From left: Resident Shannon Tosounian, DO; Glenn Eiger, MD, director, Internal Medicine Residency Program; David Wheeler, MD, chief resident (photo by Wes Hilton)
Glenn Eiger, MD, is associate chairman, Department of Medicine, and director, Internal Medicine Residency Program, at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia. We recently spoke with him about Einstein’s residency program, the program's particular emphases, and the values that guide it.
Perspectives: How is Einstein’s internal medicine residency program different? What sets it apart?
Dr. Eiger: Our program is structured in such a way that, each and every day, there are structured educational experiences that are patient-centric. They’re also focused on issues related to our health care system.
Perspectives: What kind of activities does that include?
Dr. Eiger: At 7 a.m. every day, we have something called a morning report that I oversee as program director. We discuss interesting cases that have been seen in the hospital. We have a noon conference every day that covers a variety of different curricular topics. Every day, the residents round with their teaching attending to not only review the care of patients that have been assigned to the residents, but go into more detail into some of the problems that their patients have. They learn from their attending physician.
Perspectives: I’ve heard from two residents that one of the things that draws residents to Einstein is that we’re in the midst of an urban setting, so they might see a lot more cases that could be different from the kinds of cases they might see elsewhere.
Dr. Eiger: That’s correct. One of the draws is our incredibly diverse patient population that we serve, not only in our geographic area—which is a pretty typical inner city population—but also from many immigrant populations. We get to learn about illnesses that we might not see regularly elsewhere in the United States. In addition, Einstein also has specialty services that draw from outside our core community. We’ll also have people referred to our hospital, for example, for a liver transplant evaluation. Without doubt, this is one of the major strengths of this program—our diversity.
I would also say that residents get to see complexity in our patients. Not only do they have complex medical issues, they also have complex social issues. I always say, if you successfully graduate from our internal medicine program, you’re ready to practice anywhere.
There is definitely something special about this place.—Glenn Eiger, MD
Perspectives: What else would you say are the advantages of an internal medicine residency at Einstein?
Dr. Eiger: We have extraordinarily dedicated faculty in the department of internal medicine. We have 100-plus full-time faculty members who are employed physicians whose jobs include providing clinical care for patients, supervising our residents and fellows, and engaging in research. We have an extraordinary patient population, but you also need extraordinary teaching staff who are dedicated and who serve as role models. Last but not least, you need a well-structured program.
Perspectives: Tell us more about the research component of residency at Einstein.
Dr. Eiger: We have a structured research element. Every resident must be involved in a research project. That has been very important in teaching our residents the process of research, but it really helps them at the end of residency, when they might be applying for competitive jobs or fellowships. They present themselves as candidates who have participated in research, and that makes them a lot stronger.
Perspectives: A lot of people talk about the culture of Einstein—that, for a big institution, Einstein actually comes across internally as a small, close-knit organization. Some residents say that environment is very appealing.
Dr. Eiger: I don’t think we live in our own individual silos as much as other institutions do. People get to know each other, and everyone is approachable. I think that’s what people are trying to convey to you. There’s not a lot of red tape, from the highest level of the organization to the lowest level. People communicate very well with each other. There is definitely something special about this place.