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Medicine-Pediatrics

Jaclyn Albin, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine & Pediatrics
Associate Residency Program Director
Pediatrics & Internal Medicine

jaclyn.albin@utsouthwestern.edu
817-846-4034

Jaclyn Albin, M.D.

Email Judy Nguyen to schedule a meeting. judy.nguyen@utsouthwestern.edu

About the Specialty

Med/Peds is four years of training in categorical pediatrics and categorical internal medicine. At the end of this combined residency, you are a full pediatrician and a full internist, and you take the same board exams as your colleagues in categorical programs. Med-Peds trainees go on to have very diverse career paths ranging from full-spectrum primary care, hospital medicine, transition medicine, public health, global health, and a range of sub-specialties in Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, or both. The field of Med-Peds is highly versatile in its depth and breadth.

Answers to Common Questions

  • Attributes of a Competitive Student

    What factors typically make a student competitive for this specialty?

    While Med/Peds is more competitive that categorical pediatrics or internal medicine, most U.S. candidates can find a Med/Peds program that fits their level of competitiveness. Having a strong board score is always helpful, and some programs limit their interview slots to candidates above a certain board score, but there isn’t a specialty-wide “cut off” that will necessarily prevent a candidate with a lower score from getting interviews.

    On a similar note, excelling during clinical rotations is much more important than preclinical grades. Other factors that contribute to competitiveness include leadership experience, advocacy work, medical education scholarship, research, global health experience, and general life experience or grit.

  • Research

    How important is research experience in your specialty? If important, does it need to be in the specialty itself?

    One of the attractive things about a Med/Peds career includes the diverse career opportunities. For some physicians, this includes research. For others, they focus their career on clinical and educational priorities. Also emerging as career drivers are work in quality improvement, global health, and other unique interests.

    The most important thing to do during the preclinical years is to learn as much as you can in your coursework, and engage in activities that allow you to develop whatever your unique passions, skills, or interests may be. This could be serving as the leader of an interest group, getting involved in curriculum development or medical education, service organizations, global health initiatives, local or national advocacy work, etc. Most programs want to see that you have taken an active role, and put significant time or effort into something that is meaningful to you, and impactful to others. In Med-Peds, research in any area of Internal Medicine or Pediatrics is helpful.

  • Shadowing

    How can students identify opportunities for shadowing and other opportunities?

    During your MS2 and MS3 clerkships, you will gain important exposure to Med/Peds through your ambulatory, IM, and Pediatrics clerkships – this will give you the best sense of what you enjoy about each, and if Med/Peds is the best option for you. You might consider requesting the Med/Peds clinic for your ambulatory clerkship, but otherwise, there is nothing else you need to plan for during the MS2/3 year.

    For students with strong interest in Med-Peds, please reach out to Judy Nguyen, judy.nguyen@utsouthwestern.edu, for the Roadmap to Med-Peds outlining opportunities to learn more and engage faculty and residents as well as the detailed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document, which addresses most common questions.

  • Electives

    What electives would you recommend to a student who is interested in pursuing your specialty?

    Students seeking to refine their interest in Med-Peds often choose electives in various sub-specialties of Internal Medicine or Pediatrics ranging from Cardiology to Palliative Care. Given the breadth of the specialty, time spent gaining skills from other specialties is also very useful. Common favorites to broaden clinical skill set include Dermatology, ENT, or Radiology. We encourage students to explore a wide range of clinical experiences to enhance their confidence in the clinical environment.

    Based on your experience, what tips do you have for students to shine on your electives?

    There is not a formal Med-Peds elective. On any elective experience or sub-I experience, strong clinical skills that are demonstrated through patient care, oral presentations, and written documentation are greatly valued. The ability to function well in a team environment, strong communication skills with all team members, patients, and families, and excellence in professionalism are key.

  • Away Rotations

    Does your specialty recommend doing away rotations?

    Away rotations are not necessary in our field, but some situations might cause them to be beneficial. If you have a clear first choice program, it might be helpful to you to do an away rotation so that they can get to know you better. Doing an away at a program shows specific interest in that program, and it’s beneficial to reach out to program staff during time there to express your interest. Away rotations also give you the opportunity to experience the culture at other places and to enter interview season with a bit more experience. Students with geographic limitations may find it helpful to do an away rotation at one to two of the areas they hope to match.

    Please also keep in mind that an away rotation can bring you down as much as it can help you. An away rotation is essentially a month-long interview, so be prepared to bring your “A game” all day, every day.

    If your specialty recommends doing away rotations, how many “aways” do you recommend?

    NA, individualized as above.

    If away rotations are necessary, when should they apply and when should they be completed?

    NA.

  • Interview Timing

    Which month do you recommend taking off to interview?

    November and December are the heaviest interview months, with some interviews beginning mid-October and some in early January.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    How many letters of recommendation are needed to apply to your specialty?

    From a logistical standpoint, Med/Peds applicants basically need four letters. Many programs want a “department letter” from each side (Peds and IM) that you request through clerkship directors and department chairs. For the remaining two letters, it is ideal to have a clinical letter from each side. If you have a really meaningful relationship with a non-pediatric or non-internal medicine faculty member, that would also be fine as one of the additional letters. In general, unless you are an M.D.-Ph.D. candidate or did a full research year, we would rather see a letter from a clinical attending rather than a research mentor.

    Does your specialty recommend that all letters of recommendation be written by members of your specialty?

    See above.

    If letters can come from other disciplines, do you have a recommendation as to which disciplines are more highly valued?

    The most helpful letters are those that meaningfully comment on your clinical skills as it is difficult for residency leaders to gain a clear understanding of a student’s clinical skillset from the rest of the application (which focuses on activities, research, grades, and exam scores). Thus, choose faculty who had a significant opportunity to observe you clinically. Having letters from your sub-I or other senior rotations is often ideal as faculty are able to comment more robustly on your clinical confidence and readiness for internship.

    Does the academic rank of the letter writer matter?

    Not typically, though a strong letter from a very seasoned faculty member can strongly support a student’s application.

    Does your specialty require a letter from the chairman?

    Yes, Chair letters from both Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine (written by designees) as above.

Resources

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