University of Washington (Seattle) Program - Mathew Sorensen, MD, Residency Program Director

Attach to Residency Program: 
University of Washington
Survey Respondent: 
Mathew Sorensen, MD, MS
If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?: 

The urology program at the University of Washington is a unique training program. It is one of the largest University departments for urology training in the country with 5 hospitals and 35 faculty who have interests that cover every subspecialty within urology, including oncology, pediatric urology, trauma, infertility, female and reconstructive urology, neuro-urology (one of 2 in the country) and transplantation. Residents rotate through the University Hospital, a free- standing Children's Hospital, a level I trauma center, a VA Hospital and a hospital-based private practice group. There are da Vinci robots at 3 of the hospitals. Our residents are richly supplied with excellent clinical and operative experiences that far-exceed the national average. We now have two training tracks for residents.  Our traditional 6-year research track (2 residents per year) includes a full year of dedicated and protected research (PGY-4 year), and, during this time, residents audit courses in Biostatistics and may also take advantage of a global rotation with International Volunteers in Urology (IVU) for cultural experiences in third-world medicine. Our 5-year track (1 resident per year) will not have a dedicated research year, though the resident will have 3-4 months of protected research time. Our educational program is carefully designed to be comprehensive, preparing all residents for the potential of lifelong learning.  The residents have a formal curriculum that includes faculty-precepted chapter review sessions, a robust, individualized mentoring program, expectations to participate in quality improvement, as well as a host of hospital-specific teaching conferences.  We also have two unique educational initiatives.  Residents participate in a simulation-based surgical skills curriculum (URISTI) in our simulation center and an electronic, biweekly, spaced-learning curriculum where they are supplied customized practice SASP/inservice exam questions (UCQC). Finally, there is a mutual respect that is pervasive in our department, which makes for a very pleasant professional working environment.

What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?: 

Medical students who apply to our program should be interested in the three pillars of graduate medical education: patient care, teaching, and research. The student should be dedicated to hard work as a team member in a consortium of five very busy urban hospitals. We look for students who are academically competitive, demonstrate leadership qualities, and have an inquiring mind.

What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?: 

Ranking applicants for interview from the applicant pool is a difficult process, which our program takes very seriously. There is no one important factor in the application that guarantees an interview and much less a position in the program. The applicant’s “package” is important. This stated, letters of recommendation, personal statements and USMLE scores give a tremendous amount of information about applicants. We are looking for well rounded applicants that demonstrate an interest in and aspiration to become leaders in the field of urology.

What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?: 

Medical students hoping to match in Urology should know that Urology is first and foremost a surgical field. If surgery, or the idea of spending a lot of time in the operating room, is not of interest to you, do not apply to Urology. It is important to seek out a mentor in Urology, a person who will inform you of the bad days as well as the good days. We have a healthy mentorship program at UW. Interested medical students should not only investigate the field of Urology but be able to document their interest. We are looking for eager and curious individuals who are excited to be a part of this great field.