NYMC > Departments > Academic Departments > School of Medicine > Ophthalmology > Residency Programs > Westchester Medical Center > Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What changes has the program made since being placed on probation?

The department has dramatically overhauled the department and made numerous improvements to the residency problem. Thaddeus Wandel, M.D. was made program director in early 2012.  A few areas that have been improved include: 

Academics – a few improvements to our academics include:

  1. An academic schedule is created for the year and followed closely.  Typically there are 3 lectures per week

  2. The Columbia Basic Science Course – each year three residents (typically the second year residents) will be sent to this month-long intensive review course (funded by the department)

  3. Access to the Comprehensive Ophthalmology Review Course DVD/CD set produced by Doheny Eye Institute

  4. Access to a databank of pre-recorded lectures from various institutions 

Resident Oversight

  1. Three new faculty are being recruited to increase OR time for residents, allow more resident clinics to occur, and to supervise consults

  2. A new full-time technician is being recruited.  This individual will perform all ancillary testing (OCT, Visual fields, fundus photos, check visual acuities, etc) 

Academic Environment

  1. Previously, there was a strong emphasis on private practice “apprenticeship.”

  2. Now, the private practice rotations have been educationally optimized which have received excellent feedback from current residents

  3. Residents currently spend <3 half-days per week in private practice (while at WMC) and this will decrease when the resident clinic volume increases 

Research

  1. Residents are encouraged to participate in research.  Currently there are 4-5 IRBs submitted to begin projects at both Westchester Medical Center and Metropolitan Hospital.

  2. Residents now have one half-day per week dedicated to research time

  3. In addition to research, all residents are encouraged to also participate in a quality improvement project. 

Call Room

  1. The ophthalmology department now has a new, dedicated call room for ophthalmology residents 

Our department prides itself on being open to suggestions from residents.  We frequently have meetings with the administration where discussing issues is welcomed and we work together to find solutions that improve residency training.  While this program has come a long way, we are always looking to become better. 

What are the surgical numbers achieved by the graduating residents?
Our program provides a solid surgical experience that is on par with other New York programs.  As our second year residents cover backup call (including surgery), they obtain early experience as primary surgeon with ruptured globes and other on-call surgical emergencies.  The surgical numbers are expected to increase with the expansion of OR time and clinic volume.  Below is the average surgeries performed by each resident of our graduating class in 2014. 

Surgery

Primary

Assistant

Total

Cataract

117

44

161

PKP

9

20

29

Pterygium

9

5

14

Strabismus

18

4

22

Glaucoma

14

6

20

Vitrectomy

10

2

12

Viteous Tap/Inject

40

0

40

Oculoplastics

44

20

64

Globe trauma

10

2

12

Total Lasers

110

0

110

Please note that this is the true numerical average.  Our residents do not “inflate” their primary numbers. Those procedures marked as primary indicate that the resident did the majority of that case. 

How much time is dedicated to each hospital?
Each resident spends 6 months per year at each hospital.  First year residents alternate every 3 months and second/third year residents alternate every 6 months. 

Do residents typically go onto fellowships?
A list of fellowship match can be found on the resident-alumni page.  There is an even split among graduates who enter comprehensive ophthalmology vs. go on to a fellowship.  Those who went into comprehensive ophthalmology felt well-prepared to do so. 

Where do the residents live?

About half of the residents live in Westchester County and half live in the city.  During the first year, it is advantageous to live closer to Westchester Medical Center, as most calls while on call will come from this institution.  It is entirely possible to do this from the city, though.


Program Accreditation ... 

The ACGME was established in 1981 from a consensus in the academic medical community for an independent accrediting organization. Its forerunner was the Liaison Committee for Graduate Medical Education, established in 1972. 

The mission of the ACGME is to improve health care by assessing and advancing the quality of resident physicians' education through exemplary accreditation.