ECUThe last of my top three residency choices is East Carolina University. This was actually the last program that I visited, and it impressed me a whole lot more than I thought it would. I drove over there and met the chief resident for coffee; he was very nice and had lots of great information about the program. Later on was the dinner and it was so much fun. Probably the best dinner of the whole interview season, with the exception of my home program (which only was better because I already knew everyone). We were actually out till after 10 (really late for these functions) and I just felt completely comfortable with the residents... always a good sign. The interview day went well; the program director was great. He's the kind of director that makes you think he'll do anything for his residents. Interested in special needs kids? We'll slide many of them over to your clinic. Research? Not required, but we'll set you up with the people who are doing it. Thinking fellowship? We'll get you an away rotation at a program you're interested in. He also really addresses any weaknesses in the program. A few years back a couple people didn't pass the Peds boards so now there are formal board reviews and free review books provided. They also set up mentoring for people who are having trouble on in-house testing. I don't look for perfection in a program, because you'll never find it. I look for a director willing to change what needs changing, who listens and responds to his residents' concerns. I really got the feeling that he does. They also have a combined clinic and combined faculty, which has become a deal breaker for me.
Negatives? Location. Greenville, NC is a small city pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Drive to Raleigh and then go 90 minutes east. It's pretty close to the beach which is nice, but the town itself is smaller than my other top choices. It's much closer to home (only 6 hr as opposed to 16) which is nice, but is that me chickening out of going off somewhere new. Also it's a smaller program and a less prestigious one. Should I at least try for the big name program? I never have before for college and med school, and a part of me regrets it.