Hear from some of our residents about why they chose KU and what they have experienced in the internal medicine residency program.
Nikki Balmaceda, Class of 2022
My name is Nikki Balmaceda. I am an intern at KU, and I hope to be an oncologist one day. I chose KU for my residency because the people here want you to reach your true potential and career goals. I have a special place in my heart for oncology and being able to work on research is important to me. Just a few months into residency, I was easily able to find coverage; I then had the opportunity to travel to Barcelona to present my research at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) conference. The chiefs even helped me rearrange my schedule so I could take a mini-vacation afterward while I was in Europe. In my picture, I am in Istanbul, Turkey at the Hagia Sophia! By training at multiple sites (including the KU hospital system, VA, and KU Cancer Center), I get to enjoy working with a diverse patient population along with supportive, friendly residents and faculty. At KU, I am confident you will see "bread and butter" medicine along with the "zebras."
Luke Frankl, Class of 2022
There is a quote by Will Ferrell in Step Brothers where he says "I'm so scared right now. I'm just going to do what's sensible. I'm gonna file for unemployment and then I'm gonna try to get a job at Enterprise Rent-A-Car because they have a great corporate structure, and they give you the tools to be your own boss." In the winter of my fourth year of medical school, I was coming up with a rank list and I was scared. I'd just spent a small fortune traveling around the country staying in Comfort Inn's and hearing programs layout their recipe for turning raw doughy doctors into crisp new clinicians. There was one program, however, that did not focus on what they would do to us but rather what they could do for us. It was clear that KU has a leadership group that believes that freshly graduated physicians are a group of intelligent, motivated and unique individuals that are dedicated to self-growth and providing the best care possible. Based on this premise, everything about this residency seemed focused on helping individuals to become the best version of themselves. This was clearly not a dogmatic, boot camp program that breaks each resident down in order to build them into their version of a physician. It is a place that has a great administrative structure that gives you the tools to be your own version of a great clinician, so I did what was sensible, I filed for a little more loan money and tried to get a job at KU.
Charles Walde, Class of 2023
As I went through my tour of the clerkships during the clinical years of medical school, I always asked the doctors I trusted what I should prioritize in a residency program. I got a lot of different tips about location, hospital systems, curricula, and program size. However, the only consistency between all the advice I was given was to "follow your gut."
Like most, I traveled for several months during interview season, and I walked away from nearly every experience exhausted. I often felt fatigued on the interview trail, because I found myself answering the same several questions over and over in different cities.
My experience at KU was different. The residents I spoke with were excited to see me. They weren't burnt out, and their happy faces stuck in my memory. The teaching physicians were obnoxiously passionate about their learners, and Dr. Eck and I had a real conversation about life. Even this small sample of KU IM convinced me that this program would attract talented, humble, and positive thinkers.
When interviews were all finished, I tried to construct a match list with a spreadsheet. I rated each program based on what I thought would be an unbiased and analytical scoring system. I tallied up all the numbers and found that my spreadsheet spit out a 3-way tie. It was only at this point that realized that I could easily manipulate the numbers to make them show whatever I wanted.
I remembered the people and how I felt during my interview day. My gut told me to pick KU. I'm only 3 months in, but I'm confident my gut was right. My program is filled with fantastic role models, and I am growing exponentially as a physician because of that.
I hope that virtual interviews don't hide the wonderful people you will meet here on your interview day. This program will treat you well.
Katy Jackson, Class of 2023
Ah, interview season. I remember it like it was yesterday. Looking back now, I can laugh at the chaos of it all. But at the time, I remember feeling so lost. As if I was supposed to just know how to tell a "good" residency program from a "bad" one. I remember taking notes at each interview on things like how much money they got for food and how much they spent on parking. It's funny now because I know how little those things really matter.
There was a distinct moment though, during my interview at KU that made everything seem suddenly simple. I was sitting next to a fellow interviewee who went to KU medical school. Knowing she had the inside scoop, I asked for her honest opinion on the residency program. To my surprise, her response had nothing to do with the little details I had been focusing on. Instead, she gushed about how incredibly friendly and approachable the staff was, how the program seemed like a big family, and how the residents were almost too happy. I remember feeling a sense of clarity as I realized the simplicity of what really mattered to me. Too happy? Game over, sign me up. Maybe she was paid to say that or was some kind of recruiter in disguise, I don't know, but I am definitely not getting paid to write this and I can tell you my experience thus far at KU has been exactly as described. I never really considered the possibility that I might actually enjoy my time during residency but here I am, waking up every morning excited to go to work. Residency by nature is stressful, but I feel like this program has created an environment that minimizes that stress in every way possible. It's almost like running a marathon indoors with air conditioning alongside all of your best friends while someone drives next to you shouting encouraging things and giving you snacks and water. I don't know about you but if I was going to run a marathon, I'd pick that sweet set up any day.
Taylor Adams, Class of 2024
Why KU?! How much time do you have? To be honest, I grew up in Missouri and never thought I'd find myself wearing any Jayhawk gear. I started scoping out academic centers around the Midwest and decided to apply to KU because it appeared to be a well respected academic institution with a lot of resources for someone like myself who did not know (still doesn't know) exactly what career path they wanted to pursue. I'm happy to say, KU Internal Medicine is so much more than that!
After my interview, I remember telling my husband I would be so sad if I didn't match at KU. I felt a sense of belonging and just overall happiness just by talking to Drs Thomas & Abebe, our coordinator Abby, and all the residents on my virtual interview day. Everyone seemed excited to talk to me and appeared to truly enjoy the company of one another. This has held true throughout my time as an intern thus far. I never really thought I would actually enjoy residency, but the people I work alongside make the tough days better by their friendly attitudes and teamwork. I never feel like I'm alone which is SO important when you're a brand new intern. My co-residents are extremely supportive in every way - bringing me donuts on my first clinic day, meeting me in the parking garage so I don't get lost in the morning, taking an admission so I don't have to stay late. I could go on, but I think I'm getting my point across!
The 3+1 schedule is AMAZING in terms of work load balance and ability to tailor your schedule to your personal interests. Just today, I was talking with our APD about the opportunity to add in more outpatient procedure clinic experiences because I am interested in furthering my skills. It's really special to be able to explore many different areas of medicine you may be curious about.
One thing Dr. Eck emphasized during her presentation on my interview day was the importance of compassion, humility, and excellence. When I think about the type of physician I want to be, these adjectives hit the nail on the head! I am learning from some of the greatest people I've ever met and truly believe KU is the best place for my continued growth as a physician.
Brianna Coogle, Class of 2024
To be completely honest, choosing KU Internal Medicine for residency was one of the easiest decisions I ever made. As a medical student at KU, I got to work with the IM residents and faculty during my 3rd and 4th year rotations. It soon became obvious that not only was the medicine training top-line, but the culture of the program was extremely supportive and had a family-like feel to it. My husband had graduated from medical school at KU two years ahead of me, so I also had some insider input from friends that were already residents in the IM program. Hands down, every single one of them felt tremendously supported and empowered on personal, professional, and wellbeing levels - sentiments that I've come to experience myself since I started as a resident. The patient population that is seen at KU is tremendously diverse with pathologies ranging from the simplest to some of the most complex and rare diseases that are usually taught in med school as diseases that "you'll never actually see." As I've been a resident, I've realized even more that the faculty and physician leaders at KU are even more top-notch than I realized, with national and global leaders in research and clinical care in almost every one of our departments.
I also found myself so attached to Kansas City that I knew I'd miss it too much if I left. KC has a variety of unique cultural segments that combine to make it a great place to live and raise a family. The sports teams are awesome and all have very passionate fan bases (GO CHIEFS!), the school districts are some of the tops in the country, there are festivals and events year-round, and a strong city-wide pride makes for strong social networks and support. So, training at KU gives you the best-of-both-worlds of advanced medical training in the context of an amazing city and having experienced that for so many years I knew that I couldn't let it go.
A special part of KU IM that sealed the deal for me is the specific attention that the program has on supporting female physicians. An astounding proportion of the residency program leadership are women, many with families including children. I also learned that it's quite common among the IM residents to have families and young children, which is supported by the program leadership and fellow residents. On top of that, the IM leadership is actively engaging with the GME office and leaders in the Kansas ACP to advocate for priorities of women in medicine and create support systems for female physicians. Needless to say, as a woman in medicine who wants to have a family and is married to another physician, these factors were huge attractants pulling me to KU IM (and they have even grown since I've been here as a resident).
I'd choose KU time and time again. In my view, there's nowhere better
Anna Malhotra, Class of 2024
As I sit down to write, I'm reminded of something I heard at the beginning of a simulation training session earlier today (read till the end to find out what it is, I promise it's relevant). Hi! My name is Anureet Malhotra, and I am a freshly minted first-year internal medicine resident. I am originally from New Delhi, India where I grew up and received my medical education; before I decided to move 7,751 miles west and call Kansas City home.
It is well known that the match is a crucial and stressful time, but last year it was also unconventional. With not being able to interview in person, it became much harder to appreciate the subtle nuances that help us decide where we wanted to pursue the final stages of our training. I recall embracing my 'type A-ness' at the beginning of the match season and making a spreadsheet with different scoring criteria (based on what I had heard were important qualities in a program). I did find that to be beneficial, but in the end, it was only objective data for a verrrrrrry subjective choice. And so, I'd like to share some things I have observed after coming here that you may not be able to do virtually.
Uno, last year I read multiple blogs talk about the importance of autonomy vs supervision, as I'm sure you have by now. At KU, they take it a step further, it's always 'shared decision making. You work as a team, grow as a team, and provide the best possible care together.
Second, in my three months of residency, everyone I've worked with is immensely helpful (my running theory is that because the program has the work-life balance down pat, people are happy to carve out time from their day to be there for you). I hope that if you end up coming here, you will feel the collegiality every day as I have so far!
Third and most importantly, The Roasterie coffee here is delish!
Ps. Here is what I heard, and I believe it rightly captures the essence of what KU stands for - 'We believe that everyone participating is intelligent, capable, cares about doing their best, and wants to improve'