Categorical Pathway


Length of training: 3 years

Setting: University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland Veteran Affairs Medical Center

Description and defining characteristics: The Categorical pathway is designed to provide broad training in both inpatient and outpatient general medicine as well as across all medicine subspecialties. Our program prides itself in outstanding clinical training through developing hands-on skills, critical thinking, and autonomy among residents. The pathway's formalized curriculum promotes continuous learning, inquiry, debate, and critical appraisal of literature. By rotating at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, our residents take care of a diverse patient population across unique clinical settings, contributing to a richer clinical experience. Our residents thrive in an atmosphere that provides a balance between supervision and autonomy. As the years progress, our residents are given more responsibility to deliver and lead health care in a supportive collegial environment.

Our trainees are challenged to reach their full potential through mentored research in the area of their interest. They are given ample opportunities to be involved in clinical, translational, or bench research. The pathway's flexibility allows residents use elective time to tailor their training to further their long-term career objectives. As a result of this unique training approach, our residents become excellent clinicians, inspiring leaders, and caring humanitarians. After successfully graduating from the Categorical pathway, residents are more than prepared to start practice as primary care physicians or hospitalists, or further their training in the subspecialty fellowship of their choice.

Schedule: For a full three-year sample schedule please review Question 11 in our FAQ section.

More details about this pathway are covered in the FAQ section.

Categorical pathway experience by Nate Summers, MD

How did you originally become interested in the pathway?
I became interested in the Categorical pathway initially because I wanted a traditional internal medicine residency format. I was unsure going into residency exactly which specialty I would choose, and whether or not this would lead me toward a career that was primarily inpatient or outpatient. For these reasons, I chose to apply to the Categorical pathway to get a more traditional residency experience.

Why did you think you would be a good fit for it?
I felt I would be a good fit because I enjoy the variety that the Categorical pathway brings during training. Transitioning between different inpatient subspecialty services, electives, and ambulatory blocks keeps things fresh and exciting.

What is the single most gratifying thing about training in the pathway?
The most gratifying thing about training in Categorical medicine is far and away the people I work with. Getting the chance to work beside such phenomenal colleagues makes getting up each morning easy.

How has your experience been up until now?
I have absolutely loved my time here. Rotating between ICU, wards, consult services, and ambulatory blocks has forced me to learn how to quickly adapt to new working environments, which I am confident will serve me well in the future. I have been able to use my elective time and the occasional slower times while on wards to work on my research project, and I plan to apply to fellowships in infectious disease at the end of my residency.

Can you give an example of the most inspiring thing you witnessed during your training?
The most inspiring event I have witnessed thus far has been the way a patient with surreptitious insulin use was handled. The way the psychiatry department, ED, and our medical team worked together to provide safe and supportive care to a patient in need was remarkable. I was impressed daily by the amount of time and empathy provided to this patient, and there was a noticeable change in this patient's demeanor by discharge.

Why would you recommend joining the Categorical pathway? What sets it apart?
I would recommend applying to the Categorical pathway to anyone who is unsure of what their future specialty may be. It provides a well-rounded foundation in internal medicine that will prepare a resident for whichever career path one may choose.