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What is ‘ASC’ You Ask?

​ASC stands for Academic Subspecialist Careers, a program which is the brainchild of Anschutz residents and faculty in the Department of Medicine.  These regular monthly dinner meetings revolve around helping residents transition from residency to subspecialist careers.  One of the group’s leaders, Jeff Collins, MD, says “We really felt that there was no formal program to assist residents in moving toward a career in research.  There are no guides and the standard residency curriculum does not prepare you for this.”  He along with Joe Burke and Ray Foley  decided to talk to leaders in the Department of Medicine to share their concerns and to formulate a plan which would address this important area.

They reached out to Suzanne Brandenburg, MD, Vice Chair for Education and Residency Program Director, who felt informal gatherings with physician scientists could assist residents in career planning and complement the existing residency research pathway curriculum and mentorship program. She worked with them to formulate some ideas, add to an existing program that was less frequent and then spoke with David Schwartz, MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine.  From these discussions the ASC was born.

What are the goals of ASC? To gain exposure to a range of successful subspecialists in academic medicine, discuss how to achieve your career goals and conduct meaningful research both in residency and fellowship, to provide valuable information about the fellowship application process, and most importantly to understand the steps, transitions, and challenges faced by all of us as we develop careers as physician-scientists. Each month those interested in careers as physician-scientists meet for an informal program.  Held in the home of Dr. Schwartz and his wife Dr. Louise Sparks, the guests enjoy fantastic meals and presentations by successful faculty from different areas.  In this casual atmosphere, learning and sharing is encouraged.  Dr. Schwartz leads the discussions, invites selected faculty for specific input, and challenges the trainees to consider all career options and develop their own five-year plan.  The discussions and opportunities to network are in fact keys to the success of the ASC nights.   Dr. Brandenburg, who helps lead the program says, “These evening events give residents a sense of community, they are able to have personal interactions with leaders that they may not normally have access to during their work day. They can ask questions that will help them as they make career choices and plan for the future.”
What programs are offered?  Recent topics have included “What Competitive Fellowship Programs are Looking For In an Applicant," “ How to Insure You Get the Fellowship You Want," “How to Choose a Mentor," and “Early Steps in Career Development: Challenges and Achievement on the Road to Success.”  Featured guests have included Drs. Peter Buttrick, Hugo Rosen, Virginia Borges, Sarah Faubel, Eric Schmidt, Ingrid Binswanger, and Wells Messersmith.   These personal discussions and opportunities to ask and have questions answered have been very successful.  Dr. Collins says the meetings held recently have attracted 20-30 guests each time. “Mentorship, informal advice, and community represent critical elements of a training infrastructure that enhance opportunity and promote success”, offered Dr. Schwartz.
Dr. Collins feels the ASC program has many benefits both to the students and the future of academic medicine.
For more information contact Suzanne Brandenburg, MD.