The Department of Pediatrics and The University of Michigan Health System are committed to the health, well-being, and professional growth of our trainees.
Preparation for the practice of pediatrics requires more than just outstanding didactic teaching and superb clinical learning experiences. Therefore, we have implemented a complete professional development curriculum that spans all years of training and prepares residents both to be better residents, and for their careers after residency. Highlights of the program include career mentoring, development of teaching skills, leadership training, a seminar series in health care finance, managed care, and quality improvement, and a comprehensive program to assist residents in considering, choosing, and achieving their personal career objectives. Our program allows for considerable flexibility in meeting your own training needs. We recognize that residents in our program have diverse career goals and we work to ensure that every resident is well-prepared for his or her own specific career pathway. We are committed to providing individualized attention to the needs of every one of our residents, whether their interest is in primary care pediatrics, academic pediatrics, subspecialty pediatrics, or pediatric research. Both the Program Director and your faculty advisor will meet with you frequently to discuss your individual career goals and will assist you in considering and clarifying your career options, in identifying faculty who are knowledgeable in your chosen area, and in developing your second and third year schedules to meet your individual training priorities.
Mentoring and Support
All faculty members are extremely supportive of the residents and enjoy informal interaction with them. Each resident has a designated faculty advisor who serves as their advocate and academic counselor throughout their years of training. The program matches incoming residents with experienced advisors; residents are welcome to select a new or an additional advisor once they have gotten to know our faculty or as their career plans develop. The advisor generally meets with the resident at least three to four times each year. Advisors review academic progress, assist in career planning, and serve as an additional, less-formal link between residents and the program. Faculty see the advising role as an honor and are invested in the success of their residents. Many residents, in addition to their designated advisor, form mentoring relationships and friendships with other members of the faculty, especially as they begin to develop more focused career plans.
In addition to assistance available from our Chief Residents, from each resident’s own advisor, and from the Program Directors, the Health System also provides an accessible, confidential House Officer Mental Health Program for residents in need. Residents may self-refer to this no-cost service and appointments are made to accommodate residents’ busy schedules. This service can also coordinate ongoing care or additional services, if required.
A unique benefit to the University of Michigan is membership in the House Officer Association (HOA). The HOA is a union comprised of all house staff including residents and fellows which was started in the 1960s to advocate for house officers at UM. This is a collaborative group of residents from across the Health System with representatives from multiple specialties. The group advocates and bargains collectively for house officers in matters of salary, benefits, working conditiions, and contributes to patient care and the Health System by representation on multiple high level hospital committees. Recent resident and HOA driven initiatives have led to significant quality improvement projects sponsored by the hospital. The HOA elects its own leadership, and pediatric residents have frequently served as officers in the organization.
One of our main goals is to train future leaders in pediatrics. To that end, our program offers a curriculum in leadership skills and has integrated leadership training into many aspects of the curriculum. The didactic curriculum includes the roles of manager and leaders, situational leadership, building effective teams, conflict management and leading change. Leadership competence is assessed as part of the Mock Code program and as part of the resident’s evaluation on rotations where the resident is in a supervisory role.
The Resident as Teacher Program
The Resident as Teacher (RAT) program began in 2002 under the leadership of Dr. Ken Pituch and the Pediatric Hospitalist Faculty. The program introduces key points of educational theory in a series of workshops spread throughout the year including: attributes of the excellent teacher; principles of adult learning, and strategies for effective feedback. More importantly, on two Fridays each month either the interns or the senior house staff will meet as a group with the RAT faculty to discuss specific learning situations, their problem learners, or the challenges to be faced by the group preparing to rotate on the inpatient services. At these monthly lunches, one of several key themes of the program is always emphasized: Preparation for Teaching; Tools of Effective Teachers; and Dealing with the Problem Learner. These sessions are structured, but informal, and ample time is always set aside for practical “problem solving.” Feedback from house officer participants has been excellent. Since the introduction of the RAT program, our medical students have recognized the teaching in their pediatric clerkship by evaluating it as the “best 3rd year clerkship” for 3 consecutive years.