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Internal Medicine Oakland - FAQ

Will you be requiring applicants to complete the Supplemental ERAS application?

The Supplemental ERAS application should be fully integrated into the regular ERAS application by 2023-24 (and thus cease to exist). In the event there are remaining items considered ‘Supplemental’ by ERAS, our program does not mandate that applicants complete these additional elements, your application will still be given full consideration.

Why are our residents happy?

You will thrive in the friendly and supportive atmosphere here at Kaiser Oakland. Your ideas will be respected, encouraged, and incorporated into the program structure. You will practice in state-of-the-art hospital and clinic buildings within a high-functioning system—and you can be proud at the end of the day about the care you provide your patients.

Our schedule is flexible so you can take full advantage of Bay Area living. You are the best physician when you are the most balanced physician. Work-life balance is supported in a variety of ways:

  • Comprehensive residency Wellness program, led by a dedicated Assistant Program Director
  • Ward medicine rotations include one weekend day off EACH WEEK
  • Twice per year, residents may schedule a Wellness Day to attend to personal needs (dentist, doctor visits, optometry, etc)
  • Stipends earmarked specifically for local fitness center memberships, to the tune of $720 annually!
  • Annual retreats for each class
  • Wellness lunches & Wellness Curriculum including resiliency sessions
  • Confidential mental health support
  • Access to numerous confidential free professional resources to support your mental health, within and outside of Kaiser

How frequently are residents on call? Is there a night float system?

We eliminated overnight “call” over 10 years ago to allow residents to maximize their daytime education goals and ensure the highest level of quality patient care while providing a schedule with time to enjoy life outside of work.

The night float intern/resident team provides cross-coverage and admits patients from 7 pm to 7 am each day.  The maximum number of consecutive nights residents work at night is 6, and PGY-3 residents do only a handful of night shifts all year.

What are the strengths of our program?

Current residents had this to say when asked what they enjoyed most about training at Kaiser Oakland:

  • “great patient mix, cool cases, I feel like I’m part of a community in the hospital”
  • “the camaraderie with my colleagues, outstanding teaching, my clinic patients, the sense of family in the hospital with RNs, staff, etc”
  • “the people- my co-interns absolutely rock! Awesome program directors and staff and enthusiastic and approachable attendings”
  • “outstanding academic teaching”
  • “great patient database for research and residents are given time and support for research”
  • “excellent evidence-based teaching in ambulatory care and the specialties”
  • “diverse patient population with exposure to a wide spectrum of pathology”
  • “program leadership is responsive to resident feedback on how to improve the program”
  • “program’s commitment to providing a best possible educational experience for the residents”
  • “great program staff/faculty – especially the program director”
  • “promotes autonomy but also provides many resources for professional growth”

What patient population do we care for?

Oakland is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in America with more than 125 languages and dialects are spoken. African Americans comprise approximately 30% of our patients, and Hispanics another 20%. In addition to their time at Kaiser Oakland, our residents care for patients at a large county hospital (UCSF’s San Francisco General Hospital – on endocrinology rotation and other electives), the Lifelong Clinics of Oakland, the Malta Free Clinic of Oakland, and other Bay Area community sites such as San Quentin prison, La Clinica de La Raza, Center for Elder Independence, the Native American Health Center, and BOSS (Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency). Former graduates now practice at several of these community sites. Social justice is our program’s mission, and we aim to eliminate disparities in health outcomes by providing the same high-level care to all individuals.

Our commitment to our diverse community includes pipeline mentoring efforts with local elementary and high schools led by Dr. Nailah Thompson, the Integrated Health Care rotation for rising second-year medical students from backgrounds traditionally under-represented in medicine from across the country, and the Medical Student Diversity Scholarship program created to support medical students who share our mission to create a more diverse physician workforce for our patients.

I speak additional language(s). Are there opportunities for me to use my language skills in caring for patients?

Yes! Oakland Kaiser reflects the cultural and linguistic diversity of the city of Oakland. We have many Spanish and Chinese-speaking patients as well as over 100 other languages spoken in Oakland. Kaiser Oakland is committed to a workforce that reflects the patients we care for and Kaiser was been named #2 by DiversityInc in 2017 for its commitment to a diverse workforce.

You can care for patients in our African American hypertension clinic, Salud En Español, and Asian Health Clinics. Our electronic medical record allows us to identify individuals who have additional language skills for your clinic.

In addition, you can do electives at La Clinica de la Raza and Alameda County’s Asian Health as well as many volunteer opportunities in our community (health screening at the Oakland Zoo, San Quentin, etc!).

Will Kaiser Oakland prepare residents for fellowship success?

Absolutely! You can see from our list (see Alumni page) that our residents have enjoyed outstanding fellowship match success.

Mentoring begins as soon as the first day of orientation. All residents are assigned an Assistant Program Director mentor to help them navigate the fellowship path.  Once their career specialty is identified, program faculty will introduce the resident to a mentor in their subspecialty area of interest.

We created 3-year research program to prepare residents for fellowship success. In the first year, residents are invited to join an IRB-approved research project as a co-investigator and then present the results of this project at a regional conference in the intern year, such as the Northern California ACP conference. Later in the intern year, residents begin selecting novel projects in their subspecialty with the aim of presenting this work at a national subspecialty conference and submitting original manuscripts to a peer-reviewed journal in the second and third years.

In addition to the traditional research opportunities, residents seeking fellowship will complete their residency-required QI project in their field of interest, present this work at Grand Rounds, and submit this work to a peer-reviewed meeting. Residents will also participate in subspecialty committees, a great way to network with faculty and to identify active research and QI projects in the resident’s field of interest.

On my electives, can I do off-campus or international rotations?

Yes! Our electives allow for incredible flexibility. Off-campus electives can be taken at UCSF, Stanford, or any number of other accredited programs. For example, residents pursuing fellowship will often complete an away rotation at the sight of interest. See our Curriculum & Rotation section for additional details.

Through the KP Global Health Program, there is funding for residents to rotate in a variety of international programs. We have had residents rotate at sites in Belize, Nicaragua, Israel, Taiwan, Columbia, Kenya, and South Korea. Read our Global Health blog here.

Kaiser Oakland IM/ MPH graduate Dr. Somalee Banerjee mentors residents aspiring to Global Health careers. She works clinically at Kaiser Oakland as a Ward Hospitalist attending and is also a Senior Research Fellow studying health systems internationally.

What are the KORE Pathways?

The Kaiser Oakland REsident Pathways allow residents to choose an area for more in-depth of focus during their training, with a goal of preparing residents optimally to enter the next phase of their career.  The KORE pathways include:

  • Research/Fellowship Pathway
  • Primary Care Pathway/QI Pathway
  • Hospital Medicine/QI Pathway
  • Medical Education Pathway
  • Community/Global Medicine Pathway

Learn more about KORE Pathways.

How many interns and residents are in our program?

We have 13 categorical residents in each year (39 categoricals) plus 6-7 preliminary interns. Of the 13 categorical residents each year, 9 are in the traditional categorical track, 2 are in the Internal Medicine/MPH track and 2 are in the Primary Care Health Equities and Disparities Track.

Do we have a University affiliation?

Yes, we are affiliated with UC San Francisco School of Medicine and with Drexel University. Many of our faculty hold UCSF clinical teaching faculty positions and residents rotate at San Francisco General Hospital during part of Endocrinology rotation and during other electives. We have UCSF medical students who complete their entire integrated 3rd-year of clerkships at our campus as part of the KLIC (Kaiser Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship) Program and we are the only non-UCSF site where UCSF students can complete their required IM sub-internship. You may also work with 3rd-year students from the UCSF/UCB Joint Medical Program onwards.  In addition, we host over 200 medical students from across the country at our campus every year, including ~60 sub-interns on inpatient medicine sub-internship rotations.


How much vacation do I get? Will I get days off?

All residents receive three weeks of paid vacation per year as an intern and 4 weeks as a PGY2 and PGY3. In addition, residents have ‘reading weeks’ distributed over the 3 years during which they are on call to cover sick call but otherwise are freed from most responsibilities. During inpatient rotations, all residents are off one day out of seven when averaged over 4 weeks. On the wards, all residents have one weekend day off each week. On most electives and specialty rotations, residents have the weekend off. Interns have approximately 13-14 ‘golden weekends’, and this number increases with subsequent years of training.

What are the team caps and how many patients do interns care for?

The ward team cap is a total of 14 patients. Each intern cares of a maximum of 7 patients.

Does the program offer a board review course?

Yes. Dr. Baudendistel is co-editor of the popular First Aid for the Internal Medicine Boards review book. Residents benefit from his fast-paced condensed board review lectures. In addition, senior residents receive stipends to attend a national Board Prep course, choosing from many sites across the U.S. Our program for many years has far exceeded national averages for board success.

How will I be mentored?

Mentoring begins the day you walk in the door. We pride ourselves on the individualized mentoring we provide our residents. All residents are assigned an Assistant Program Director Coach-Advisor who will meet with you informally throughout the year and who will conduct one-on-one meetings to review your performance, set goals, and help you optimize your remaining time in residency to develop your career interests and prepare you for life after residency. Your Coach-Advisor will also assist you in identifying a career-specific mentor such as a subspecialist in the field you are planning to pursue after residency.

Internal Medicine is a unique field with so many potential career paths and it is our program philosophy to match every individual to the career path best suited for them. The small-ish size and the intimate relationships between our faculty and residents allow us to form very close mentoring partnerships between. The flexibility of the schedule further enhances residents’ abilities to carve out their unique pathway.

In addition to the mentoring program, we support residents through dedicated curricula in research, QI, and Health Policy, and we provide funding for research, conference travel, and global health rotations. We also are proud of our Women in Medicine gatherings led by faculty and residents, ranging from career advice sessions to informal book clubs and wine tastings to formal research presentations through the American Medical Women’s Association.

And if your passions lie in something more unique, we got you covered! Kaiser Oakland residents have completed rotations in Medical Journalism at ABC News in New York, Medical publishing (working alongside the editorial Board of a major medical journal), Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, Lifestyle Medicine, Health Administration and Strategy Development, Design & Innovation, mobile health, and the list goes on. We are committed to getting to know you as individuals and supporting your passions so you can step into the career of your choice after graduation.

Is there a difference between the categorical and preliminary intern programs?

Preliminary interns have more elective time than categorical interns due to subspecialty rotation requirements for the categoricals. In exchange for having approximately twice as much elective time, preliminary interns average a few more weeks of inpatient rotations (wards, ICU, and night float) as compared to categoricals. Like categoricals, preliminary interns will have a dedicated mentor to guide them through the intern year. Categoricals follow an outpatient panel of patients for whom they provide longitudinal primary care, whereas preliminary year interns’ outpatient experiences include urgent care medicine and a variety of ambulatory specialty experience to pursue during elective time.

Preliminary interns can take on research projects, with the caveat that it takes a proactive and motivated person to accomplish meaningful research in the intern year. Dr. Lo has mentored several preliminary interns on projects over the years, and Dr. Baudendistel continues to mentor preliminary interns on medical education and other innovation projects, always with a focus on what is feasible and of interest to the intern.

What core subspecialty on-campus rotations are available?

All categorical residents complete the following rotations over their three years of residency:

  • Cardiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Infectious diseases
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatrics & Palliative medicine
  • Hematology/Oncology
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Pulmonary
  • Rheumatology

Elective blocks are in addition to the subspecialty rotations and include (but are not limited to):

  • Addiction Medicine
  • Anesthesiology
  • Allergy and Immunology
  • Business Strategy Development and Healthcare Administration
  • Chronic Conditions Management
  • Advanced Hospitalist Elective
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Design & Innovation
  • Health Policy Elective
  • International Elective
  • Lifestyle Medicine
  • Master Clinician Educator Elective
  • Medical Genetics
  • Medical Informatics
  • Office Gynecology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Pathology
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Podiatry
  • Primary Care Elective
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology including Interventional Radiology
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Research
  • Social Medicine
  • Urology

What formal teaching and leadership training is available at Oakland Kaiser?

Interns go through training to prepare them for leading a team. Our intern year communication course includes training on public speaking (led by folks who train Google executives!) In addition, early in the R2 year, there is a formal training course on “Teaching the Teachers” effective skills needed for the resident-teacher.   For residents who seek additional formal training in medical education, Dr. Baudendistel leads a Master Clinician Educator Elective and residents can pursue the UCSF Clinical Teaching Certification.

Also, the Kaiser Oakland residents and Program Director created the Kaiser Oakland Passport, a collection of 10-15-minute teaching scripts for residents to use to deliver mini-talks to their teams on a variety of common clinical topics. This home-grown book is now almost 200 pages long and full of great Teaching Scripts and Schema—ask us to show you a copy on your interview day!

Residents seeking additional formal training in teaching opt to pursue the Distinction in Medical Education KORE Pathway.

How has the program done on the recent ACGME Residency Survey?

Thanks to our excellent educational program, high resident satisfaction, committed faculty, and our superb administrative support we are in the top 5% of programs in the nation in terms of ACGME accreditation. We are compliant with the duty hours for our residents, including no overnight call; we provide one day off each week on wards; we adhere to best practices regarding resident wellness, patient safety, and QI; have a curriculum in sign-outs/ transitions of care, and have policies for fatigue mitigation.

What electronic services are available?

You will practice using our fully integrated Epic-based outpatient and inpatient electronic medical record called “Healthconnect” which includes all notes from encounters in the office, hospital, ED, and other chronic care facilities, including notes and data from outside hospitals.  Our EMR includes the entire laboratory and radiologic images as well as the pharmacy records.  Computers are located throughout the floors and in each patient’s room as well as in the resident lounge, and you will be provided a secure smartphone (i-phone) with fingertip access to the Healthconnect EMR including free UptoDate access. You will also be provided with a laptop PC to allow you to work from home or remotely. With these resources, you can open images of all radiologic studies, ECGs, PFTs, and even digital photos of patients with just a click of the mouse—great for patient care and teaching. Your patients can email you through secure messaging, allowing a great way to stay in touch with your clinic patients, and you will practice state-of-the-art office medicine including video visits and telemedicine. You will also receive free access to the complete collection of MKSAP board review materials. All residents benefit from a case-based electronic curriculum in the continuity clinic (Yale Curriculum) and wards (Professor EBM).

How do I apply to Oakland Kaiser? How can I contact the Program Director or Chief Residents?

Contact us by e-mail ( or by phone (510) 752-6126 with any questions. See How to Apply for more information.

What impact has COVID had on your residents’ experiences?

As the pandemic has unfolded, our guiding philosophy as a residency leadership team in approaching the pandemic has been to prioritize resident safety and resident education.

As the pandemic unfolded, our guiding philosophy as a residency leadership team has been to prioritize resident safety and resident education.

Regarding safety, we have ample PPE for our residents, and all residents are educated in best practices regarding donning/ doffing PPE as well as on ways to protect themselves and their families outside of work. We have ample supplies of masks (including N-95 and PAPR when indicated), gowns, face shields, and hand hygiene readily available. At our peak census in January 2021, we were able to quickly pivot to virtual learning methods to minimize crowding in conference rooms.  Even at the peak, we had terrific support from the hospital allowing all inpatients with COVID to be cohorted onto 1-3 COVID teams which are non-teaching teams managed by Hospitalist physicians without residents. On occasion, residents will care for patients with COVID on their ward and ICU rotations.

In terms of learning, our technology allowed us to rapidly augment our educational conferences to include digital/ virtual learning when necessary, so residents have been able to join the conferences from anywhere– any location in the medical center, home, or other places. Clinically, we saw a rapid shift in the ambulatory clinic from in-person visits to an increased proportion of telephone and video visits. Our technology came through again here, as we had already been using video visit capability prior to COVID and so residents have continued to be able to manage outpatients via in-person, telephone, or video visits.

Lastly, we recognize the stress that residents and all of us may feel during the pandemic and we have made sure that our residents have had access to the full spectrum of wellness and well-being support and resources every step of the way.

What are examples of careers pursued by graduates of the Interdisciplinary MPH program?

Recent graduates of the IM/MPH residency program have pursued varied careers.  There are graduates with academic university appointments in General Medicine: at UCSF-Fresno, Dr. Stutee Khandelwal (Internal Medicine) leads an innovative program that teaches trainees how to help patients make positive lifestyle changes [Newsletter link], and at Stanford, Dr. Sowmya Srinivasan (Geriatrics) is the Associate Director for Clinical Programs at the Palo Alto VA Geriatric Research Education & Clinical Center. Others have applied epidemiology research skills learned during the MPH to their fellowship pursuits, such as Dr. Lucy Liu (UCSF rheumatology), Dr. Carter English (UC Davis Cardiology), and Dr. Nathan Juergens (UCSF Hospital Medicine).  This program also trains future leaders in community and public health: Dr. Esme Cullen, our 2020 graduate, is Associate Site Medical Director at Marin Community Clinics where her work focuses on health policy, transitions of care, provider and patient communication, and social determinants of health.

The Interdisciplinary degree program at UC Berkeley has been in existence for several decades. Other graduates of this program include advisors to the CDC, a former Medical Director of Housing and Urban Health with the San Francisco Dept of Public Health, a Special Advisor to the UD Interagency Council on homelessness, Policy analyst for Emergency Preparedness, and a former Program Director at the National Cancer Institute.


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