Program Director Interviews, Match, Medical Students

Program Director Interview with Dr. John Casey, Program Director at Ohio Health/Doctor’s Hospital Emergency Medicine Residency

In the latest installment of our PD Q&A series, we are highlighting the Ohio Health/Doctor’s Hospital Emergency Medicine Residency. We spoke with the current PD Dr. John Casey, MD about what makes his program unique and what he looks for in potential residents.

What sets your program apart from others?

Our program has a rich history of balancing outstanding exposure to the practice of clinical medicine with the advantages of opportunities to further develop areas of interest such as EMS, education, wilderness medicine, ultrasound, administration, osteopathic medicine and more. We enjoy exposure to a diverse population with many varied emergency conditions (including pediatrics) all in a thriving community with tons to get into!

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

Emergency medicine honestly is a bit much for 3 years. Can it be done, sure? But you have to think about your time in residency – not just what happens when you finish. The benefit of the 4 year approach is that there is time for solid development of skills, not just the minimum needed. There is some space to allow for issues that arise during residency (life happens) and a schedule that allows for true resident wellness. Opportunities to moonlight mitigate what often seems to be the biggest concern for residents – this theoretical year of “lost” attending salary.

What is something students may not know about your program?

Our program has a deep bench of faculty and resident involvement at the forefront of emergency medicine. Podcasts including those from EM Over Easy and Hippo EM, involvement in Resident Leadership with EMRA and ACOEP, faculty engagement in ALiEM incubator programs, national presentations on a wide variety of medical topics at such national meetings as ACOEP, ACEP, EEM, SAEM and more – these are but a few of the areas of involvement represented by our team!

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 do a holistic review of our applicants and appreciate the chance to look beyond any specific scoring range. Passing Step 1 is mandatory to enter the independent practice of medicine, but we know things can cause hiccups along the way. We review applicants that struggled on Step 1 with authentic inquiry to see what happened and if it is a barrier to them being a great candidate for our program.

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

Research experience can be a huge part of a student’s experience and we look at that along with other attributes on their application. That being said, it’s not for everybody, and we get that. We will teach in residency the level that is needed to make you an outstanding emergency physician. Beyond that there is hospital wide support for resident research involvement – but it is not the central focus of our residency.

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

Yes – some have created their own pursuit through electives and volunteer opportunities, and others have approached it though EMS / Disaster / and Wilderness Medicine. We work with all of our residents to help them pursue their passions!

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

We want applicants with diverse backgrounds and life experiences to add to the richness of our residency family. Our goal is to help you become a fulfilled emergency physician – for life! Some of the very best residents we have ever had were curious, humble, passionate about doing better every day, and able to laugh (especially at themselves). A word that makes faculty ears perk up is “teachable” – it means so much more than just “able to learn” and is a great quality to have!

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

Previous life experiences really help us understand the approach you will take to seeing patients. These don’t just have to be in medicine by the way…many of our residents have had experiences as servers, entrepreneurs, paramedics, bartenders, etc. – and these are all great backgrounds for working with patients and as part of the emergency medicine team. Talk about your passions and hobbies. The authenticity will make your application shine, and that will make you stand out!

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