How do you take 117 medical student applicants and choose the seven who will best serve your community for the next three years and, you hope, longer? You rank them No. 1 to No. 117.
On Feb. 3, UCHealth’s Family Medicine Center faculty and behavioral health specialists, community physicians and current Family Medicine Residency Program (FMRP) residents gathered for Rank Day at Poudre Valley Hospital (PVH) to determine who would be among the next group to join the program.
“These are high-level and very diverse applicants,” said Marilyn Schock, chief operations officer of PVH and Medical Center of the Rockies (MCR).
UCHealth’s Family Medicine Center faculty and behavioral health specialists, community physicians and current Family Medicine Residency Program residents gathered for Rank Day at Poudre Valley Hospital to determine who would be among the next group to join the program.
All 117 candidates had earlier participated in the candidate interview process, which spanned from early October to mid-January. The one-day interviews consisted of hospital and clinic tours as well as three or four 30-minute interviews. About 12 applicants were interviewed each week, and a voluntary social dinner was held each Wednesday for that week’s interviewees.
“It’s important for these people to get to know the applicants because they’ll be working really closely together for the next several years,” said Janell Wozniak, program director.
On Rank Day, those who had interviewed an applicant discussed their opinions of the candidate, while that candidate’s head shot, name and school were displayed on the screen. The top 30 candidates were evaluated in this manner and at the end of the day, were ranked to create a final list.
An earlier electronic application system had already pared down the list, which started at 689 applicants. Then several Family Medicine Center faculty members reviewed about 275 files and narrowed the list based on academic achievements, community involvement and letters of recommendations. This process allowed the on-site interviews to focus more on professionalism, communication, commitment to being a family physician and connection to the region and UCHealth.
“We want candidates who are interested in staying in our communities in the future, but we also want to catch the top-notch doctors,” Schock said.
Rank Day is important because each resident program must submit their list of top applicants to the National Resident Match Program by mid-February each year. The program provides a uniform time for both applicants and programs to make their training selections.
The process heavily favors the applicant, Wozniak said. For example, if UCHealth’s top-ranked applicant has designated another program as his or her first choice, the match program will first try to get the applicant into that program. The match program will notify FMRP of its seven new residents on March 18.
“The idea is that we get someone very interested in becoming a family physician,” Wozniak said. “We want both the best applicant and for them to stay in our community. If we can train a family doctor in our system and they stay in our system, they are much more likely to succeed.”