Chief Resident Guide: Supporting Residents Through Fellowship Application

William D. Surkis, MD, FACP
Internal Medicine Hospitalist
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Vice President and DIO for Medical Education
Lankenau Medical Center, Wynnewood, PA

The process of applying for fellowship can be daunting for any resident, but great chief residents can help make that path smoother and less stressful. One of the challenges in internal medicine is that the needs of fellowship application extend to more than 1 year of residency. Program directors (PDs) and associate/assistant PDs are key advisors and managers of this experience, but motivated chief residents (who communicate well with their residency’s program director team) can and should have deep involvement in this process from an organizational and advocacy standpoint.

Chiefs should start their year by sitting down with the PDs (in July or August) to understand how they can help support this process and co-lead their residency team to fellowship success. Chiefs should organize the fellowship needs of residents they lead into PGY year needs.

Timeline by Program Year:

Though there are many additional steps in this process, this guidance focuses on roles. Please note that many of these chief responsibilities are filled by PDs in some programs. It’s crucial for new chiefs to understand the culture of their program and to work closely, and in sync, with PDs to maximize team communication and success.

Additional Resources:

  1. How to Make the Most of Residency: A Chat with the Chiefs – ACP Webinar (2022)
  2. Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Leadership Skills Training Program for Chief Residents
  3. Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine (APDIM) Chief Residents Meeting (occurs during Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine [AAIM] Week in the spring each year)
  4. APDIM Chief Resident Online Community