A Match Week Welcome

Match Class of 2020

Sighs of relief were heard around the nation on Match Day last week as medical students learned where they will be training in their chosen specialty. The Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program welcomes 14 interns as their Match Class of 2020, a class that has the department buzzing because of their broad diversity.

“This is a fantastic class of applicants who have matched with us and we’re thrilled to welcome them to Duke,” says residency program director, Dr. Annemarie Thompson. “Once again, we’ve gotten people with diverse interests and diverse backgrounds who should work well together as a team.”

“It’s a very exciting time to see all of the amazing people we matched. The wide range of ages and experiences that they bring to the table are really impressive. I think it’s one of the strongest classes we’ve had and I’m really excited to meet everybody,” adds Dr. Christopher Wahal, rising co-chief resident.

Some of the exceptional qualities of the Match Class of 2020 include a lawyer, a former anesthesiologist from Europe, an Olympic weightlifting competitor and four members of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. This class is also fluent in many languages and one Match has 12 first author publications. “It’s exciting that a lot of these residents have had other careers and other life experiences. I think that will really enrich our learning environment and the culture here,” says co-chief resident, Dr. Eun Eoh.

According to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), this is the largest Main Residency Match on record in which more than 42,000 applicants vied for over 30,000 positions resulting in a 75 percent match rate for first-year positions!

2016 MRM infographic

As national Match numbers continue to grow each year, it takes a dedicated team to recruit the best and the brightest among the large number of applicants. This year’s interview season at Duke Anesthesiology included 86 faculty and more than 50 residents. “These numbers give you an idea of the investment this department makes in the future of our anesthesiology residents,” says Dr. Thompson. “The department is really invested in us and it shows with how well we do in our recruitment and in our Match list,” adds Dr. Eoh. Among the department’s 86 faculty members involved with the Match process, Dr. Abbie Melnick received this year’s Golden Screen Award for screening the most Matched applicants (4 of 14).

Now that the celebrations are over, the real work begins as the Match Class of 2020 prepares to officially begin their Duke Anesthesiology residency in June. Before they arrive, their leaders leave with them these words of wisdom. “I would tell them congratulations on your Match. It’s nice to celebrate and we’re happy to see you here but you’re about to receive a flood of paperwork to complete in preparation for your arrival to Duke,” says Dr. Thompson. Dr. Wahal adds, “Intern year is tough but you’ll get through it. You can do anything for a year. You come in as a wide-eyed medical student, not sure what to expect, but by the time the year is over, you have gained so many skills and so much confidence that it’s really a fun year.”

Chief Resident, Dr. Eun Eoh and Rising Chief Resident, Dr. Christopher Wahal

Chief Resident, Dr. Eun Eoh and Rising Chief Resident, Dr. Christopher Wahal

And, as we say goodbye to our co-chief residents, Dr. Eoh and Dr. Stephen Gregory, and wish them the best in their cardiothoracic anesthesia fellowships, we say hello to the two rising chief residents, Dr. Wahal and Dr. Jenna Falcinelli. “I’m really excited to help try and fill the shoes of the two chief residents who came before me,” says Dr. Wahal. “They did a great job and I’d like to continue to form a strong bond between the faculty and residents, and to continue to make Duke the amazing anesthesiology program that it is.”

To view the 2016 NRMP press release, visit http://www.nrmp.org/press-release-results-of-2016-nrmp-main-residency-match-largest-on-record-as-match-continues-to-grow/. Take a look back at the Match celebrations at #Match2016 and #MatchThrowback!

Chris KeithA Match Week Welcome
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Match Week: A Nerve-Wracking Affair

Match Week 2016

It’s Match Week across the nation – a time when thousands of fourth-year medical students eagerly await the news of which residency program they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives, training in their chosen specialty.

Duke Anesthesiology’s residency program director, Dr. Annemarie Thompson says, “It’s one of the strangest experiences for students who have invested so much and worked so hard. Their fate is in an envelope, in someone else’s hands, and won’t be released until a certain moment by their medical school. I don’t think there’s anything like it. You never forget what that feeling is like the moment you find out your Match.”

This week is monumental for not only medical students but also residency programs. On the first day of Match Week, institutions find out whether they have filled their residency positions and applicants find out whether they have matched in the initial round, providing a big sigh of relief for many students. Then “the scramble” begins, the period of Match Week when applicants who did not initially match can apply for open residency positions across the country (available through the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP)).

While many institutions’ anesthesia departments may offer around 25 residency positions each year, Duke Anesthesiology is offering 14 residency positions this year, all of which have been matched after interviewing about 1,000 applicants, according to Dr. Thompson. Compared to other top programs, Dr. Thompson says Duke Anesthesiology is probably the smallest of residency programs which uniquely has more medical cases than residents; an advantage in Duke’s recruiting process, according to Dr. Thompson, because applicants see that Duke’s faculty are heavily invested and they want to get to know the residents, mentor them and advise them.

“Anesthesiology is one of those specialties that require a lot of trust, and our attendings really make the effort to get to know us and do a great job of tailoring their teaching to different skill levels,” says Duke Anesthesiology co-chief resident, Dr. Eun Eoh. “There is a lot of collegiality among the residents and the faculty invest a lot of time in helping us grow. They really support us as residents.”

Many residency applicants will interview with up to 20 institutions. So, who is a perfect Match for the Duke Anesthesiology residency program? Dr. Thompson says she looks for a breadth of experience and diversity while selecting applicants. Her goal is to create a team of 14 physicians who can spend the next four years working closely with each other, bringing different strengths to the team and the specialty of anesthesiology. During the interview season, she says it’s important that she doesn’t think of them as residents coming to Duke for training; she thinks of them as potentially future colleagues, if not on Duke’s faculty, then elsewhere.

When describing what the Match process feels like for medical students, Dr. Thompson says it’s similar to a pregnancy. “You’re excited, looking forward to the future, but you do it with a little bit of nervousness because there is a bit of uncertainty. There are few times in our lives where there are no guarantees and we can’t completely control the outcome. You do everything you can and then you wait.”

And the wait will be over this Friday on Match Day as medical schools across the country hold ceremonies and hand out Match envelopes. It’s one of the biggest moments of a medical student’s life; a moment that Dr. Thompson still remembers like it was yesterday. “They called my name, handed me the envelope, and I remember I could see my Match through the envelope as I was walking. I matched my first choice and I was really excited. It’s those little details that stick with you. Those memories are so crisp, even years later.”

Duke Anesthesiology’s co-chief resident, Dr. Stephen Gregory, remembers his long walk to the podium to receive his envelope and the long walk back to his seat where his wife and family were waiting for the big reveal. Dr. Gregory opened the envelope to find he matched with his first choice, Duke Anesthesiology. “It was the most exciting day of medical school. It was really nerve-wracking but I remember it pretty fondly. It literally shaped the direction of my career.”

Dr. Eoh also matched with her first choice at Duke Anesthesiology; she remembers opening the envelope, celebrating with her mom, and then running outside to call her dad in Korea to share the good news. “He was probably not awake at that time but he picked up the phone and it was a great moment. It’s a special day for everybody.”

There is currently a 93 percent match rate in the United States for M.D. students. Last year marked the largest Main Residency Match in the history of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) with 41,334 total registrants and more than 30,000 positions offered. The number of matched seniors reached an all-time high last year with 51 percent of them matching to their first choice. So, for the thousands of medical students across the nation about to experience this life-changing moment, Dr. Thompson has this advice, “As hard as it is to have a loss of control, try to take a deep breath, remember how much you’ve accomplished, how far you’ve come, and know you’ve done everything you can. The odds are overwhelmingly in your favor that things will turn out well.”

This year, the NRMP has partnered with the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges to create an online community forum to encourage interactions and photo sharing during Match Week festivities! Join the celebration by using #Match2016 on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram or Google+. And, tweet your Match Week photos using #MatchThrowback.

Chris KeithMatch Week: A Nerve-Wracking Affair
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Jason Hall, MD, Quoted in The Wall Street Journal

Jason Hall, MD, JD

Jason Hall, MD, JD

Dr. Jason Hall, current CA-2 Duke Anesthesiology resident, was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal regarding his involvement with The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC). Free and Charitable Clinics are safety-net health care organizations that utilize a volunteer/staff model to provide a range of medical, dental, pharmacy, vision and/or behavioral health services to economically disadvantaged individuals.

Before attending medical school, Dr. Hall initially decided to volunteer for NAFC after watching an MSNBC segment featuring  the non-profit. In an interview with commentator Keith Olbermann, the CEO of NAFC, Nicole Lamoureux, mentioned that the organization needed volunteers for their upcoming 2009 New Orleans clinic. “After I went to the first clinic, it was something that I realized I enjoyed doing,” said Dr. Hall. “It’s an opportunity to connect patients to care that they can afford. To me, it was an obvious opportunity to do good for patients.”

When first volunteering, Dr. Hall was assigned logistical and organizational roles, such as triage work for incoming patients. As his medical training advanced, he was assigned more medical responsibilities. “I’ve always been what they call a ‘Volunteer Captain’ after my first clinic,” noted Dr. Hall, referring to when he was put in charge of a pediatric pod at the Dallas clinic. “I’m always one of the question-and-answer people and make sure the clinic is moving and flowing.”

Since 2009, Dr. Hall has volunteered at four additional clinics over the years, including Charlotte, Madison, Kansas City, and Dallas. “Over the course of each clinic, there were definitely patients I encountered, where I came away from that day knowing I had an impact on someone,” he explained, when asked how these clinics have impacted him personally.

Dr. Hall will be returning to Dallas in April of this year and urges that anyone is welcome to join him. The Dallas clinic is looking for volunteers of all backgrounds, especially those who are multilingual. Click here for more information about The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics and to learn more about future volunteer opportunities.

Read the full Wall Street Journal article that Dr. Hall is quoted in, titled “Pop-Up Health Clinics Fill a Void in Care.”

Chris KeithJason Hall, MD, Quoted in The Wall Street Journal
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2016 DIG Winners Revealed

The 2016 DREAM Innovation Grant (DIG) winners were announced at Duke Anesthesiology’s 27th Annual ASA Alumni Event aboard the High Spirits yacht in San Diego on October 25. The DIG was launched in 2010 and supports innovative high-risk and potentially high-reward investigations to accelerate anesthesia and pain management research. Each year, Duke Anesthesiology faculty members compete for a DIG by submitting their most innovative research ideas to the DIG Application Review Committee. This year, the department received an exceptional number of seven DIG applications. Three winners are announced each year at the department’s annual ASA alumni event.

Congratulations to the 2016 DIG winners:

Anne Cherry, MD

“Interface of Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Inflammation in Heterotopic Mouse Heart Transplant”

Ulrike Hoffmann, MD, PhD

“Argon as a Potential Therapeutic in Stroke; Effects on Oxygen Utilization and Cerebral Blood Flow Response after Cortical Spreading Depression and Injury Depolarizations”

Niccolò Terrando, PhD

“The Systemic Milieu and its Role in Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction”

Each DIG winner can receive up to $30,000 in seed money for their pilot studies which ultimately helps them apply for and obtain extramural funding. These grants are funded through a combination of: private donors, private companies, alumni, faculty and executive board members. Funding supports a researcher for one year. To date, $452,900 in DIG donations have led to nearly $4 million in extramural funding.

Dr. Anne Cherry Receiving her DIG Award
Dr. Niccolò Terrando receiving his award.
Dr. Ulrike Hoffmann receiving her award.
Chris Keith2016 DIG Winners Revealed
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