Internal Medicine

Welcome to the Department of Internal Medicine Resource Page. This online repository houses relevant resources and contact information for students seeking career advice. We encourage you to review the career-related materials provided (e.g. Specialty Webinar, Interview Questions, Research, etc.) as you seek support in your journey through medical school. If you have further questions that are not addressed on this page, please feel free to contact a Specialty Faculty Mentor for further guidance.

MATCH PREPARATION AND CHARTING OUTCOMES

You are more than your Step Scores!  Use this NRMP page to explain HERE  and to interactively explore your specialty of interest,  based on your own experiences, educational attainment, and scholarship HERE.

There are two reasons to do an away rotation:

1.If the student is targeting a specific geographic rotation and therefore their match list will be smaller than recommended (recommendation depends on strength of application).

2.The student is interested in a program that is highly competitive and they wish to impress the program by doing a rotation which will allow them to demonstrate their interpersonal skills and work ethic.

Research is desirable, even if was done as an undergraduate, but not essential. If research has been conducted, the student should be able to describe and discuss the content as well as their participation in any poster or manuscript production.

Number of letters recommended – 3

Chair’s letter/SLOE/special letter required? In addition to the above aDepartment Chair letter is required.

Number of letters from within specialty? At least 2 should be within the specialty. The 3rd, if not from Medicine, should be from another primary care experience (e.g. Pediatrics, Family Medicine).

Number of letters from away rotations/institutions? None needed

Do you require the MSPE before offering interviews? No, unless Step scores are near the minimum.

Students should obtain letters using the following hierarchy:

1.The strongest letter possible. This will likely be from a faculty member who spontaneously offers to write a letter without being asked. If not, acquiring such a letter is facilitated by asking potential letter writers “Do you think you can write me a great letter?”.

2.From an Internal Medicine rotation instead of another specialty

3.From a primary care specialty if it is not from an Internal Medicine rotation.

4.From a research mentor with whom the student has performed productive research (i.e. resulting in a poster or manuscript)

5.If there are letters at the same level in the hierarchy, the faculty with the highest academic rank/experience should be used

Avoid letters from the following:

1.Faculty with whom you have not done clinical work or productive research

2.Faculty from non-primary care specialties. An exception would be an extremely strong letter from a non-psychiatry clerkship faculty member

The personal statement should assist Program Directors in learning about the applicant “as a person”. It should avoid reiterating information that is available in their CV or MSPE. There are several useful themes and the student should choose which one(s) are most applicable. They include:

1.What event(s) led to entering into the medical profession?

2.A challenging personal experience and how you overcame it.

3.Patient(s) that taught the student something about themselves (not about a disease).

4.A person or persons that is/are role models in their lives.

5.A personal medical issue (as long as it does not raise concern about the student’s ability to carry out their duties as a resident).

6.Personal passions related to service, community, social justice, promoting wellness.

Things to avoid:

1.Although leadership and community activity related to religion is wonderful and may certainlybe included, the student should avoid comments that appear to promote one religion over another, or that may sound exclusionary.

2.Although activities related to advocacy may be included and may have a political component, overly enthusiastic support for controversial politics (or politicians) should be avoided.

3.If the student describes a challenge that occurred during medical school (e.g. exam failure, repeating a course/year, disciplinary action) the description should be factual and not be overly defensive or sound as if the student is making excuses for what transpired.

When do programs in your specialty generally begin reviewing applications? As soon as ERAS opens.

When do programs in your specialty begin offering interviews? Late September.

When does your program generally offer interviews? From mid-October through mid-January.

Do you require the MSPE before offering interviews? No, unless Step scores are near the minimum.
It does not matter at what date during the interview season the student interviews. All students are equally memorable.

Once students have a realistic picture as to how competitive they are (this can be assisted by meeting with the UIC Program Director) the student should interview at least 12-14 programs, 2-3 of which are “safe” (the student is likely to match there) and 2-3 are “a stretch” (the student is less likely to match there).

It is not necessary to contact the program or the Program Director after the interview but if the student wishes to send a brief note or email that is certainly acceptable. It is important to make it brief (8-10 sentence max) inconsideration of the fact thatthe program staff receive hundreds of emails a week. Do not call the program. If you contact the program, avoid asking a question that was already answered during the interview day.If you are truly ranking the program number 1, you can let the program know. DO NOT say this to more than one program. Avoid telling a program that you are “ranking them in the top 3”. This will be interpreted that you are ranking them number 3.

  1. The NRMP publishes a survey of Applicants each year. This report presents the results of selected items from the 2019 NRMP Applicant Survey. The report documents factors that applicants weigh in selecting programs (1) at which to interview and (2) to rank in the Main Residency Match. It can be found HERE.
  2. The NRMP Publishes a survey of Residency Program Directors. This report examines the factors program directors use to select applicants to interview and rank. Data are reported for 22 specialties and the transitional year in the Main Residency Match. It can be found HERE.
  3. Looking for residency programs?  The AAMC interactive, Careers in Medicine Website is where you should be! LINK
  4. Having difficulty deciphering this information?  Contact your Student Affairs Career Advisor on your campus!!!

MATCH PREPARATION AND CHARTING OUTCOMES

You are more than your Step Scores!  Use this NRMP page to explain HERE  and to interactively explore your specialty of interest,  based on your own experiences, educational attainment, and scholarship HERE.

Away rotations for Internal Medicine are not required; however, they may be useful in the following circumstances:

1.If a student is interested in a program that is very competitive, they may go for an “audition rotation”. Be prepared to perform at your highest level; that means waking up early, staying late, reading around your patients, taking ownership over your patients, and answering clinical questions.

2.If a student is targeting a geographical location, it is good to show an interest in that location by doing away rotations in that area. Be aware that an away rotation that goes poorly can affect your application negatively at that institution.

Research is not a requirement for application/interview in our program. Research is desirable and regarded as a strength and should be listed on an application even if it was done as an undergraduate. Most importantly, if a student has participated in research, he/she should be able to describe and discuss the content as well as his/her participation in any poster or manuscript production.

Number of letters recommended – 3

Chair’s letter/SLOE/special letter required? A Department Chair letter is required for our program.

Number of letters from within specialty? 2 letters from within the specialty are ideal but not required. A well-written letter by someone who has worked with the student and can speak to their characteristics that make them a great applicant is the best letter.

Number of letters from away rotations/institutions? None required.

Do you require the MSPE before offering interviews? It is not required but our program generally extends interviews after the MSPE’s are available for review.

Students should obtain letters using the following level of importance:

1. Find someone who will write you the strongest letter. This will ideally be from a faculty member that knows you well and has worked with you in a professional context.(Examples of this would be a ward/clinic attending)Ask potential letter writers after your rotation with them: “Do you think you can write me a strong letter of recommendation?”The quality of letter trumps the academic rank or reputation of the writer.

2. A letter from an internal medicine faculty member instead of another specialty.

3. A letter from a faculty member in a primary care specialty.

4. A letter from a research mentor with whom the student has performed productive research (i.e. resulting in a poster or manuscript)

5. If all things are equal, opt to ask for a letter of recommendation from the faculty member with the highest academic rank, position, or experience.

Avoid letters from the following:

1.Faculty with whom you have not done clinical work or productive research

2. Faculty who are related to you in some way or purely know you personally.

3. Faculty who gave you a poor evaluation.

1. Be personal. After reading this, we should be able to have an idea of how the applicant is motivated, what they choose to do with their time, why they chose internal medicine, and why they would be a good applicant for the program.
2. Have a few people give you feedback on your personal statement. Ask your advisor to help you with it.
3. Address any gaps, red flags, or low test scores in the personal statement and how you’ve addressed these. It is normal that human beings have a mishap at some time in our lives. We are interested in how you have grown from it and reflected upon it.
4. Try to restrict yourself to one page.

When do programs in your specialty generally begin reviewing applications? When ERAS opens

When do programs in your specialty begin offering interviews? After ERAS opens, but it varies between programs. Some programs start later than others.

When does your program generally offer interviews? October -January

Do you require the MSPE before offering interviews? It is not required but our program generally extends interviews after the MSPE’s are available for review.

Practice and get feedback from your advisors. Our campus participates in mock interviews. We highly recommend that.

In our program, we do not encourage post-interview communication to reduce stress and anxiety on applicants in an already busy interview season. For the most part, your placement on the rank list is determined immediately after the interview, after evaluating your application holistically. Please contact us if you have a specific question regarding the program, but further communication beyond that is not expected.Similarly, the program will only send a response to specific questions about the training program or location. The program does not send responses to thank you notes or general emails about the interview day.

Second looks are for you to help determine where that program falls on your rank list. A second look does not increase your odds of matching within our program.

Thank you cards are not expected after interviews.

Letters of intent similarly do not affect your odds of matching into our program. If you are passionate about a program and want to draft a letter or email expressing that, feel free to
send one to the named contact, whether it is the program coordinator or program director. We would recommend that you have an advisor or close friend read it to ensure it would not be misinterpreted. Our program does not routinely respond to thank you notes or letters of intent but will respond to specific questions.
  1. The NRMP publishes a survey of Applicants each year. This report presents the results of selected items from the 2019 NRMP Applicant Survey. The report documents factors that applicants weigh in selecting programs (1) at which to interview and (2) to rank in the Main Residency Match. It can be found HERE.
  2. The NRMP Publishes a survey of Residency Program Directors. This report examines the factors program directors use to select applicants to interview and rank. Data are reported for 22 specialties and the transitional year in the Main Residency Match. It can be found HERE.
  3. Looking for residency programs?  The AAMC interactive, Careers in Medicine Website is where you should be! LINK
  4. Having difficulty deciphering this information?  Contact your Student Affairs Career Advisor on your campus!!!

SPECIALTY FACULTY LIAISONS

Chicago

Alfredo Mena Lora, MD, FACP

amenalor@uic.edu

Peoria

Peter Phan, MD, FACP

uicompcareer@uic.edu

Specialty Webinars