1. How Competitive is Columbia Anesthesiology?
    Anesthesiology continues to be a popular specialty among graduating medical students. As one of the highest ranked academic programs of Anesthesiology in the United States, Columbia has consistently been one of the most competitive programs in the country, attracting many excellent applicants, some of whom we hope will be future leaders in the specialty. In reviewing all of our applicants we try to recruit the best group that balances the multitude of talents and interests of the individual applicants to build a class likely to be successful in a career in Anesthesiology.

  2. When are your interview dates?
    Our interview season for the 2016-17 academic year begins on Friday, October 28, 2016 and ends Friday, January 13, 2017.

  3. When is your application deadline?
    The latest date for applications for the 2017-18 academic year is December 1, 2016, but occasionally we will accept late applications under extenuating circumstances.  Early applications are always encouraged.

  4. How many residents do you take through the match?
    Our program is ACGME approved for 26 positions per year, for a total of 104 residents. All CBY positions are filled through the NRMP match either as regular categorical residents (24 positions) or as categorical Apgar Scholar residents (2 positions).

  5. Do you take any residents outside the match?
    All of our 24 categorical resident positions and 2 categorical Apgar Scholar residents are filled through the NRMP match.

  6. How should one organize the fourth year schedule?
    It is important to complete an anesthesiology elective or sub-internship early during the fourth year. Depending on your medical school, exposure to anesthesiology can be gained either through a traditional anesthesiology rotation in the operating rooms, on the labor and delivery floors, or through rotations in the intensive care units or pain clinics under the direction of Anesthesiologists. Other important fourth year electives that will prepare you for internship and anesthesiology residency include cardiology, pulmonary medicine/critical care, surgical critical care, cardiothoracic critical care, and pediatrics.

  7. Do I have to complete my intern year at Columbia?
    Yes. The anesthesiology residency program at Columbia is a four-year residency program with an integrated clinical base year. As such, all of our residency positions through the match are Categorical (i.e. we do not offer Advanced positions through the main residency match). Applicants wishing to switch into Anesthesiology from another specialty, who are not obligated to another program under ACGME rules should contact our Residency Program Director, Dr. Pang, directly (Leila Mei Pang, MD, as we occasionally have positions available due to unexpected circumstances.

  8. How is the Clinical Base Year (CBY) organized?
    The CBY at Columbia is constantly evolving based on feedback/suggestions from the residents. According to the ACGME guidelines, the CBY must have the following components:
    • 6 months of inpatient care: Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Surgical Specialties, OB/GYN, Neurology, Family Medicine or a combination of the above
    • 1-2 months each of Emergency Room Medicine and Critical Care Medicine
    • Up to 1 month of Anesthesiology

     To fulfill these requirements and meet the needs of our residents, we have organized the CBY at Columbia for 2015-16 as follows: 13 Blocks
    •  2 rotations of Anesthesiology (2 weeks/Blocks)
    •  4 weeks of vacation are approved by the ABA. During the Anesthesiology blocks, CBY residents will spend two weeks in the operating rooms and two weeks on vacation.
    •  In-Patient months (1 Block each)
      •  ENT
      • General Pediatrics
      • Neurology
      • OB/GYN
      • Pediatric Cardiology
      • Surgery
    • 1 block of Emergency Medicine
    • 2 weeks of Pain Medicine
    • 1 block of Quality Assurance/Patient Safety
    • 2 blocks of SICU
    • 2 weeks of Transfusion Medicine

  9. What is the call schedule like?
    Call during the clinical anesthesiology years is dependent on the rotation and year of training. Regardless of the rotation, call is no more frequent than every third night. In general, the operating room call team is made up of four residents. One CA-3 resident who is the “Team Captain (TC), ” a junior or senior resident acting as the Assistant Team Captain (ATC), and two other residents (junior or senior). The Short Call system is comprised of seven residents who along with CRNAs relieve all non-call residents starting at 3:30-4pm. As the OR activity slows, the TC and overnight attending will send short call residents home (starting with “short 7”). Depending on the staffing needs, short call residents who are designated 7 to 3 leave as early as 5pm to as late as 7-8pm. Short 1 and 2 are considered “late residents” and will stay until 8 to 9pm or until all of the cases can be covered by the overnight team. Short 1 and 2 residents are not expected to return to work until 9AM the next morning. In compliance with ACGME rules, residents are given a full 10 hours off between leaving the hospital and when they are expected to return to clinical duties. These rules are strictly enforced by the residency program. For example, a resident staying until 9pm is not expected to return to the hospital until after 7AM the next morning. Similarly, a short 1 or 2 resident staying until midnight is not expected to return to the hospital until after 10AM that day. In general, short call residents numbered 7 through 5 leave between 4-6pm, short 4-3 leaving between 6-7pm, and short 1-2 leave before 9pm.

    The role of the TC is to manage the operating room board and coordinate anesthesia coverage for ongoing, urgent and emergent cases. As a TC, senior residents will gain vital experience in leadership and management of all perioperative services. The TC is responsible for all stat intubations and airway management during arrests in both Milstein hospital and at the Children’s hospital. The TC is also responsible for managing all patients in the post anesthesia care unit. The ATC resident is a CA-2 or CA-3 resident who aids the TC in managing all stat intubations and arrests as well as the PACU. The primary role of the ATC resident is to cover all liver transplants as well as any difficult or complex adult or pediatric case that is not suitable for a CA 1 resident.

    For the main “Milstein Hospital” blocks, including neurosurgical anesthesia, regional anesthesia, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and Pre- Admission Unit(PAU) Clinic, call is as follows: (average hours per week: 55-60hrs)

    CA-1: Normally 1-2 CA-1 residents are assigned to overnight call. Total number of overnight calls per month are 3-4. CA-1 residents also take 3-4 short calls every month.

    CA-2: Normally 3-4 ATC overnight shifts and 3-4 short calls every month

    CA-3: Normally 2 TC calls per month in addition to 3-4 short call every month.

    For cardiothoracic anesthesia, obstetric anesthesia, cardiothoracic ICU and surgical ICU, calls are dependent on the number of residents, fellows and off service residents (for ICU only) assigned to the blocks. In general, the average number of hours spent in the hospital while on these rotations is 65-70 hrs per week.

    For rotations in pediatric anesthesia, the fellows take overnight call. In general, CA1 and CA2 residents have 1-2 short calls per week including late short call and 1 overnight Saturday call in the main Milstein ORs or 1 in-house 7 am-7am Milstein backup Saturday call. CA3 residents have 1-2 short call including late short call and 1 Saturday in-house 7am-5pm Pediatric backup call per rotation. Emergency pediatric cases are covered by the Milstein call team until the at-home call Pediatric fellow and attending can arrive in the hospital.

  10. What types of cases will I see in the Operating Room?
    As a Columbia anesthesiology resident, you will have the opportunity to work with world-renowned surgeons who receive referrals for the most challenging and demanding surgical cases. As such, you will be exposed to a range of procedures such as ex-vivo resections with Dr. Kato, hybrid cardiac surgery/percutaneous valve therapy with adult cardiothoracic surgeons, and complex pediatric congenital heart surgery with Drs. Bacha and Quaegebeur. Because Columbia is a tertiary referral center, even relatively routine procedures are often referred because of the patient’s complicated medical history so that a patient scheduled for a laparoscopic appendectomy may have a history of congenital heart disease with Fontan physiology or end stage liver or kidney disease awaiting transplantation. Residents will also have experience providing anesthesia for both the adult and pediatric patients undergoing robotic surgery. Residents receive experience in ambulatory anesthesia, particularly during the regional anesthesia rotation where the anesthetic plan must be modified to accommodate the need for patients to be able to return home rapidly from the ambulatory outpatient surgery center
  11. Do your residents get any exposure to ambulatory anesthesia?
    Residents receive ample experience in both adult and pediatric ambulatory surgery. Residents will gain experience modifying anesthetic techniques to ensure rapid emergence from anesthesia with adequate pain control for outpatient surgery. Additionally, residents will learn how to evaluate the adult and pediatric post-surgical patient to ensure that they meet discharge criteria.

  12. What opportunities are there for research?
    The Department and its faculty are very highly regarded for their research skills and productivity. The participation of residents in research is highly encouraged and thoroughly supported by the anesthesiology department. All residents have the opportunity to do research, but it is not mandatory. However, all residents should complete an academic project each year. In fact, the Department’s residents and fellows have won a large number of national awards over the recent years for their research.  We have an NIH training grant to fund residents and fellows to do research fellowships and are one of only a few Anesthesia Departments to have had this type of grant for more than 20 years. We have consistently ranked in the top 10 in NIH funding nationally for Anesthesiology Departments. Applicants interested in research should consider the Virginia Apgar Scholars program. Information can be found here. Current departmental research projects can be found here.

    Projects within the department range from cellular and molecular mechanisms of anesthetics and chronic pain to epidemiologic and clinical research. Every spring, the department sponsors an “Academic Evening” where residents, fellows and research staff present their projects in either a poster or oral presentation format. The Academic Evening Committee invites a preeminent clinician scientist from an outside institution to serve as a guest judge. These Academic Evenings have been one of the highlights of the residents’ research experience. For more information on the Academic Evening, here.

  13. How is the relationship between the anesthesiologists and the surgeons?
    The anesthesiology department at Columbia University is one of the most respected academic anesthesiology departments in the world. The Department became an independent academic department more than 60 years ago and has witnessed immense growth in both stature and size.

    The anesthesiology department works collaboratively with the surgical departments in both clinical and academic/research endeavors. Interdepartmental meetings and planning initiatives routinely occur to ensure that anesthetic care considerations are taken into account when planning new surgical procedures or techniques. Additionally, we work closely with our surgical colleagues in the cardiothoracic ICU and surgical ICU, which are both under the medical direction of Dr. Vivek Moitra and staffed by anesthesiologists. The camaraderie with the surgical department begins during the CBY portion of your training. Here, you will work closely with residents in all of the surgical subspecialties as you rotate through general surgery, ENT, emergency medicine and the SICU. This is continued into the CA2 year where anesthesia residents and surgical residents work together in the CTICU.

  14. Are there any opportunities for International Anesthesia experience?
    Every year, many faculty members are involved in international service programs. In recent years, residents have provided anesthesia to underserved patients in South America, Central America, Asia, India and Africa. Two faculty members have also been involved in Doctors without Borders. For the past several years, a Columbia anesthesiology resident has been the recipient of the competitive and prestigious Society for Education in Anesthesia-Health Volunteers Overseas (SEA-HVO) Traveling Fellowship. The goal of the fellowship is to improve anesthesiology care in developing countries through teaching anesthesia providers in the countries and to provide the opportunity for anesthesiology residents in the United States to work at international anesthesiology training sites. Residents in the CA-2 year are encouraged to apply for this four week rotation.
Columbia University Medical Center Department of Anesthesiology