Residency Program: Why Choose MUSC for Your Residency?
Guest: Dr. Harry Clarke – Urology Services, MUSC
Host: Dr. Linda Austin – Psychiatry, MUSC
Dr. Linda Austin: Dr. Harry Clarke is Professor of Urology but, in this podcast, he’s going to be talking with us about his role as Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education. And, you’re also the Designated Institutional Official. That does sound very official, Dr. Clarke. Tell us what makes the MUSC residency program generically special, in your view. Certainly, it’s hard to talk about residency programs in the aggregate because each one is so unique and has its own special features. But, if you do think about choosing MUSC; Charleston, as a place to do residency, why would you recommend that a young person in medical school take a good look at our programs?
Dr. Harry Clarke: Well, you just said it right there. One of the major attractions is that we are in Charleston, which is a wonderful place to live; wonderful place to have your family, if you have a family, while you’re in training. And the other is that, as a tertiary, or referral, center, we have almost every residency program here. And, of all of these programs, each of them is highly competitive and very well-respected. So, not only do you have the program that you’re applying to; or want to be involved in, but you have top-flight, top-notch, people in all of these other fields, which also enriches your education in total.
Dr. Linda Austin: Dr. Clarke, how long have you been Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education at MUSC?
Dr. Harry Clarke: I’ve been Associate Dean for Medical Education for about seven years now. I’ve been the interim Designated Institutional Official for the last two years, and just took on that position permanently in the last week.
Dr. Linda Austin: Congratulations. And, tell us about what you have seen in the last seven years. What have been some of the most interesting, exciting, or even challenging developments?
Dr. Harry Clarke: The first thing that comes to mind is our new hospital, the ART; the Ashley River Tower, that just opened this past year. There was a lot of anxiety and angst about moving patients and moving residents, and who was going to cover this in terms of residency coverage, and that’s all kind of worked out.
Dr. Linda Austin: And it is such a spectacular building.
Dr. Harry Clarke: It’s a magnificent building. And, the residency programs, in fact, were ramped up; the hospital actually underwriting the cost for increasing our resident component by a significant amount so that we could adequately staff this. As you may, or may not, know, the number of residency slots that the federal government funds has been capped and has not been increased for quite a number of years. But we, here, at MUSC, have been able to increase the number of residents based on the hospital’s willingness to underwrite this. It’s been a boon for our programs, as well as for the hospital, because of the expert assistance that the residents, once trained, are able to contribute.
Dr. Linda Austin: Now, for those who have not been to MUSC, Ashley River Towers houses the DDC (Digestive Disease Center), the Heart & Vascular Center, as well as some of our oncology treatment clinics. And, that brings up, of course, the very exciting recent development, of just a few months ago, of MUSC’s Hollings Cancer
Center being designated an NCI-designated center. That was, really, very big and exciting news for us.
Dr. Harry Clarke: That is absolutely correct. I can’t tell you how much of a boon that is just from patient recognition. Patients, being involved in urologic oncology, I have patients every day that have noticed that in the news and so forth. It’s really a huge accomplishment that Dr. Kraft achieved, and it’s a boon for all of our programs.
Dr. Linda Austin: Dr. Clarke, I heard a comment from a resident candidate about a year ago. He said that MUSC has a reputation of having a reasonable lifestyle set of expectations for residents. I found that really interesting, because my observation is that the residents in all departments actually work quite hard and really put in a lot of time and energy, and effort. And, yet, Charleston, SC, year after year, is voted the most hospitable city in the United States. There’s a certain spirit of gentility here in Charleston that, I think, does spill over to MUSC that imbues the center with a certain sense of decency in how residents and faculty treat each other, as well as treat the patients.
Dr. Harry Clarke: You know, I came from Emory, in Atlanta; we moved from Ohio, and my wife noticed that when anyone tooted the horn, it was usually by someone from out of town. Now, that’s changed considerably in Atlanta because it’s become much more diverse. But I think that’s still kind of true down here in Charleston. You go up to New York, or somewhere, and people are tooting at you if you stop too long at a light, but here, people are much more civil. One of the newscasters, that I heard, was talking to people who had recently moved to Charleston. He said one woman, who was from New Jersey, was saying how she was in the Piggly Wiggly and this woman in front of her was just taking forever. She was standing there talking to the cashier, and it just seemed terribly rude. And she said that now that she’s been down here for a week or two, she talks with the cashier as well.
Dr. Linda Austin: Dr. Clarke, you have so much to be proud of; our National Cancer Institute designation; our recent CTSA (Clinical and Translational Science Award) – mega, humongous grant that we just received; our designation of multiple clinical departments in the top 20 by US News & World Report. There has been so much great news to report here at MUSC in the last few months that we’ve had a hard time keeping up with it, and you certainly deserve a lot of credit. Thanks so much for talking with us today.