Program Director Interviews, Medical Students, Match

Program Director Interview Series: James Waymack, MD FACEP | EM Residency Program Director at SIU School of Medicine, Springfield, IL

In this month’s addition to the Program Director Interview Series, we got to chat with James Waymack, MD FACEP to learn about the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Dr. Waymack tells us more about residency in the Land of Lincoln.

What sets the SIU School of Medicine's EM residency program apart from others?

Our program focuses on developing skilled physicians and educators prepared to practice in any environment. Our two main training sites provide excellent exposure to high acuity patients. We have a robust Residents as Teachers curriculum and are very fortunate to have state-of-the-art simulation and procedural lab facilities to train in at the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation.

What are the benefits of attending a three- vs. a four-year EM residency program?

Every program has characteristics that make it unique. Prospective applicants should consider all components of a residency’s curriculum when considering where they wish to continue their training in emergency medicine.

What is something students may not know about your program?

For a city the size of Springfield, we have two busy tertiary care hospitals which are both Level-1 trauma centers and flagships for their respective health systems serving downstate Illinois. We are fortunate to have strong clinical training sites and supportive hospital partners. We also offer a rural ED experience providing exposure to practicing in a resource-limited environment. SIUEM provides excellent clinical training in a city that is affordable and easy to exist in when your workday is done.

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

Our program reviews an applicant in their totality, we do not have any specific score cutoffs.

What kinds of opportunities for research exist for residents in your program? Do you look for residency candidates with research experience?

In recent years our research has focused on medical education simulation, quality improvement, and patient safety, and pediatric emergency medicine. Our EMS Division was created this year and we expect significant research in this subspecialty moving forward. We are always excited to have residents with prior research experience.

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

There is an elective time built into the PGY-2 and PGY-3 year that residents may use for global health.

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

Applicants who stand out have records demonstrating that they have a drive for excellence and are ideal team players.

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