reviewing applications. The entire application is reviewed, looking for applicants that would align well with our mission and values as a program.

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

Our faculty members are active in many types of research- from clinical to bench research. Research experience is great, especially pertaining to Emergency Medicine, but is not required of candidates.

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

We have residents participating in global health initiatives and committees, and there is opportunity to do a global health elective while in residency. Our residents have travelled to India, Vietnam, South Africa, and other locations across the planet.

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

We are looking for hard-working self-starters who have a passion for EM and making the world a better place. Essentials are a positive resilient attitude, commitment to education, and involvement in the profession, as well as the ability to maintain life balance and connectedness within our team. Lending itself to all of this is having a growth mindset. It is extremely important to be able to be comfortable with being uncomfortable for the sake of learning and growth!

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

Excellent communication skills, high emotional intelligence, and the ability to overcome when faced by challenges- these are attributes and qualities that distinguish great candidates!

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