Why Harbor-UCLA?

What makes residents choose Harbor-UCLA?

Aside from being placed in a high-acuity, high-volume brand-new Emergency Department (opened 4/2014) led by faculty who are leaders in Emergency Medicine, there are multiple other reasons to join our residency program. We have the nation's experts in multiple facets of Emergency Medicine spanning from ultrasound to EMS/disaster medicine to research and more. Here are why some of our residents chose Harbor-UCLA:

Becky Thilo (left) with fiancé Adam Tuttle

Becky Thilo  (Class of 2015):

Harbor's reputation preceded itself. I went to medical school at Baylor in Houston, and first heard about Harbor through word-of-mouth. My advisers and older colleagues praised the county program known for its high acuity, trauma, resident autonomy, and renowned clinical faculty.


When I first visited Harbor, I remember feeling like I was in a Third World country. After finding parking next to a sagging old army barracks, I navigated my way past the feral cats and through the entryway metal detectors. The emergency department was pulsing with activity. Gunshot wound victims rolled into the trauma bay; sick medical patients rolled out to the ICU. Someone with gallstone pancreatitis was waiting in the chair area, and another patient in alcohol withdrawal was getting re-dosed with benzos. In the waiting room, patients were setting up camp for hours to have their ascites drained or their swollen knee worked up. I felt my own pulse quicken. So many patients to see... so many people to help... and so much interesting pathology.


When I went to the interview social, I remember thinking how laid back and easy to relate to all of the residents seemed. They embraced southern California lifestyle- surfing, hiking, and going to shows- while keeping their nose to the grindstone at work. Some residents had families while others spent time outside of work coordinating social events and bonding opportunities for the residents. Everyone seemed really happy with the 8-10 hour shifts. They had maximum learning and patient care without sacrificing their quality of life.


That being said, people at Harbor are actually quite impressive and intimidating on paper. Attending faculty members lecture on the national circuit, edit major emergency medicine journals, and receive the top awards in fields such as pediatric emergency medicine, EMS, and education. Faculty and residents alike are editors and authors for premiere texts like Rosens, Roberts & Hedges, Crush Step 1/2/3, and the 2011 edition of First Aid for Step 1. Actually, by the time I opened my Match Day envelope, I was pretty sure I didn't have a shot at joining the Harbor team...


But, lucky me, I matched at my first choice residency. Ranking Harbor first is one of my top five best life decisions. I have grown so much and seen an unbelievable breadth of human disease at Harbor. I feel equipped to handle almost anything, and the things I haven't seen I can still tackle with the skill set I have developed at Harbor. The patients, my co-residents, and the faculty have exceeded my expectations. Built-in teaching at rounds (a protected hour at the beginning and end of every shift) is one of my favorite parts of Harbor. My co-residents have become my running buddies, my confidantes, my teachers, my cheerleaders, my role models, my therapists, and- above all- my lifelong friends. Harbor really does pick and keep around the very best people. I'm grateful to be a part of the Harbor family, and I can't think of a better residency experience.


Khadija Ismail, MD Class of 2020

I chose Harbor because of the people. I
rotated here as a sub-I and had an awesome
experience. Now that I am a resident here, I
could not be happier! All of my co-residents
are super smart and badass, but laid back at
the same time.


I LOVE my class ! We are such different people,
but we love to hang out and are always excited
to see each other. I know I can count on them
to always support me and have my back --
they cheer me on on the good days and they
cheer me up on the not so good days. They
constantly surprise and inspire me. I have
made friends for life.


Many of the faculty are leaders in the field of
EM. They are excellent teachers, very
approachable, and committed to the residency program and to our patients. They provide the perfect balance of autonomy and supervision.  They motivate me to become the best doctor I can be. There is always teaching during shifts, and the built in rounds at the beginning and end of every shift provides protected teaching time and is a unique part of our EM program.


The patient population is incredible! The patients are SICK and there is a diverse range of pathology. And of course, there is no lack of trauma. The patients are so grateful for your care, and it an honor to work with and treat them and to learn from them.


Harbor was my first choice for residency, and I am ecstatic that I am here! I look forward to the next few years to come!