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Department Website: med.unc.edu/fammed

Faculty Member Contacts

Dawn Morriston
Associate Director for Educational Programs
dawn_morriston@med.unc.edu
Note: Ms. Morriston will connect you to a Career Goal Advisor based on your interests

FAQs / Additional Info

How do students get assigned a career goal advisor?
Students meet with Dawn Morriston, Director of Student Advising, for an initial discussion of career trajectory and together they decide on a faculty advisor that can meet their needs.

What should my Individualization Phase look like?
Use Individualization phase to either improve upon an area you feel you need more training in to prepare for residency or to pursue an area of passion. Do an Acting Internship in Family Medicine and consider some ERMD and MEDI electives, too! They will prepare you for Family Medicine.

Do all my rotations need to be in FAMILY MEDICINE?
No! Family Medicine is so versatile and has such a broad scope, that rotations in pediatrics, global health, emergency medicine, and medicine will also prepare you for Family Medicine residency.

Should I do an away rotation?  What in?
If you have your heart set on a particular very competitive residency, doing an away rotation there makes a lot of sense. Away rotations don’t need to be AIs only, any away rotation can help you get perspective on that program or location.

Do I need a rotation at UNC if I spent my time in Charlotte/Asheville/Wilmington?
Yes, especially if you are interested in applying to UNC residency.

When do I need to meet with my career goal advisor?  How do I prepare?
Plan on at least FOUR meetings with your career advisor: (1) in April to review fourth year electives and materials you prepare for your Dean’s letter; (2) in July/August to discuss residency programs, personal statements, and letters of recommendation; (3) in September to finalize residency program selection; (4) in December/January to review ranking of programs for your Match list.

How many letters of recommendation do I need?  From whom should I get them?
Two total letters and only one needs to be from a Family Physician. Ask for letters from attendings on your rotations with whom you have a meaningful connection and/or impactful case. There is no benefit in getting extra letters unless there is something very specific you need from each letter writer. For example, one from a Family Physician, one from a palliative care rotation (because you have a strong interest in palliative care) and one from your PhD advisor. Choose letter writers who will write the strongest letters possible.

When do I ask for my letters?  What do they need?
Ask for letters during the rotation or at the end of a rotation. Do not wait until ERAS deadline approaches and time is limited. Faculty will need time to craft a letter. You can provide them with some breadcrumbs for a letter such as examples of interactions you have had over your rotation and moments you exhibited characteristics worthy of a LOR. It is important to make sure that your letter writer knows what specialty you are choosing, and addresses that in the letter.

How do I determine the best programs I should apply to?
Use the searchable database at AAFP.org and talk to recent graduates. Dawn Morriston can also provide a list of programs in the US where UNC alumni went for residency.

I just got this great piece of news…do I need to notify programs
Yes! We want to know anything that is not in your application that may help you. Induction to AOA, a certain scholarship or recognition, national publications, etc. Email any updates to the residency director and residency coordinator. Feel free to include anyone else that you connected with during your interview.

My LORs aren’t in, and ERAS just opened!
Request letters early!!! Follow up with your letter writers. Materials uploaded to ERAS won’t be visible to residency programs until Sept. 15, so you still have time for them to be added. As long as someone has at least 2, I will review their application. Anything less gets put on hold, and I may or may not get around to checking back to their application.

I am waitlisted for an interview at X and I’d really like to see that program.  What do I do?
It is always worth trying to set up a one on one meeting with a resident in that program who may be able to gauge your interest and whether your missions and goals align.

I didn’t get an interview at X program.  Should I send them a “letter of intent”?
It’s always worth an email, just don’t be pushy. The coordinator will let you know whether or not you are still being considered. It is important to recognize that programs receive hundreds, if not more than a thousand applications and the process takes time.

Should I send thank you letters to programs?
Yes, handwritten notes are best but an email to each of the interviewers or the contact person who organized the logistics of the interview to distribute will suffice.

Should I send a letter to the program I am planning to rank #1?
It’s not recommended to specify what number you are ranking a program, but you can reiterate what you liked about their program and why you would fit there in your thank you note or a separate letter.

How do I respond if a program reaches out to me after my interview?
This is rare, but feel open to ask/answer questions of a people who reach out to them.