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Applicant Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Thank you for your interest in our internal medicine residency program in Northwest Arkansas! We are excited to offer our residents community training opportunities in our region. Our residents are encouraged to participate in volunteer activities and to provide the best clinical care to our patients, explore their career options, and to help us to develop our new training program. This program combines inpatient and outpatient clinical experiences with individualized elective time that will allow each resident to participate in their own unique curriculum to personalize their training. We hope these FAQ’s will begin to answer some general questions about our program and we hope to have an opportunity to answer more in-depth questions if you are selected as a candidate for our internal medicine residency.

Applicant Specific Questions:
Q: What is your application deadline?
A: We accept applications via ERAS on September 15. The application deadline is November 1.

Q: Does the program accept osteopathic applicants?
A: Yes, we accept both allopathic and osteopathic candidates.

Q: By what criteria are residents selected?
A: Our program is built on a shared commitment to outstanding patient care, and the desire to nurture the careers of an exceptional group of young physicians. Our primary goal is to identify a group of residents who will be valued team members and additions to the Northwest community family. We look for applicants who value professionalism and teamwork, and who are eager to embrace progressive patient care responsibilities. Our residents have a strong academic record and a wide range of interests with excellent academic potential.

Q: How are your interviews scheduled? How will we be notified of an invitation for a Northwest Arkansas interview?
A: Our interviews are by ERAS e-mail invitation ONLY. We utilize the ERAS Scheduler so applicants can self-schedule their interviews. The invitation will have a dropdown “View Interview Dates” and the ERAS Scheduler will provide you with the interview date(s) that are open. You will have the flexibility to change your interview date until the interview freeze date scheduled two weeks prior to the interview. It is inappropriate for you to contact our participating hospital sites or faculty to get a personal interview. Due to the volume of applications, we cannot communicate with you on your file status nor respond to your individual inquiries about our program. Please do not send us your application information via e-mail. We do not have the time to review those e-mail applications and we only accept applications via ERAS. We will begin our interviewing in late October and continue through late January.

Q: Do you expect or encourage post-interview communication or a second look as part of a high quality application?
A. No. We do not use post-interview communications in our ranking process. We do not have the ability to honor such requests and would be limited out of fairness to all. We also do not encourage nor offer opportunities for a “second look” to any applicant.

Q: Do you hire outside of the NRMP Match?
A: No. Applications for the PGY-1 positions are only accepted via ERAS. Our program participates exclusively with the NRMP and ERAS. All applications must be submitted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). We do not review any documents e-mailed to our resident coordinator (CV’s, research, etc. ) nor communicate with the applicants due to the volume of requests.

Q: How long can I be out of medical school and still apply for your program?
A: While most of our residents do not take time off between medical school and residency, we will evaluate applications of all individuals who have graduated within the past five years from a medical school accredited by the LCME or AOA. International graduates must also meet at least one of the three ACGME additional qualifications shown on our “Applicant Information” page under our Application Requirements (reference #7). http://northwestcampus.uams.edu/academic-programs/com/applicant-information/

Q: Do you offer observerships, externships or volunteer research work?
A:1 No, we do not sponsor observerships, externships, or any extracurricular shadowing experience at UAMS. Our UAMS policy excludes graduate-status individuals from observerships, externships, and shadowing opportunities at our campuses. The UAMS Campus has very strict requirements and unfortunately too many potential legal issues for a person who is not a student registered under the jurisdiction of a medical school doing an approved rotation as part of their required coursework. Our Northwest Campus has a new internal medicine residency program and all of our efforts are currently focused on making sure the educational opportunities for our inaugural class before adding additional components to the teaching program. We would suggest you find clinical opportunities within your community hospitals to enhance your residency application.
A:2 Our research team is also unable to support requests for volunteer research experience due to scholarly activity requirements for our residents and medical students.
A:3 If you are in a LCME-accredited medical school, you can apply for a rotation at our main campus in Little Rock: http://medicine.uams.edu/for-medical-students/for-potential-visiting-students/

Q: Are applicants required to pass both the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CS and CK or COMLEX Level 1 and 2 CE and PE prior to applying?
A: Our program requires the successful passage of USMLE step 1 or COMLEX level 1 at the time of your application and passage of the USMLE Step 2 or COMLEX Level 2 by the time our rank order list opens for entry on January 15. Non-U.S. medical school applicants must pass Steps 1 and 2 at the time of applying to our residency program in order to be ECFMG certified.

Q: Do you have a minimum USMLE or COMLEX score?
A: There is no minimum USMLE or COMLEX scores for admission as this is only one of many criteria utilized in our selection process. We do not believe that a test score reflects the quality of a physician.

Q: Will taking the USMLE Step 3 before applying give me an advantage?
A: No, Step 3 scores are not included in our requirements and we do not generally give those applicants with Step 3 scores any type of advantage.

International Medical Graduate Questions:
Q: When do you require ECFMG certification? At the time of application or by the time the PGY1 resident starts residency in July?
A: We require ECFMG certification at the time of application.

Q: Do you sponsor any Visas?
A: No. The UAMS Northwest Campus does not sponsor H-1B Visa applicants or applicants holding a J-1 Visa through the ECFMG. Our UAMS Northwest Campus mission is to train and recruit primary care physicians in the northwest Arkansas Region.

Q: Do you accept international medical graduates?
A: Yes, we accept international graduates.

Q: Do you accept applicants with the status “pending application for permanent resident”?
A: No. Based upon our resident eligibility guideline posted within our Application Requirements, the foreign national would not qualify since he/she would not yet have a green card. The permanent resident (green card) applications that are pending may take several years to be approved and our program cannot accept that status for our program.

Q: If I get a work permit “Employment Authorization Document” (EAD), can I apply to this program using this work permit instead of a J1 or H1B Visa?
A: The EAD is not a substitute for a green card or citizenship so this is not an eligible status to apply to our UAMS Northwest Internal Medicine Residency Program.

Q: If I graduated in 2010 would I be eligible for your residency program?
A: No. The applicant’s graduation must be within the last five years (2011 or above) from a medical school accredited by the LCME or AOA. International graduates must also meet at least one of the three ACGME additional qualifications (see our Application Requirements, reference #7).

Q: Is U.S. clinical experience required for international graduates?
A: U.S. experience is not required, but it is highly encouraged. International graduates who do not have experience should provide a letter of recommendation attesting to excellent clinical communication skills. Please note that we do not count externships, observerships, or research work as clinical experience.

Program Specific Questions:
Q: Why start a new residency program in Northwest Arkansas?
A: Northwest Arkansas’ population is now over 560,000 and growing by 1.3 percent annually. The four counties in the region—Benton, Washington, Carroll, and Madison—are considered to be medically underserved based on the Arkansas Department of Health Classifications. The strong and rapid growth of the 65+ age population requires greater utilization of health care resources in the future. The heightened demands for medical care increase the existing primary care physician shortage. This advanced medical education and training opportunity in Northwest Arkansas will help relieve the physician shortage.

Q: How many PGY-1 positions are available?
A: There are 8 categorical positions each year in our three-year training program. Our full complement in 2019 will be 24 residents.

Q: Where did your PGY-1 interns come from?
A: Our 2016 inaugural class of interns came from a variety of different backgrounds and interests – the current resident class represents five different medical schools.

Q: Do we have a bias for UAMS graduates?
A: We hope to recruit from our medical school but also to recruit the best and brightest residents from local, regional and international programs. It is our belief that a diverse residency program provides the best training environment for our communities.

Q: How many clinical training sites are there?
A: 1. Three. Mercy Northwest Hospital in Rogers, AR; Veterans Health Care Systems of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, AR; and the UAMS Northwest Campus in Fayetteville, AR. Each participating hospital site has a faculty site director and core faculty. The UAMS Northwest Campus is the site for educational activities (i.e. simulation, Continuity Clinics, and research electives. The UAMS Department of Internal Medicine sponsors the Grand Rounds in Little Rock every Thursday via an IVN to all our participating hospitals in our community.

A: 2. Mercy Northwest Hospital (Rogers, AR)
Supports 5 internal medicine residents each year. By 2019, Mercy will consistently support 15 residents

A: 3. Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks (Fayetteville, AR)
Supports 3 internal medicine residents each year. By 2019, VA will consistently support 9 residents

A: 4. UAMS Northwest Campus, College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine (Little Rock and Fayetteville)
Serves as program administrator and oversees accreditation and curriculum implementation. By 2019, UAMS will consistently support administrative needs of all 24 residents and corresponding needs of faculty and staff

Q: How long does it take to drive between hospitals?
A: All of our sites are very close in proximity. The Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks is next door to the UAMS Northwest Campus. Mercy Northwest in Rogers is approximately 20 minutes away.

Q: Where do most residents end up living and do they buy or rent?
A: The majority of our residents this year chose to live in Rogers, Arkansas with rentals preferred.

Q: How many patients will I carry as a PGY-1 resident?
A: Most PGY-1 residents will carry 6-8 patients as we strictly adhere to the ACGME/RRC cap for intern-to-patient load (maximum of 10 patients). You will have no more than 5 new admissions and 2 transfers per admitting shift.

Q: How many days off are typical per month?
A: While on elective rotations, you will typically have weekends off (unless called in to cover for residents in the instance of emergencies, such as illness). While on an inpatient service, you will have 4 days off per month.

Q: What resources does the Internal Medicine Residency at the UAMS Northwest Campus offer?
A:1. Our residency program has the following educational resources for our residents:
>Online subscriptions – MKSAP 17 online subscription for each resident
>MKSAP 17 manuals which are available for check-out in our office
>American College of Physicians (ACP) High Value Care clinical information
https://www.acponline.org/clinical-information/high-value-care;
>ACP Resident Membership
>Arkansas ACP Chapter Membership
>ACP Board Prep Curriculum subscription for the program
>John Hopkins PEAC Program for our program’s Internal Medicine Ambulatory Care Curriculum
>ACP In-Training Exam for the PGY1 – PGY3 Residents (Exam in September)
>Stanford Medicine 25 Culture of Bedside Medicine http://stanfordmedicine25.stanford.edu/
>Residents as Teachers Curriculum Modules (CDIM and APDIM) http://www.im.org/p/cm/ld/fid=401 ;
A: 2. Our UAMS Library has numerous eResources available which include eBooks and eJournals at the UAMS campuses and available to all UAMS faculty, students and staff. These include Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, AccessMedicine, UpToDate, Lexi-Comp, EBM Evidence Based Medicine Reviews, USMLE prep/Board Vitals, etc. http://www.library.uams.edu/resources/eresources.aspx

Benefit Questions
Q: What are your benefits and terms and conditions for appointment (employment) in residency training programs at UAMS?
A: 1. Sample Resident Agreement of Appointment (Contract) and terms and conditions of appointment: http://medicine.uams.edu/current-residents/resident-handbook/benefits-2/
A: 2. Benefit Summary for Medical http://hr.uams.edu/benefits/summaries_rates/

Q: What is the salary?
A: Next year’s salary has not been announced. The current PGY-1 salary for the 2016-2017 academic year is $50,283.

Duty Hour Questions:
Q: How does the program comply with the duty hours regulations?
A: Our program answers to our UAMS GME Office, as well as, the national (ACGME/RRC) work hour regulations. All residents are required to log the hours they work on any given rotation electronically within our New Innovations Residency Management Software. Duty hours are monitored on a monthly basis to make certain our residents are in compliance and to identify and troubleshoot any problems.

Q: Do you participate in the couple’s match?
A: Absolutely. We welcome applicants participating in the couples match and will be flexible in arranging your interview day.

Q: How does the cost of living in Fayetteville, Arkansas compare to other larger cities?
A: The average home price in Benton and Washington counties is well below $200,000 and the region’s overall cost of living is far below the national average.

Q: When are my days off?
A: All residents (PGY1, PGY2, PGY3) get 1 day off in 7 when averaged over a rotation.

Q: How does the program teach quality improvement?
A: Quality Improvement (QI) is taught in a variety of activities and forums. All QI activities are supervised and evaluated by faculty with training and interest in quality and safety.

Q: Will I be able to do enough procedures?
A: Following a simulation lab experience in orientation, residents perform multiple diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Additionally, residents are trained to become competent in multiple procedures that include but are not limited to the following: arterial line insertion, central venous line placement, paracentesis, thoracentesis, lumbar puncture, etc.

Q: Are white coats available?
A: The Department provides long white coats to all our residents. Free laundering is available through the department. We provide 3 white coats each year.

Q: Are lockers available?
A: Yes

Q: Does the program support professional society membership?
A: Yes. The program pays for a resident membership to the American College of Physicians which includes the local Arkansas Chapter of the ACP. The department will also sponsor all our residents to the Annual Arkansas Chapter of the ACP Meeting.

Research Questions:
Q: Are there opportunities for research?
A: The understanding of research methodology is an essential component of Internal Medicine training. We require all categorical residents to complete and present a scholarly project during the course of their residency. Projects can range from basic science research to clinical/translational research to curricular development/assessment to quality improvement projects.

Continuity Clinic Questions:
Q: Where is your Continuity Clinic experience located at in this training program?
A: The weekly half-day Continuity Clinic is held at the UAMS Northwest Campus in Fayetteville. The residents provide ongoing continuity care for their own panel of patients under the supervision of experienced academic general internists. This home base helps the resident develop longitudinal relationships with the ambulatory faculty who train the residents and oversee the patients the are assigned. Before each clinic session, residents participate in pre-clinic conference led by our program director, Dr. Thomas Schulz. During the resident’s continuity session, a 4 to 1 resident to faculty ratio is maintained and the faculty devotes their time exclusively to precepting. Typically, each resident will see 3-5 patients per half-day session as PGY-1interns, 4-6 as PGY-2s, and 5-7 as PGY-3s.