Four Reasons Why Our Pediatrics Residency Program Is So Successful

January 3, 2020 by School of Medicine Webmaster

(l-r) Pediatric residents Alazar Haregu, MD; Cherise Brackett, MD; Sherilyn Salefsky, MD; and Katherine Turlington

UVA Medical Center and the School of Medicine are always looking to attract top-flight talent to our residency programs. To bring the best, we have to be the best. And our residency program in the Department of Pediatrics is doing an exceptional job. For the past four years, the program has achieved 100% board certification exam pass rates and been in the top 1-2% in the country.

Here are four factors that contribute to the success of our program:

  • It focuses on general pediatrics | From Day 1, we train our residents to be general pediatricians. This simple philosophy is the foundation for all learning. Even when a resident’s career path leads into subspecialties, he or she is — first and foremost — a general pediatrician. We believe that early adoption of this mindset allows residents to expand their skills from a solid base.
  • It instills a hunger for knowledge | At the same time our award-winning faculty instills residents with a deep appetite for knowledge, we also emphasize the need to be humble enough to accept that none of us can know everything.

The essence of our philosophy lies in the phrase, “I don’t know the answer (but I will tomorrow).” Tomorrow might be the next day, or in reference to the future, but it allows an invitation to seek knowledge. When a faculty member says these words to a resident, it acknowledges that not everyone can possibly know everything and is an invitation to “let’s research it together.” This approach resonates not just with residents, but with medical students and faculty, too. As Dr. Barrett Barnes, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and Program Director, General Pediatrics Residency, says, “The day you think you know everything, it’s time to either take a vacation or retire.”

  • It uses a fair and equitable shift-covering system | We use a time-bank system developed and championed by our chief residents to reduce stress and guilt when residents have to call out. This system recognizes and awards points to those who fill in for them. This approach to shift-covering translates to happy residents, happy faculty, and, ultimately, better care for our patients. Every quarter, the resident with the most points receives money to buy colleagues breakfast. Annually, the four residents with the most points receive a bonus.
  • It is dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusivity | The pediatrics program has adopted a broad definition of diversity that includes underrepresented minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, and those with regional or economic diversity such as physicians who are first-generation college graduates. To strengthen resident recruitment and faculty retention, the program draws upon the support of its diversity and inclusion committee. Pediatrics residents and program directors are encouraged to attend national programs and conferences, like the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), a group “committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians.”

All of this is outstanding. Thank you to our Pediatric faculty and residents for creating and maintaining such a strong program.

R.J. Canterbury, MD, MS, DLFAPA
Wilford W. Spradlin Professor
Senior Associate Dean for Education

Susan Kirk, MD
Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education
Professor of Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Filed Under: Clinical, Education, Featured