Duke University Program - Andrew Peterson, MD, Residency Program Director

Attach to Residency Program: 
Duke University
Survey Respondent: 
Andrew Peterson, MD, Residency Program Director
If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?: 
Duke Urology's mission is to train urologic surgeons to become leaders and role models in their communities. While at Duke, you will work with excellent, well regarded faculty that are considered to be the premier urologists in the world at a state-of-the-art medical center that is consistently ranked in the top 10 of all programs in the United States. Duke offers the full range of urologic subspecialties, excellent clinical and surgical volume with an incredible exposure to a wide breadth of clinical urology and operative experience. Since the Duke University medical center is located on the university campus you will have the opportunity to conduct cutting edge urologic research in basic science, clinical research, and health services outcomes. This allows the opportunity to do collaborative and translational research with other world renowned academicians from multiple backgrounds and specialties. This broad clinical experience, research opportunity and educational experience are all delivered in a respectful and professional environment that promotes personal growth and success. In the words of one of our graduates “I would choose to train in our program again because it provides a well-rounded experience with high surgical volume, great research exposure, and world-class faculty. The training program prepares residents for a rewarding career in either private practice or academics and provides a stepping stone for fellowship in every major sub specialty in Urology. Durham affords residents an outstanding quality of life and the program actively encourages a healthy work-life balance”.
What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?: 
We are looking for hard working, conscientious, bright, inquisitive, energetic young doctors who are self-motivated to push the frontiers of their profession. We seek people who will mesh well with our cohesive group of residents. These are people who have the following individual qualities: 1. The passion, drive and ability to achieve excellence in urologic surgery 2. The ability to charismatically lead and function as part of a medical team 3. Those who possess the highest moral character and are able to work in a team oriented environment. Those who possess personal integrity, good work ethic, academic skills, , and social and interpersonal skills.
What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?: 
Because we are interested in a well-rounded, academically strong, inquisitive and self-motivated resident it is difficult to place a hierarchy on individual attributes. While research experience is a plus, it is not mandatory. While we do have a minimum for board scores, after that it is the overall package we are looking at in the applicant. Those with extensive research experience with publications are desired. However, having achieved excellence in prior academic as well as extracurricular pursuits indicates a well-rounded applicant that is motivated, hard-working, and enthusiastic. We do find that the letters of recommendations are extremely helpful and important in differentiating good applicants from the great. The individual's performance on clinical rotations during medical school and preclinical courses are the best indicators of success during residency. In addition to this we find the following very valuable in evaluating applicants: 1. A stellar performance on a 4-week acting intern rotation (if applicable) 2. Strong letters of recommendation from reliable sources 3. Grades/evaluations from 3rd and 4th year clinical rotations 4. Board scores 5. Research experience and other degrees, e.g. MS, MPH, JD, etc. 6. Other...
What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?: 
The following are quotes from our faculty on what they find important in applicants: “Have some research and volunteer experience. Do well on the boards and in school. Apply widely. Before the interview – do your homework. Know a little bit about the program and the faculty. Ask intelligent questions. Show an interest in the interview. Nothing makes me more interested in applicant than them showing passion. That is what we want – people who are passionate.” “First, do well in medical school because we are seeking bright young people who are self-motivated. Secondly, perform at a high level on your clinical urology rotations and prove to your mentors that you will be a great resident. Thirdly, demonstrate a strong interest in urology by involving yourself in research or seek interesting extramural opportunities.” “Demonstrate tenacity and enthusiasm by strong performance on clinical rotations. Express openness to research and fellowship training.” “Spend as much time with urologists as you can, be proactive and find ways to get involved in clinic, the OR, and in the lab. Identify a faculty mentor as early as possible during medical school training. Discuss strategies that have made other candidates successful. Have a strategy for obtaining high-quality letters of recommendation. I'm sure every medical school has something like this, but this is a resource that I found extremely helpful: http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/edumedia/edufiles/medical_school/student_support_svcs/match-sw-style-2012.pdf” “Do well on your boards. Establish a relationship at their home institution to obtain outstanding letters of recommendation. Try and do some sort of research in urology while in medical school.”