Lisa Stoneking, MD, FACEP shares about the Banner - University Medical Center South Emergency Medicine Residency Program. Learn more about this Tucson, Arizona EM residency in this month’s Program Director Interview Series
What sets your program apart from others?
One of the major advantages at our program is the diversity our residents see. Our program is unique in its organization as we have one emergency department with three emergency medicine residency programs - two categorical programs and one combined pediatrics/EM program. It really is the best of both worlds - a community setting nestled under an academic umbrella. We were lucky enough to have the ability to create a unique program with the experience and wisdom of the University campus program which has been around for many years. We have an emphasis on rural/community settings in addition to border medicine and global health.
What is something students may not know about your program?
Our program has a medical Spanish curriculum integrated into our weekly didactics. Medical students spend 1-2 weeks in an immersion course funded by one of our alumni prior to starting residency. At the start of residency, residents participate in a medical Spanish boot camp that highlights the value of these language skills, how to interact with medical interpreters, and other important facets of working with non-native English speakers and culminates in the cadaver lab where our residents have a mock conversation with a patient’s family using the language skills they’ve learned.
After this initial program, residents are provided 26 hours longitudinally throughout the year (about one hour every other week) to develop their language skills. In didactics, residents are split into groups (basic/novice and intermediate/advanced) where they have lessons tied to the theme of the bloc that week in didactics. Earlier courses are taught by a Spanish teacher while more advanced courses are taught by a clinician. Each year, residents are assessed to determine their language proficiency via a 45-minute phone call with the opportunity to gain certification as a dual role provider. Students are provided access to Canopy language resources throughout their residency to supplement their formal training. These skills help our residents in many ways – they build rapport with patients, improve efficiency, and help protect our residents medical legally. Finally, the language immersion program culminates in a global health month where residents have the opportunity to work in a location with Spanish as the primary language.
Are there opportunities for global health at your program?
Yes – our curriculum integrates global health and border medicine. First year residents rotate in Payson, Arizona for one block. Second year residents rotate in Show Low, Arizona for one block. Third year residents have the choice to spend time training in a rural, border, or global health setting. Border locations include Nogales, Arizona. Additional rural sites include Indian Health Services locations such as Tuba City, Fort Defiance, Payson, or Show Low, AZ. Global health locations include Uganda or a medical Spanish immersion course in Guatemala or Costa Rica. Other sites are available upon request if they meet the necessary requirements. Funding is provided up to $1,500. These opportunities were originally provided as the capstone for our integrated medical Spanish curriculum but have expanded as the program has grown.
What range of USMLE/COMLEX Step 1 scores do you accept?
We do not have a minimum Step 1 score. I have said for many years that I do not believe that high Step 1 scores make a good physician, so this year I am participating in a research study where I am blinded to the step 1 scores for each applicant. When I review applications this year, I am provided everything in the application except for the Step 1 score.
Are there opportunities for research at your program? Do you look for candidates with research experience?
Yes – we a longitudinal evidence-based research curriculum known as Scholarquest. We have over 60 faculty members at our program so no matter what a resident is interested in there will be a faculty member they can work with. Several of our faculty have NIH funded projects. There are countless ongoing research projects for our residents.
Are there specific qualities that make applicants stand out?
Applicants that stand out are those who demonstrate commitment to the underserved populations. We emphasize this type of commitment in our program so those interested in that type of experience will be most happy here.
What are the benefits of 3 vs 4-year residency program?
Most programs that are 4 years are more research heavy. However, our program has an evidence based, longitudinal medical research curriculum already integrated into it called ScholarQuest so we feel that you really get the best of both worlds here. Our curriculum teaches our residents how to do everything they need to know to excel at research and culminates with residents completing their own research projects with faculty members and presenting nationally which is funded by our department. Our department has its own statistician and seed grant opportunities - there are many individuals here to support any research project that a resident is interested in.
Is there anything else you would like to emphasize about your program?
Our residency program is a smaller group – we increased to seven interns last year and have approval to possibly have 8 this year and are looking for funding to do so. We are a close knit program with a family feel. My husband and I moved here 10 years ago and originally did not anticipate staying. However, we felt like we made a family here and so we have remained here ever since. This is the type of culture we have created and it is something we are proud of.