Interview by William Bui Tran.
Dr. Brett Albert grew up in Chicago and went to the Ohio State University, majoring in Neuroscience. He wanted to do medicine in some ways but always had an interest in podiatric medicine because of its diversity. He has recently matched into Hennepin Healthcare Podiatric Surgery Program in Minneapolis, MN and recently graduated from Des Moines University’s School of Podiatric Medicine.
Dr. Eric Temple graduated from Luther College with a Biology major and from Des Moines University’s School of Podiatric Medicine. He completed his residency at the Unity Point Foot and Ankle program. He currently is a board-certified surgeon at the Iowa Clinic and Residency Director of Iowa Clinic Foot & Ankle Surgery program.
1. Do you think there is a “best way” to compile a CV?
Dr. Temple believes that a CV should begin with a brief overview about your training. He states here is no need to go into great detail about your undergraduate unless you have some relevant research pertaining to medical education. This is the same with extracurricular activities; put them in the CV if you served as President, have research, or have lead roles in clubs. He also notes that it is beneficial to include any workshops you attended or any chapters or articles that you got published. Dr. Albert advises updating your CV every six months, including activities and academics. He also thinks having other qualified people taking a look at the CV for relevance can be helpful.
2. How do you get involved in leadership?
Dr. Albert has a methodical approach to this skill. He states that starting out as a member, going to the events, and working with the leadership is moving in the right direction. One of the common myths is you have to be the first-year liaison in order to run for a leadership position, which is untrue. Dr. Temple states he did not get involved in leadership until he got into residency. As a resident, he was involved with quality control council at Iowa Clinic, leadership with DMU to develop and improve journal club, and administrative roles as a resident.
Being willing to participate when someone wants to further their education and get direction from others is a key
3. What qualities do you look for in a student leader?
Dr. Temple states that being willing to participate when someone wants to further their education and get direction from others is a key. Then, they can go and expand in that direction. A student leader needs to also develop into his/her own sense. Communication is another important factor.
4. Are there any leadership positions during school that you think provide more benefits than others? If so, what are they?
Dr. Albert believes that being in a leadership position can be time consuming, but also beneficial. So, he does not believe that there are “better” positions over others. Dr. Temple, on the other hand, states that getting involved in APMSA is beneficial through research, posters, or presentations. An applicant can also expand their networking that way by learning from attendings across the country.
Communication is key in leadership positions.
5. Are there leadership qualities that you feel may be more valued than others?
Dr. Temple and Dr. Albert both note that communication is key in leadership positions. Dr. Temple also appreciates leaders that can learn and go above and beyond what they know and give credit to others rather than take credit. Dr. Albert also notes that compassion is an important leadership quality.
6. What other factors (GPA, extracurriculars, etc) in your opinion could affect the candidate?
Dr. Albert warns that an applicant’s conduct can affect them either positively or negatively. He states, “The residency directors and residents will remember how you conduct yourself when you rotate at their program. In some cases, you will need to use extracurriculars as preferences during the interview. Overall, GPA is one of the most important factors when you apply for clerkship. Once the interview season is around, GPA can be less important.” Dr. Temple looks for applicants who willingly work hard and work independently. He also states that the applicant needs to work well with others and communicate well to other co-residents and the attending. Residencies also need someone who is trustworthy. Once the attendings are not present, they know that the resident will do what they are supposed to do.
7. Do you think there are hobbies that can help students put their best foot forward?
As a sport player growing up, Dr. Temple believes there is a strong correlation between success and those who have hobbies in participating in athletic activities due to good communication and teamwork skills. Dr. Albert notes that any outside hobby is a positive aspect in a candidate.
8. Do you think there is a good time to bring up hobbies during interviews or externships?
Dr. Albert believes that during externships is an excellent time to bring up hobbies to residents and attendings. It’s a great way to establish rapport with residents and the program directors so they get to know about you better. During the interview, it shows the program that you are personable, and you are just like them. That’s very helpful! Dr. Temple this is also a way for a program to learn more about you and show they are interested in you.
9. During an interview of candidates with additional advanced degrees, how do you address being questioned about them?
Dr. Temple explains that if an applicant has an additional advanced degree that is relevant to your medical education, it shows dedication. It means to me that the applicant did everything they could in order to demonstrate their continuous learning commitment. Dr. Albert, speaking from personal experience, believes it shows that the candidate can handle many responsibilities at once.
You might see stuff that went wrong or that you disagree with, but do not bring that up during the interview
10. Is there anything students should avoid talking about during interviews or externships?
Dr. Albert states that any negative thoughts or feelings towards a program, attending, or resident should be kept to yourself. It’s not the place of a student to hold judgment towards any resident or program. At the end of the day, the residents represent the program. Dr. Temple advises that during clerkship or rotations, do not voice your opinions; no matter if it is positive or negative. You might see stuff that went wrong or that you disagree with, but do not bring that up during the interview.
11. Is there anything that you’ve seen on a CV that should be left off?
Dr. Temple notes that, while it is good to have hobbies and can appear on a CV, these are not important on a CV. Dr. Albert advises that activities that occur before arriving to medical school can be left off as it may not be relevant to the residency program.
Interview by: William Bui Tran, MS1
School: Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery
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