Question About Maintaining Momentum For Residency
Hi Dr. Julius,
I’m a first-year DO, and I am just finishing up the final exams for the first term. I’ve done very well so far and am on track to be near the top of the class, if not first (Though it is just the first term, much can change). I’ve had a strong interest in radiology before medical school, much of it due to my physics background as an undergrad.
I wanted to ask, how can I keep the ball rolling to make for a successful radiology application? I’ve heard conflicting answers about research. Some say that research isn’t as important in the eyes of PDs, but most of that advice I hear is towards MD candidates and may not necessarily apply to me.
I have two publications from undergraduate in my specialty field of physics. Still, I am a little lost on finding opportunities in radiology research, given that my school does not have a radiology department. Is it unprofessional to reach out to nearby departments to see if residents have any ongoing projects?
The Momentum Chaser
Answer About Maintaining The Momentum:
Hi Momentum Chaser,
I’m glad to hear that you are starting your medical school on the right foot. However, remember that the first couple of years are very different from your school’s clinical portion. Many students who do well during the first two years do not repeat the same grades when they make it to the clinical years when the medical school evaluates you on some of your softer skills. (Although some do) So, try to play nice in the sandbox to keep the momentum when you get to your clinical years!
Importance Of Research For Residency
Regarding research, the importance of it to residency programs differs widely depending on where you apply. And, I don’t believe it changes anything if you are DO or an MD. Some highly academic programs rely on their residents performing research during the four-year residency program. So, a Mass General type of program is going to want to see lots of research. On the other hand, a community program will not care to the same extent about the research you have conducted already. They will worry a lot more about having a good quality clinical resident. Specifically, they want one that can handle the overnight call and the residency workload. So, the answer to your question about the importance of research is it depends.
What To Do If Your School Doesn’t Have Radiology Research Opportunities
To answer your last question, it is certainly appropriate to ask other departments within your school or other sites for ongoing research opportunities. You may also want to consider finding a project within your school that may overlap with radiology, although not radiology specific. For example, there may be an internal medicine project that requires some imaging. I mention this because it can be more challenging to find projects outside your institution (although possible). To also answer your question, it is also professional and appropriate to ask about projects in nearby departments. It may be helpful to continue the momentum for your application and career!
I hope that helps a bit,
Barry Julius, MD