AAOS 2023 Faculty Feature Video – Alfonso Mejia, MD MPH FAAOS & Mark Gonzalez, MD PhD FAAOS

January 27, 2023

Drs. Alfonso Mejia & Mark Gonzalez will present during ICL 311 - Be a Lighthouse for Your Medical Students: How To Help Them Navigate During Changing Times to a Successful Match on 3/9 in Las Vegas.

Video Transcript

Hello, I'm Dr. Alfonso Mejia. I'm an orthopaedic hand surgeon at the University of Illinois, where I serve as Program Director for the residency and vice head of the department. I'm Mark Gonzalez. I'm an orthopaedic surgeon, I practice hand surgery and joint replacement, and I'm Chair of Orthopaedics at the University of Illinois.

At first blush, This ICL may seem most suited for a medical student or people in academics advising medical students. But as all of us may be asked about how to get into orthopaedics, This ICL This ICL This ICL can give information that's relevant to anyone who may be advising a student on this difficult process that has changed so much recently. Students now who look to go into orthopaedics often start very early in their careers. Some even get involved in shadowing or doing research even before medical school. And all of us may be approached by medical students, by potential medical students and by potential orthopaedics residents about our careers and about our profession and how to enter into our profession. In that sense, I think with the discussion here today is really applicable to all orthopaedic surgeons who at some point in their career may be called on to speak to or mentor a younger potential orthopaedic surgeon.

ICL 311 is entitled "Being A Lighthouse to Your Medical Students: How To Navigate to a Successful Match in a Changing Time." We've looked at the different process of applying to orthopaedics and broken it down into four sections. I'll open up comparing historical to present standards for successful and unsuccessful applicants and then we'll have Matthew Karam speaking on developing a student portfolio for incoming medical students. Dr. Gonzalez? I wilI be speaking on the role of research in the residency match and the importance of research for the student going into orthopaedics, and Dr. Paul Dougherty from Jacksonville will be speaking about what to do in the case of a student going unmatched in the orthopaedic match.

I think after attending our session, the orthopaedic surgeon will be able to counsel students at the three phases of the application process. For the incoming student interested in orthopaedics, how to build a portfolio for the application. For the student actually in the application process, how to navigate that. And for the student who unfortunately doesn't manage what are their options and what things they can do to build towards another attempt at matching. I think in general, students should understand that the pursuit of orthopaedics must be done in the long term. They have to build a CV. They have to build research. Oftentimes they may have to do a year outside of medical school doing research to build their CV. Secondly, it's critical that students have a mentor or mentors who understand, and can give them advice in this process. And third, I think it will come through in this Instructional Course Lecture that students have to be realistic. They should with their mentor go through their academic record and see if they are competitive and other options open to them may be other another career or even dual applying, but mentorship and someone who is knowledgeable has to be involved in the student making these decisions.

At face value, it would seem that our session would be best suited for medical students and for faculty in the residency program. However, I think it's useful for all orthopaedic surgeons because oftentimes as leaders in the community, we have family, friends asking us how to get into orthopaedics, the profession that we all love. In this profession as far as how to get into. It has changed markedly over the last 10 years. So the experience that we all share getting into residency when we were medical students is probably inapplicable to today's match. I think that in general the match has become quite a bit more competitive. Students have to do a lot of research to be competitive. They have to have good recommendations, and they have to have a very good academic record. Many students start early on in their career. Oftentimes during the first year, or even before the first year, to get into orthopaedics. Some students take a year off to do research. This competitiveness has changed significantly and every year becomes more competitive, and I think for people who interface with students, both in the community and as academicians, it is important that we can give them good advice so that they can create a competitive CV, a competitive application, and so they can be successful in obtaining an orthopaedic residency.

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