Why Choose UPMC's Internal Medicine Residency Program?
What's Unique About Our Program
- Second- and Third-year residents lead walk rounds on all medicine floor inpatient rotations. While Attendings are always immediately available, they join walk rounds just once a week, primarily to provide feedback on medical decision-making and teaching skills. Interns and medical students present to the resident, who makes all medical decisions on rounds and leads the bedside teaching. After rounds, the resident meets with the attending to discuss all patients. This format offers significant time with Attendings as they do their daily afternoon attending rounds and staff all new admissions. This rounding structure is unique and invaluable in the development of residents’ autonomy and their expertise as educators.
Customized Courses – Tracks
- There is a weekly Noon Conference specific to each track. Also available are additional mentorship, track rotations, and career guidance specific to track members’ career goals. Residents who choose not to join a track still benefit: all residents can attend track lunches, take track rotations as electives, and avail themselves of the dedicated mentorship within the tracks.
Four + Four Schedule
- Residents alternate call months (ICUs, Floors) with off-call months (Consult Electives, Ambulatory, Outpatient Electives). This provides more elective time during First Year while they are completing an optimal number of inpatient call months. This schedule enables Interns to gain additional exposure to different sub specialties that many residents may want to pursue for fellowship and that augment all residents’ education. This schedule also provides more time for self-directed learning during elective months, meaning that Interns can pursue research opportunities earlier in their training than they would otherwise. Although our elective rotations do not have overnight call or weekend shifts, they are still intensive, offering a wide breadth of clinical cases as well as the autonomy and teaching necessary to help build our residency’s strong internal medicine foundation.
Focus on Medical Education
- Resident teaching retreats: All residents participate in regular teaching retreats throughout their training. Clinical coverage is provided, giving residents essential protected time so they can be trained to run ward teams effectively and to be skilled educators throughout their residency.
- Resident teaching opportunities: Residents are mentored to effectively share evidence-based teaching points when they present morning report, EBM Journal Club, and other elective journal clubs, including Health Policy and Addiction Journal. Residents have numerous options for medical student teaching, in addition to the teaching they provide students rotating with them on various services.
- Teaching to Teach Elective: Residents gain additional teaching training and experience on all aspects of clinical and didactic teaching, while receiving feedback from expert faculty educators. Teaching First- and Second-Year medical students is a component of this elective.
- Medical Education Teaching Certificate: For those wanting teach throughout their careers, this certificate enables residents to gain additional training during Second and Third Year by completing of another Teaching Elective Rotation, “Residents as Teachers”.
- Faculty Development: Many of our faculty members have master’s degrees in Medical Education, and all General Internal Medicine teaching faculty spend a half day each week in faculty development. In addition, clinician-educators have protected time to teach, which permits direct education across the spectrum and unique curricular innovations.
Bedside Multi-Disciplinary Rounds
- Daily rounds occur in conjunction with case management and nursing staff facilitating coordinated team-based care and discharge planning.
- The program’s rounding process is efficient and effective: it optimizes students’ and Interns’ presentations skills, preserves efficient rounding so it is completed in two hours or less, and provides ample opportunity for the resident’s team leadership and education.
In addition to these innovations, our program offers:
- Daily Resident Morning Reports at all sites
- Weekly Intern Reports
- Daily Noon Conferences with Free Lunch
- World-class case exposure:
○ Our hospital has a very wide patient catchment area and receives referrals from PA, OH, WV, and VA, including a very diverse case mix including rare pathology. We are also a huge transplant center which provides a unique and educationally outstanding opportunity, as all of our services admit patients who are pursuing and who have received transplants.
○ The ICUs have extremely high acuity patients and include the opportunity to develop procedural expertise
○ The experience at the VA traditionally offers more “bread and butter” Internal Medicine, which complements the exposure to the rare and/or very complicated case variety more often seen at the university hospital.
○ The experience at Shadyside provides world class oncology exposure and training including the opportunity to care for patients undergoing CAR-T cell therapy
Career Interest-Focused Activities
Specialized Training in Addiction Medicine
- Specialized Addiction consult service
- Monthly Addiction Journal Club
- Numerous research opportunities related to diagnosis, treatment and prevention
Global Health and Underserved Populations
- Intern rotation in Chinle, Arizona, with the Indian Health Service
- Introduction to Global Health Rotation, which includes tropical medicine, global health policy, and ultrasonography training
- Global Health Electives in Mozambique, Malawi, Guyana, Ghana
- Birmingham Free Clinic as continuity clinic
- Social Determinants of Health Curriculum
- Home visit program
- Weekly global health conferences
- Monthly hands-on training in ultrasound
- Women’s Health track, which allows for specialized training in gender-specific care across a woman’s lifetime; comprehensive contraception education, including placement of nexplanon/IUDs; and rotations in both primary and subspecialty care of women across the spectrum
- Mentorship with focus on promoting leadership within medicine and career planning
- Weekly lunch lectures reviewing the cutting-edge management of issues encountered in women’s health
- VA Center of Excellence for Women’s Health
Clinical Reasoning Committee
- Residents complete a validated training curriculum on Clinical Reasoning with reinforcement on all rotations throughout their three years of training
- Opportunities to be involved in developing new and innovative ways to teach Clinical Reasoning
- Structured reinforcement of Clinical Reasoning skills in Morning Reports
- Ability to present Clinical Reasoning cases at local and national conferences
- Significant research opportunities for projects related to Academic Education
Point-of-Care Ultrasound Training in Internal Medicine
- Intern introduction to point-of-care ultrasound curriculum
- Ultrasound Interest Group: Meetings at least once a month to review and practice common ultrasound findings and techniques
- Central Line training: part of the MICU rotations, this includes work in the simulation center practicing central line placement, with teaching guidance from a number of Critical Care faculty members
ACTION – Health Policy Group
- Resident-directed health policy and advocacy group that comprises residents of all experience levels. We have monthly meetings to discuss current events that focus on health care. Our mission is to educate and advocate.
- Residents have the opportunity to participate in health care debates held at different times during the year.
- We participate in real-time advocacy, including rallies, writing op-eds, and contacting out local and state representatives.
- We have attended the Society for General Internal Medicine Hill Day.
Clinical Skills Enhancement/Moonlighting opportunities:
All PGY2s and 3s may moonlight while on off-call rotations. This facilitates additionall development of clinical decision-making and autonomy, and offers a high hourly pay rate.
- Intensive Care Units
- Medicine Teaching Service
- Hem/Onc inpatient service at Shadyside
Full Spectrum of Research Opportunities in ALL Departments
(Basic science → Translational → Clinical → Epidemiology → QI → Medical Education)
Assigned Faculty Research Point People in Each Department
These faculty members know the details of their department’s research and help Interns/Residents find a mentor with similar interests to their own. Divisions also continually update a list of “shovel-ready projects,” i.e. projects with a principal investigator who is experienced in mentoring residents and projects on a timeline conducive to scholarly productivity.
Presentation and Publication Opportunities
Residents have access to coverage to present at national conferences during all three years of Residency. They also receive funding to help with travel and lodging expenses.
The Internal Medicine Residency offers TWO research focused tracks (ABIM Research Pathway and Clinical Scientist Track) that provide additional focused training to help succeed in a career as a Physician-Scientist.
Elizabeth Ann Oczypok, MD, PhD
What was the most important factor in your choice of Pitt for residency?
I am undecided about what internal medicine subspecialty I would like to pursue, so it was important to me that Pitt was renowned in so many clinical fields. Additionally, Pitt’s booming research environment, diverse patient population, and strong support for educational experiences made it a very attractive academic program for me. There is also an immense collegiality among faculty at UPMC, and the residents seem very happy. I was also drawn to the program because of the clinical scientist track—I have a background in basic science, but wanted to obtain more formal training in clinical research during residency.
What about the city of Pittsburgh attracted you?
I have lived in Pittsburgh my entire life, and I am still finding new things to do! I have watched the city transform over the years into a hotspot of cultural activity. I regularly try new restaurants, go to the symphony, and enjoy the parks. The city is a nice size and very affordable. Each neighborhood has its own unique personality. The love that Pittsburghers have for their city (and its quirks!) is infectious—if you move here, you’ll come to love pierogie races, Kennywood Park, smiley cookies, and more. For me, I also like living close to my family.
How did you research residency programs before the Match? What advice to you have for prospective applicants?
I focused mostly on academic programs in the Northeast and Midwest. I searched websites and spoke with current and previous residents from those programs to get a feel for each place I interviewed. I also paid attention to where each programs’ residents went for their fellowship training. My advice for applicants is to go with your gut feeling—you have to pick the place that is right for you. A lot of programs are structured similarly, so find the place that fits your specific needs and has the people that you get along with the best.
What are you most looking forward to over the next three years?
Most physicians I have talked with look back on their residency training, despite its long hours and hard work, as some of the best years of their careers. I think this is because of the great friendships you form and the growth you experience as a physician during these three years. I am looking forward to these experiences and can’t wait to see where the journey takes me. In addition to my clinical training, I am also excited to have the chance to teach medical students and develop my skills as an educator.
Casey McQuade, MD
What was the most important factor in your choice of Pitt for residency?
I was most impressed with the people I met on my interview day at Pitt. Starting with my pre-interview dinner and throughout the next day, I came across many down-to-earth residents from a diverse set of backgrounds. The faculty I met were clearly devoted to resident education and had a vision for developing well-rounded, compassionate physicians. All of the places where I interviewed promised rigorous training and abundant research opportunities. Pitt combined those promises with a group of people I knew I would enjoy working with throughout my residency.
What are your thoughts about the city of Pittsburgh?
As a guy with a pretty diverse set of interests, I think Pittsburgh is a great city. First and foremost, the Pittsburgh sports teams – the Pirates, Steelers, and Penguins – are fantastic, and it’s really a blast to be a part of their fanbase. Pittsburgh also has a thriving cultural scene with a city orchestra and off-Broadway theater productions. There are also so many good restaurants in the city, I’m still finding new ones to explore. And just outside the city (and even some spots within city limits), there is great hiking, biking, and running trails to enjoy. Pittsburgh has something for everyone.
What do you like best about your residency program?
The best part of this residency program is my co-residents. Kind, wise, amazingly accomplished, easy to work with, fun to be around. They are a constant source of encouragement and guidance in what is otherwise a difficult job. I am very thankful for them as coworkers and also as friends.
How do you relieve stress?
I enjoy being outside and staying active. Running, hiking, and biking are great ways to let my mind unwind and also get to know different parts of the city. Schenley Park has many great running trails, and the Three Rivers Heritage trail is a great place for a relaxing bike ride on the weekends. In the winter, I destress by hanging out with my friends. I also play the piano: staying creative and learning a new song is a great way to relax after a long day.
Any advice for incoming residents?
Keep up with your hobbies and interests. Residency is a very busy time, but being a doctor is only a part of who you are. Continuing the non-medical activities that you love helps give you perspective and helps you recharge your batteries at the end of the day. One other tip is to write down what you learn each day. Then look it up again when you get home, even if it’s only for 15-30 minutes. You’ll have a record of everything you learn each month (very gratifying), and you will keep you reading and learning day to day.