Thank you for visiting the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Categorical and Preliminary Internal Medicine Residency website. Obviously, this is not a typical interview year so before you delve into the bulk of our website we want to address three main items: our virtual interview process, COVID-19 and our local focus on addressing structural racism and promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion.
One of the biggest challenges a virtual interview season presents us is how to let you experience our best feature: the VMC residency family and culture. Please bookmark this page and return to it from time to time as we will have updated content that will show you more about our program, and will introduce you to medical students and residents who have trained at Valley. Our interview process will be asynchronous, with the opportunity to review expanded materials before your virtual interviews and separate, live events with residents. Applicants who are offered an interview will have the opportunity to join virtual townhall meetings with residents throughout the interview season with planned focus groups addressing specific needs such as pursuing fellowship, interest in social medicine, primary care, diversity and inclusion and more.
Across the country, COVID-19 has been incredibly disruptive to medical education and residency training. We know you have all had many fears and stresses and cancelled plans. Some of you have experienced the loss of close family members. I have been incredibly moved by the response of our residents. At the start of the pandemic, in spite of uncertainty, changing advice from the CDC, PPE confusion and growing case numbers, our residents were role models of professionalism and dedication to our vulnerable patients. Some volunteered to work extra shifts in the ICU, not because the census required it, but because they wanted to support their peers. Others brought supplies and meals to each other, baking trays of lasagna, and others brought in ‘pet therapy’ to encourage wellness. Although our didactics went to Zoom and we maintained social distancing, to stay connected we started townhall meetings that focused on transparent communication, soliciting front-line challenges and answering questions in real time. Currently our COVID patients are cared for in the ICU, and on a dedicated COVID unit by a combination of teaching and non-teaching services. We have a solid system in place to ensure every health care worker has the right training and the right PPE to care for COVID patients.
PGY3, Alister Tang with his dog at a pet-therapy wellness event
I am proud to be employed by a county that has provided tremendous support to individuals and communities hardest hit by COVID-19. Our county was one of the earliest in the country to issue a shelter-in-place order, a move that was essential in limiting deaths. A number of Valley physicians serve directly in the Emergency Operations Center, helping to oversee how care is provided across the entire county, from Palo Alto to Gilroy. Homeless individuals and those with unstable housing have the opportunity to stay in hotels free of cost. Food delivery is available for patients experiencing food insecurity. Mobile testing units target our most vulnerable populations including our communities of color, especially Latinx, immigrants, migrant farm workers and others. When protests started after the killing of George Floyd, expanded COVID testing was offered to ensure protestors could stay as safe as possible. Feel free to visit our public health department’s webpage, which offers detailed COVID-19 updates and dashboards, for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Santa Clara County.
Homemade poster outside our COVID-19 unit celebrating our heroes
Our program’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and racial health equity
The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have triggered an overdue and sustained national focus on addressing systemic racism. In June, Santa Clara County’s board of supervisors declared racism a public health crisis and is taking significant steps forward to address the racial injustices in our County. Since 2015, eliminating health disparities has been a strategic priority for our Public Health Department, leading to their partnering with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE). At Valley Medical Center a grass roots organization of medical staff and residents is working directly with hospital leadership to develop a deeper dialogue around systemic racism and a commitment to furthering racial and health equity, and steps are being taken to create an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Our Internal Medicine residency continues to expand curriculum and clinical experience aimed at ensuring every resident acquires the skills, knowledge and behaviors necessary to care for our diverse patient population, including people of color, immigrants, people with housing and food insecurity, LGBTQIA, and other vulnerable or marginalized patients. Our residency also has an explicit goal to recruit and retain more physicians who are underrepresented in Medicine (UIM) and we continue to promote dialogue that creates a culture of inclusion and equity. We will be hosting Diversity Zoom meetings throughout the interview season and will soon have a list of residents or faculty you can reach out to with questions.
Due to the increased stress and uncertainty of this interview season, I encourage you to reach out directly to me with questions at David.Jacobson@hhs.sccgov.org