Q: What attracted the current chief residents to the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program and how do they like living in Durham?

Angela Li, MD
Chief Resident 2017-2018
Joined the program in 2014

The Basics

Hometown: A somewhat complicated answer to a simple question…I moved around a good amount and have lived at least half-a-decade in each of the following places: Toronto, Canada; Bloomington, Indiana; St. Louis, Missouri; and New York City, New York.
Where did you attend college? Washington University in St. Louis
What did you do, or where did you go, next? I spent a year in Boston teaching high school students.
Where did you attend medical school? Weill Cornell Medical School
What are your career goals? I plan to pursue a career in cardiothoracic anesthesia.

Reflections on the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program

What were you looking for in a residency program? Although I knew prior to residency that I wanted to pursue a fellowship in cardiothoracic anesthesia, I wanted a program that not only excelled in cardiothoracic anesthesia but in all subspecialty fields of anesthesia so that I would receive the most comprehensive clinical training possible. I also wanted a smaller sized program with faculty truly dedicated to education and mentorship that was located in a livable city so that I could have a certain quality of life as a resident. Duke proved to have all of those things.

What are the strengths of the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program? The relatively small size of the program compared with the surgical caseload – this unique environment allows for an incomparable training environment which allows you to find your niche in anesthesia and fosters strong relationships with attendings and personalized mentorship.

What is a funny or memorable experience from your time at Duke?
While going through routine precautions and lab tests after a needle stick injury, I found out that the physician taking care of me was my fiancé who is a hospitalist at Duke.

About Duke University and Durham

What’s best about living in Durham (and the Triangle)?
Life is easy and quality of life as a resident is high. As with any big change, I was hesitant to leave friends and family in New York City for Durham, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made for my overall well-being and happiness. The food and drink scene is amazing and rarely do you have to wait or need to make a reservation. My fiancé and I own and live in a three-bedroom townhouse with our little zoo family (cat named Graham and dog named Kona). We routinely escape to the outdoors for a hike in the evenings, and the cost of living allows us to afford weekend getaways to nearby cities as well as adventures to Patagonia, Iceland, Banff National Park, and upcoming trip to New Zealand on our vacations.

Based on your life, what advice would you give about moving to Durham?
Moving away from friends and family is hard but a place like Durham is truly a gem. Remember that you are choosing a location not only for the residency program but also for your everyday life as a resident. Choose a location that is not only fun to visit but easy to live in and truly offers the potential for a work/life balance. I moved to Durham only knowing my fiancé (a Duke IM resident at the time) and no one else and initially had the mentality that it would just be the place I trained during residency. However, Durham has truly become our home and our colleagues have become our extended family. Now it is hard to imagine ever leaving.

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