Development of a residency interviewing preparatory seminar

As the profession of pharmacy continues to evolve in response to society’s health-related needs, one of the most pressing developments is the demand for more residency training opportunities. The demand currently far outstrips the supply of residency positions, and 2010 saw nearly 1 in 3 applicants fail to secure one through the Match. The onus on us as pharmacy educators is two-fold. Nationally, we need to scale up existing slots and help create new programs. Locally, we need to prepare our students as intensively as possible to help them compete for residencies that will help transform them into agents of change for the profession.

To that end, a couple of my colleagues developed an elective, Residency Interviewing Preparatory Seminar (RIPS), the details of which were recently published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. I was fortunate to be involved in this course aimed at developing our students’ core skills in the process including: improving their interviewing and presentation skills, professionalism, and developing their curriculum vitae (CV) and personal statement. As the course was targeted to P4s (i.e., completing the final, clinical phase of their education) who were at their rotation site all day, the class was held weekly for two hours in the evening and timed to be completed directly before the Midyear Clinical Meeting.

Completion of the RIPS course demonstrably improved the confidence of the enrolled students and 78% of RIPS students that cycle secured a residency. Nationally, the success rate is only around 62%, although these numbers cannot be directly compared. We have continued the course since publication and the most recent iteration saw a further increase in the percentage of RIPS students able to secure a residency position. Plans are to continue an iterative approach to course development.


Informatics Masters and Certificate Programs in the US

I teach in our University’s Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics (MSBI) program.  We also have a Medical Informatics Certificate program, a Public Health Informatics Certificate program, and offer a MSBI in Portugal.  However, this isn’t a commercial or sponsored post.  This information is simply to provide some context as to why I am interested in seeing a centralized source of information for all post-bac informatics programs.  More importantly, our Section Advisory Group for Pharmacy Informatics Education in the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) is also looking at this topic and relevant issues for pharmacy.

It would be nice – if similar to the list of hospitals using social media maintained by @EdBennett, the Google spreadsheet of journals with a Twitter presence by @laikas or the Pharma and healthcare social media wiki by @jonmrich – that there was also a comprehensive list of informatics programs.  Ideally it would be broken down into searchable fields (e.g., online/live/mixed delivery models, thesis or non-thesis, clinical or non-clinical focus, college(s) at the university involved, participation in AMIA 10×10, AMIA Academic Forum membership, tuition, etc.) and program titles (e.g., bioinformatics, biomedical informatics, health informatics, health informatics management, medical informatics, security informatics, etc.).

There are several particularly interesting informatics programs in addition to the MSBI at Nova Southeastern University.  For instance, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Health Informatics program appears to try to cater to individual professions.  As an example, they list Pharmacy Informatics as a specialty with dedicated pages.  Minnesota also has a promising combined MD/MHI program housed in the Institute for Health Informatics (IHI).  The IHI also has the best video overview for a program I have seen so far:

My alma mater (The University of Tennessee) has a Master of Health Informatics and Information Management program, but it is offered through their College of Allied Health Sciences rather than via their college of pharmacy or medicine.  A partial list of US institutions with post-bac informatics programs I have come across thus far include: Capella University, Drexel University Online, Eastern Michigan University, Emory University, Harvard-MIT, Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, Medical College of Georgia, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Northeastern University, Northwestern University, Nova Southeastern University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Saint Louis University, Stanford University, University of Alabama, University of California (Davis), University of Central Florida, University of Iowa, University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Pittsburgh, University of Phoenix, University of Tennessee, University of Texas (El Paso), University of Utah, University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee), Vanderbilt University, and Walden University.  Programs that only offer a PhD in informatics are not included in the sample of institutions above.

Some pretty cool training programs such as the CDC’s Public Health Informatics Fellowship and several pharmacy informatics residencies are also available for those in different stages of their careers.

A few websites have collected some of the post-bac informatics programs, but they generally suffer from a combination of missing programs, incomplete information, and (in some cases) are eerily reminiscent of some of the link bait ‘top 50 blog’ sites.  Maybe a comprehensive, searchable site already exists and someone will point it out to me?  Or perhaps I’ll add it to my ‘to do’ list.