By Dirk Hoffman
Published March 29, 2023
The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ orthopaedic surgery residency program scored in the 91st percentile for the 2022 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Orthopaedic In-Training Exam (OITE).
The OITE is a proctored exam administered each year to U.S. orthopaedic residency programs — and many international programs.
It is a comprehensive, multiple choice, computer-based examination designed to facilitate knowledge assessment in established principles and conventional procedures and treatment modalities in orthopaedic surgery.
“It’s meant to gauge your overall knowledge base, but essentially it’s preparatory for the American Board of Orthopaedics Surgery (ABOS) exam,” says Jeremy P. Doak, MD, clinical associate professor of orthopaedics and director of the orthopaedic surgery residency program.
“We have an excellent collaboration between our residents and our faculty. We critically review our didactic program each year and have a curriculum committee to design and update our schedule,” he adds. “OITE prep is built into the curriculum, but ultimately it comes down to an engaged faculty and hard-working residents.”
Fourth-year resident Alexander J. Macfarlane, MD, says the Jacobs School residency training is “intense for the first two years” and heavily weighted toward orthopaedic trauma — but still allows for plenty of time for other education, including an Orthopaedic Boot Camp during the first month of residency to get first-year trainees up to speed.
“The program is much more focused on developing good clinical decision making, time management and operative skill early on,” he says. “As you reach your later years, more time is made available for more academic pursuits, including board review and research.”
Macfarlane says the Jacobs School curriculum includes four to five hours every week of purposeful education geared toward the OITE and ABOS.
“Attendings are very particular during Indications Conference and grand rounds to keep the educational material within the boundaries of evidence-based medicine, though they often do give their expert opinion when appropriate or necessary,” he says. “Our attendings are focused on training residents to be competent surgeons, first and foremost.”
Doak says the excellent results on the OITE can be attributed to consistent effort.
“Like Buffalo itself, we consider our program to be blue collar,” he says. “Our residents are used to working hard and don’t shy away from working hard.”
But Doak says faculty instructors also try to cultivate inquisitive minds.
“We encourage our residents to look into the literature for new techniques and new information,” he says. “Our faculty is very willing to explore new techniques and procedures and implement them into their practice.
“I believe this leads the residents to read the literature more, which only helps them with their overall knowledge base and their performance on the OITE.”
In the end, Doak says it comes down to paying attention to the details and always looking for ways to improve.
“Importantly, we are always engaging the residents to be active participants in their educational process.”