Friday, April 8, 2016

Dr. Thinker: Contacts in the USA

When you say you don’t have any contacts in the USA, if you give up because of it or if you blame everything on this factor, then you are only ridiculing yourself.
-          Yes, having contacts will help in a big way.
-          With a proper strong contact it can be a cake to matching. And, yes you will come across such people. Don’t be jealous of them. Remember, you would have done the same thing if you had such contacts.
-          But, you will also many people reaching the end without any contacts, without even a family member to support in the USA.
-          So, don’t worry about something which you can do nothing about.

CONTACTS don’t just happen for everyone, you have to make them!
-          If you work in the right direction, you can still make many of them. You just have to be on your game all the time and realize that every person could be a potential contact.
-          It could be your friend you went to school with, it could be a stranger on fb you met while preparing for steps, it could be a resident you worked with during USCE or it could be an attending you worked with during USCE/research. It could also be a person who shared an uber ride or it could be some random person who sits beside you while waiting to catch a connecting flight in some other country.
-          This sounds like a fairy tale. But, this does happen. Be ready to be surprised.

Does having contacts help?
-          It definitely does.
-          It depends on how strong the contact is, how well he knows you and how much he pushes your application.
-          Most importantly it depends on whether he works in a hospital that has residency in the same specialty.
a.      Spouse – you will most definitely match into their program
b.      Relatives – If working in the same hospital – strong
                     If working in the same hospital and specialty – very strong
                     If working in private practice and knows someone in the program – varies
c.       Attending – If that hospital takes IMGs and he puts in a very strong word – you will most definitely match there.
                      If he is from a big university and emails or calls the program where you have/had interview – Strong
d.      Residents - Depends on how much they push you.
e.      Chief resident – Depends on how much he pushes – can be strong
f.        Relative of some doctor in the same specialty and hospital as you are applying – Depends on how close you are to that doctor’s relative – could be strong if the relative puts in a strong recommendation and if that doctor is the Program director.

There could be various other types of contacts, too. The above examples are just to give an idea.

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