For DMU’s osteopathic medical and podiatric medical students who see the residency application process on their near horizons, the week of September 21 was just what the doctor ordered: 16 alumni, ranging from the Class of 2020 to the Class of 1989, gave presentations and participated in round table discussions – all via Zoom – to share their insights and advice for landing a residency.
What should one look for in a residency program? How can students learn what each residency program is like? What should they be sure to do and not do during interviews? After an interview, is it okay to engage with the program via social media? And perhaps more important, what are program directors looking for?
“Board scores and first-time pass rates are important. So is who you are as a person, and whether you are teachable,” advised Teresa Hubka, D.O.’89, FACOOG, FACOG, CS, who gave a keynote presentation about the new single accreditation system for graduate medical education for osteopathic and allopathic medical school graduates. “We’re really looking at who you are and are you the right fit for our program.”
The week’s presentations and round tables – attended by more than 140 students and recorded for other students to access later – were part of DMU’s Alumni Sharing Knowledge, or ASK, a network of graduates who sign up to mentor students individually and at events. It’s a great way for alumni to be rock stars for students who value their expertise. All alumni are encouraged to participate and can set how much time they want to commit.
That students were able to get advice directly from distinguished alumni like Dr. Hubka, an ASK member, demonstrates the power of the network. She is founder and medical director of Comprehensive Wellness Care LLC in Chicago and a clinical professor and department chair of obstetrics/gynecology at Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Hubka was the first woman to serve as president of the American Osteopathic Foundation. She also has served on the American Osteopathic Association Board of Trustees and as president of the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She was named Alumna of the Year of DMU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2001.
Sam Prissel, D.O.’23, who participated in Dr. Hubka’s session and other ASK sessions during the week, values the different perspectives alumni offered.
“This is important because each student is a little bit different, and we may not all take the same path to reach a similar goal,” he says. “It was a privilege to have alumni share their knowledge and insights on applying to residency and what that process looks like. It is especially crucial to have an event like this, as it allows students to gain insights as to what they can be doing now to put themselves in a position to succeed in the future.”
ASK member Kelly John, D.P.M.’99, M.H.A.’99, a foot and ankle physician at Rockford-Roxbury Clinic in Rockford, IL, gave a keynote presentation on Sept. 22 about podiatric clerkships and residencies. The 2018 Alumna of the Year of the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery (CPMS) and a member of the DMU Alumni Board, she was, like Dr. Hubka, an ideal source for information: Dr. John is chair of the podiatry department at Rockford Memorial Hospital and director of a podiatric medical and surgical resident program that she helped develop. She became a mentor through the ASK network because, as she says, “Someone did it for me.”
“There have been many professors, attendings and colleagues along my career path that have assisted me,” she says. “I believe, as the profession itself grows stronger, so will my individual practice. What I probably didn’t realize earlier in my career is that many people want to help, but you have to ask them.”
The ASK network gives students the opportunity to do so. Created in 2012, the program offered its first residency forum in 2016.
“Due to the positive feedback from students and alumni, we continue this annual event to prepare our students for their next steps after graduation,” says Krystal Kruse, M.P.A., assistant director of alumni relations. For the residency forum week, she sought out alumni who are residency directors and current residents who are ASK members or who had expressed interest in joining the network. Leaders of Pi Delta, the honor society for CPMS students, and Sigma Sigma Phi, the national osteopathic honor society, promoted the events to classmates.
“One of my favorite parts about these ASK sessions was hearing from individuals who were in our same shoes just a couple of years ago. Since they have been through the gauntlet, they provide great insight and information with regards to being successful throughout school, clerkships and residency,” says Pi Delta member Josh Treimer, D.P.M.’22. He participated in a round table discussion on podiatric medical residencies, where the wealth of advice ranged from “prepare for all your cases” and “know how to surgically work up a patient” to “treat the ancillary staff well” and “be confident – but be a normal person.”
Devin Niewohner, D.P.M.’22, praised ASK events for generating “tons of gems” as well as “great connections in the future” with fellow alumni.
“Being able to interact and ask questions to alumni who are in positions we will soon be in is great,” he says. “I think that having these events and giving us the opportunities to see what lies ahead only helps make the transition easier.”
In addition to Dr. Hubka and Dr. John, the following ASK alumni participated in the week’s round tables on residencies in family medicine, internal medicine, podiatric medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, general surgery and psychiatry:
- Autumn Brunia D.O.’19
- Pat Chizek, D.O.’19
- Rachel Cohen, D.O.’19
- James Dorosh, D.O.’20
- Tyler Folkerts, D.O.’20
- Blake Hale, D.P.M.’18
- Jeremy Kim, D.O.’18
- Erika Kolakowski, D.O.’20
- D.T. McDonald, D.P.M.’20
- Matt McKinney, D.O.’19
- Stephen Rockhill, D.P.M.’20
- Jeffrey Thomas, D.O.’19
- Hannah Thompson, D.O.’18
- Michael Weinfeld, D.O.’20
DMU is grateful to these “rock star” alumni for mentoring their future fellow professionals. Do you want to be a rock star for DMU students? Join the ASK network! Information and the application form are available here.