UNC residents are afforded the unique opportunity of having a special elective month annually during their PGY2, PGY3, and PGY4 years, which is affectionately called “special month.” During this dedicated time, residents may participate in a scholarly activity of their choosing with the intention of advancing their individual career goals. Residents often use this month to pursue clinical, basic science, or quality improvement research, which is then usually presented at Resident Research Day in the spring of each academic year. Many residents will also go on to present their research at statewide and national conferences as well as publish their works in medical journals.
Alternatively, residents may also choose to pursue any other activity that aligns with their long-term goals. Some who are interested in medical education utilize special month to develop their clinician-educator skills. For those residents with a background rooted in the humanities, special month offers them the chance to explore the intersection of humanities and medicine and apply their discoveries to their clinical practice. The Department of Medicine offers a robust global health experience, and many residents take advantage of this during their special month through international rotations. Finally, residents with undifferentiated subspecialty interest may use this time for additional clinical exposure as they determine their career ambitions. Regardless of how residents choose to spend their special month, its fundamental purpose and net effect is promoting career advancement.