Residency Program

Ranked Among Top Five 2021-22 Residency Programs by Reputation, Nationwide

Duke Anesthesiology boasts some of the finest faculty in the country, including worldwide-recognized leaders in anesthesiology practice and research. Our faculty are not only dedicated to recruiting the best and the brightest minds in medicine, they are extremely engaged with resident education and career development. They are a vital component of our nationally-acclaimed Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program which equips our residents with the skills to work with a variety of patient cases and change the world around them, as described by some of our department’s leaders and trainees in the program highlight video (above).

Interns rotate on a variety of services, including Acute Pain Service and Perioperative Medicine, and are able take advantage of the expertise of other Duke departments while developing fundamental clinical skills. CA-1 residents begin building their basic anesthesiology knowledge and start subspecialty training that develops through their CA-2 year. CA-3 residents are able to tailor their final year of training toward their career ambitions and have the opportunity to engage in research projects. In addition to intraoperative and bedside teaching, Duke Anesthesiology offers a strong didactic program for trainees. Each lecture series is organized by faculty leaders to ensure that content is up to date and provides residents the knowledge they need to become world-class anesthesiologists. Trainees have the opportunity to evaluate the lectures and provide feedback to presenters to help ensure the sessions are relevant to the needs of learners. Consequently, our residents are very confident in their ability to work independently in any setting once they graduate from the program.

The Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program’s notable rankings extend beyond our hospital walls and medical campus. The city of Durham is named “North Carolina’s Hippest City” and is ranked the #1 Greatest Basketball Town to Visit, the #1 Tastiest Town in the South, the #2 Best College Town, the #7 Best Place to Live in the United States and the #11 Most Educated Large City in America, among other accolades. Visit our “Why Durham?” webpage to learn more about why “The City of Medicine” is a great place to live and train!

Duke Anesthesiology Residents

How many positions do you offer?

In the current Match, we will be offering 15 positions13 categorical (four-year) positions and two research (five-year) positions (the five-year program is the Academic Career Enrichment Scholars (ACES) Program; more info can be found in the ACES section below). We do have an R spot available; please email Hannah Nicksic directly if you are interested in this physician-only position. We expect to fill all 15 positions through the Match. Applicants may specify any or all tracks when they apply through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Interview offers are not based upon applications to a specific track. After applicant interviews, we will determine track preferences. Applicants may declare or change their preferences up until the time that we submit our lists.

I am completing a residency currently and am interested in starting as a CA1 in July. Is this possible?

Please contact Hannah Nicksic, residency program coordinator, with your information.

How do I apply?

We accept applications only through ERAS. Our application requirements are the same as the standard ERAS application: the complete application, CV, personal statement, medical student performance evaluation (dean’s letter), transcript, and three letters of recommendation. We require Step 1 USMLE scores of all applicants. Step 2 may be completed after the application deadline. Successful completion of USMLE Step 1 and of Step 2 CS and CK is required by Duke University Hospital prior to matriculation.

Please note: we abide by the Duke Graduate Medical Education (GME) policy on licensing examinations, with the added stipulation that we require passage of the USMLE Step 3 before starting the CA-1 year. For more information, see Duke’s GME website.

What tracks do you offer and how many positions?

To complete your ERAS application, you can choose one track or any combination of tracks. For our purposes, these choices are not a binding commitment. If you are invited to interview, you will find out more about each track, and we will ask your track preference before our Match list is submitted.

What are the requirements for international medical graduates?

We have a minimum USMLE cutoff score of 225 on all parts of the exam. IMGs must be ECFMG certified to be considered for an interview. We require some U.S. clinical experience. Observerships do not meet this requirement. We do not have a timeframe for graduation from medical school; we are more interested in what you have done in the time since graduating. Applications are accepted only through ERAS.

I submitted four letters of recommendation. Is that too many?

ERAS allows you to upload up to four letters of recommendation. We consider a complete application to include three letters of recommendation. If you have four, that is fine.

Where can I send questions for the residency program director and assistant directors?

We encourage you to visit the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Education (DARE) blog! You can submit your question/s to the DARE blog authors and learn more about our residency program through regularly posted Q and As between medical students, residents and educators. You can also reach them via email at anesthesiologyresidency@duke.edu.

Other questions?

Please contact Hannah Nicksic, residency program coordinator, with any questions you may have. You may also refer to the Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database.

Annemarie Thompson, MDAnnemarie Thompson, MD
Director, Residency Program
Professor of Anesthesiology and Medicine

Brian Colin, MDBrian J. Colin, MD
Associate Residency Program Director
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology

Angela Li Pollak, MDAngela L. Pollak, MD
Assistant Residency Program Director
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology

At all levels, leadership, faculty, staff and the residents themselves raise the bar to bring the highest level of dedication and commitment to the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program.

The Department of Anesthesiology was thrilled when Annemarie Thompson, MD, re-joined the Duke family in May of 2014 as residency program director and professor of anesthesiology and medicine. Dr. Thompson moved to Duke from Vanderbilt University where she was an associate professor of anesthesiology and medicine and served as director of the Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellowship.

Dr. Thompson completed residency training in internal medicine and anesthesiology at the University of California San Francisco. She completed a fellowship in adult and pediatric cardiothoracic anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University in 2002. In addition to Dr. Thompson’s active clinical practice, she writes about evidence-based decision support in clinical practice and is an oral examiner for the American Board of Anesthesiology.

Residents at Duke have a unique opportunity to maintain a close relationship with the chairman of Duke Anesthesiology, Joseph P. Mathew, MD, MHSc, MBA, Jerry Reves, MD, professor of cardiac anesthesiology. Dr. Mathew takes a personal interest in every trainee and plays an instrumental role in their career planning. He is dedicated to actively taking part in recruitment season and personally interviews almost all applicants to the residency program.

Dr. Mathew’s contributions to clinical perioperative medicine have long been recognized in the fields of cardiology, surgery and anesthesiology. He is internationally respected in the area of transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) and is highly regarded for his groundbreaking research which focuses on improving perioperative patient outcomes.

Mark Stafford-Smith, MD, CM, FRCPC, MBA, FASE, Duke Anesthesiology’s vice chair of education, is committed to enhancing the experience of anesthesia residents throughout the spectrum of their career trajectories from private practitioner to bench researcher. As the department’s fellowship education director, he has personally mentored more than 170 fellows and served in numerous national leadership positions, including former member of the board of directors of the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists which promotes excellence in clinical care, education and research in the subspecialty. Ashley Grantham, PhD, was appointed as medical education specialist in 2015. She works on education innovation and research initiatives within the department, specifically creating, implementing and assessing high-quality learning experiences for anesthesiology trainees.

Brian Colin, MD, is an assistant professor of anesthesiology in the General, Vascular and Transplant Anesthesiology Division and serves as associate program director. Angela Pollak, MD, is an assistant professor of anesthesiology in the Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Division and serves as assistant program director. Both Drs. Colin and Pollak are alumni of the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program and went on to complete fellowships here at Duke. Their breadth of experience plays a vital role in the success of a 60-trainee residency program.

The Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program has a long history of strong resident leadership. The chief resident role fosters a positive learning environment, boosts resident morale, and serves as a liaison between residents and faculty. In 2008, the academic chief resident position was created in conjunction with the Academic Career Enrichment Scholars (ACES) Program to help Dr. Thompson and Dr. Mark Stafford-Smith, director of the ACES Program, schedule conferences and events. And, senior residents who are recognized as excellent teachers and mentors are named teaching scholars who aim to enhance the educational experience of medical students.

On behalf of our trainees, we would like to welcome you to the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program! Thank you for your interest in learning about our residency program and we hope you can join us in Durham one day!

Yohannes C. Constable, MD

Yohannes C. Constable, MD

Our philosophy is well summarized in our mission statement: “Extraordinary care through a unique culture of innovation, education, research, and professional growth.” This starts from the top with our chairman, Dr. Joseph Mathew, who is actively involved in our training and progression. Our program director, Dr. Annemarie Thompson, is a tireless resident advocate and aims to constantly improve our training experience at every turn.

We have transitioned to a categorical intern year, where PGY-1 residents are placed on rotations that are specifically chosen to provide exposure to areas of clinical medicine with application to our training in anesthesia, like cardiology, pulmonary, general medicine/general pediatrics, perioperative medicine, acute pain, general surgery, and emergency medicine.

One of the highlights of residency comes in June of intern year—a week of orientation, lecture, and simulation followed by three weeks of orientation where you will be performing cases alongside a different classmate and attending each week. This is a great time to get to know your fellow residents and develop an early relationship with a number of our faculty. Each afternoon in June, you receive protected time for didactics, which gives you the knowledge and skills to hit the ground running in your own cases starting in July. Beginning in the second half of your CA-1 year, we begin to place our residents on subspeciality rotations so they can have exposure to areas of anesthesia they may want to pursue additional training in.

Rebecca S. Himmlewright, MD

Rebecca S. Himmlewright, MD

As you transition to CA-2 year, you continue to have subspecialty experience and take more responsibility for complex surgical cases. We receive world-class subspecialty experience in adult cardiac anesthesiology, regional anesthesia & acute pain management, critical care medicine, neuroanesthesia, chronic pain, obstetric anesthesia, and ediatric anesthesia, taught by world renowned experts in their respective fields. Most of our residents, after their experiences, often choose to pursue one or more fellowships after their residency training. As CA-3s, our residents have the opportunity to supervise junior residents on more complex cases, learn the nuances of assigning cases as the in-house on call resident, and are able to participate in rotations that are tailored to their interests.

Our residency program is relatively small (14-15 per class) compared to surgical volume and caseload. At Duke University Hospital, we have almost 60 operating rooms and offsite locations, which total about 130,000 cases over a number of settings, including Duke University Hospital, Ambulatory Surgery Center, Durham VA Medical Center, and Duke Regional Hospital (Community Hospital). The chief residents assign cases to the residents daily, ensuring exposure and competency in managing complex and challenging anesthetics directed by our amazing faculty. In addition to scheduled cases, residents also graduate having performed a number of complex organ transplantation cases—including heart, lung, liver, and kidney transplants—providing an additional level of complexity.

In addition to our learning in the OR, we have a comprehensive didactic program that consists of twice-weekly lectures, weekly grand rounds, and quarterly simulation sessions. Lectures and simulations are considered protected learning opportunities, so we are relieved by CRNAs to ensure that we able to make lecture on time. Our residents are given an iPad at the beginning of CA-1 year and free foundational textbooks in anesthesiology. Residents receive an education fund that can be used towards books and meetings.

Our department is defined by our greatest assets—the people. Our residents are not here to compete—we take great pride in the collaborative and supportive environment that has been cultivated over the years. Our faculty are supportive of our academic and personal interests, and advocate our learning. Here at Duke we have a phenomenal relationship with our surgical counterparts and CRNA colleagues. The perioperative setting is a welcoming and collaborative environment that keeps you coming back to work every day.

Frequently recognized as one of the most livable cities and topping lists of best places to live, Durham will surprise you with its charms if you haven’t visited before. There is an excellent culinary and craft beverage scene, and with our mild climate, there are countless opportunities to explore the outdoors close to home and at some of the best beach and mountain destinations in the country. Duke’s top-tier collegiate athletics programs also instill Blue Devil pride across the health system and the city, providing residents with sports entertainment and access to one of the greatest rivalries in sports. What was once an old tobacco town has grown into a destination city lauded by numerous national media outlets for its food, brews and livability. With nearby Chapel Hill and Raleigh to form the collective “Research Triangle” of North Carolina, Durham has emerged as a first-rate metro area that offers big city amenities without big city hassles. Humble, intellectual and worldly—Durham is a diverse city with something for everybody and a quality-of-life difficult to beat!

Thank you for your interest in the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program. Be sure to follow our accounts on Twitter (@DukeAnesRes and @Duke_Anesthesia) to stay in touch with our residency and stay up-to-date on the application process.

Thanks again!

Yohannes C. Constable, MD | yohannes.constable@duke.edu
Rebecca S. Himmlewright, MD | rebecca.himmelwright@duke.edu

Where in the World…Are Our Residents From?

The Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program offers a wide variety of learning experiences and resources for trainees including didactics, simulation, and more. This page provides an overview of the resources and educational opportunities available to residents during their four years at Duke.

Residency Didactics

In addition to intraoperative and bedside teaching, Duke Anesthesiology offers a strong didactic program for trainees. Each lecture series is organized by faculty leaders to ensure that content is up to date and provides residents the knowledge they need to become world-class anesthesiologists. Trainees have the opportunity to evaluate the lectures and provide feedback to presenters to help ensure the sessions are relevant to the needs of learners.

Residency Didactics

ACGME Anesthesiology Core Requirements: IV A 3: The curriculum must contain didactic instruction through a variety of learning opportunities occurring in a conference setting, in the clinical setting, or online that encompasses clinical anesthesiology and related areas of basic science. Other topics from Internal Medicine that are important for the preoperative preparation of the patient, from surgery as to the nature of the surgical procedure affecting anesthetic care, and from obstetrics that impacts anesthetic management of the patient should be included. The material covered in the didactic program must demonstrate appropriate continuity and sequencing to ensure that residents are ultimately exposed to all subjects at regularly held learning exercises.

Intern Lecture Series

The goal of the intern lecture series is to introduce interns to anesthesiology fundamentals at the beginning of their anesthesiology training. Topics include pre-operative screening, pain management, and ultrasound basics, among others. Lunch is provided for this series that meets once a month on Thursdays from noon to 1:00 p.m.

CA1 Lecture Series: Anesthesiology Fundamentals

This series is designed to build on the intern lecture series by providing trainees a concrete base of anesthesiology as they begin their anesthesiology rotations. Three primary topics are covered over the year:

  • General cardio-pulmonary physiology and management
  • Renal, hematologic, gastrointestinal and endocrine physiology
  • Basics of intraoperative anesthesia management and introductions to subspecialty anesthesia topics (OB, CV, and neuro)

The final portion of the series is devoted to board review topics. This series meets on Tuesday afternoons from 5 – 6 p.m.

CA 2/3 Lecture Series: Subspecialty Anesthesiology

This lecture series provides advanced residents with in-depth knowledge of anesthesiology subspecialties.  Each month is dedicated to a specific subspecialty and is organized by a block leader—a faculty member with expertise in that subspecialty.  Each subspecialty has two months of lectures over the course of two years.  Many of these sessions are taught using the flipped classroom format, “a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed.”[1]

For flipped sessions, pre-work is often posted in the Education Highway, an online repository of learning resources for departmental faculty, trainees, and CRNAs, or emailed to residents prior to the session.  In the session, residents will participate in active learning activities such as case-based learning, large and small group discussions, and review games such as Peds Jeopardy.  This series meets on Wednesdays from 5 – 6 p.m.

[1] EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2012, February). 7 things you should know about flipped classrooms. https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7081.pdf

All Residents Lecture Series: Thursday Series

The Thursday afternoon lecture series is designed to provide trainees with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed as well-rounded attending anesthesiologists post-training.  This series focuses on the following ACGME competencies: practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, and systems-based practice. During the course of the year, residents will participate in the following activities on Thursday afternoons from 5 – 6 p.m.:

  • M&Ms (6x/year)
  • Twitter Journal Club (3x/year)
  • QI lectures
  • Nuts and bolts meetings with residency program leadership
  • Leadership development sessions
  • Mock orals
  • TEE Interactive Series (see TEE below).

Resident TEE Curriculum

The Resident TEE curriculum is a 6-month curriculum for CA-2 and CA-3 residents focused on basic perioperative TEE; including image optimization, recognition of valvular abnormalities, ventricular dysfunction, and hands-on image acquisition.

Simulation

In addition to didactics, Duke Anesthesiology trainees have the opportunity to participate in world-class simulation activities. These sessions use various modalities of simulation, including task trainers for procedural skills as well as high-fidelity mannequins for case-based scenarios. A faculty champion, often division-specific, leads each session. The curriculum is developed and standardized in collaboration with simulation staff to ensure a paramount learning experience for all participants. The chart below reflects simulation-based education for graduate medical education in the Department of Anesthesiology.

Simulation

Intern Survival Skills: Procedure-based simulation training including central line, airway management, and IV placement led by Dr. Sharon McCartney.

Subspecialty Case-based Scenarios: Organized by Dr. John Eck, these regular sessions rotate CA-1, CA-2, and CA-3 learners through cases created by champions in each subspecialty.

Anesthesia Crisis Resource Management (ACRM): Complex case-based scenarios that challenge CA-2 and CA-3 learners with crisis resource management focused debriefings. Course originated with Dr. Ankeet Udani.

Education Highway

Trainees have access to the Education Highway, an online departmental repository for learning materials. This tool provides opportunities for self-directed learning in addition to supporting the flipped lectures. Each division has a space, curated by a faculty member with expertise in that area, to house educational videos, significant papers, protocols, and other learning materials. Each week, a recording of the departmental Grand Rounds lecture is posted for viewing by those unable to attend.

Teaching Scholars

Teaching scholars are CA-3 residents chosen through an application and nomination process. The teaching scholars program is designed to provide participants with an excellent fund of knowledge in the area of medical education. Under the mentorship of Ankeet Udani, MD, MEd and Ashley Grantham, PhD, teaching scholars complete an education research project with the goal of presenting at the American Society of Anesthesiologists yearly meeting. Teaching scholars receive monthly lectures on education topics including curriculum design and education research. Teaching scholars are responsible for assisting in the instruction of medical students in the simulation center as well as assisting in teaching peers in need of remediation. Additionally, teaching scholars moderate resident M&Ms with Brad Taicher, MD.

Advising and Coaching

Each resident has the opportunity to choose a faculty adviser. In addition to the support provided by the resident’s adviser and residency program leadership, the department’s PhD educator, Ashley Grantham, is also available for individual educational coaching.

Other Resources

The following individuals are available to answer questions about the educational opportunities available in the department for trainees:

Annemarie Thompson, MD
Professor of Anesthesiology and Medicine
Director, Anesthesiology Residency Program

Brian Colin, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
Associate Director, Anesthesiology Residency Program

Angela Pollak, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
Assistant Director, Anesthesiology Residency Program

Mark Stafford-Smith, MD, CM, FRCPC, FASE
Professor of Anesthesiology
Director, Fellowship Education Program
Vice Chair, Education

Ashley Grantham, PhD
Medical Education Specialist

Resident Clinical Research Activities

Residents in the Duke University Department of Anesthesiology have endless opportunities to involve themselves in research. All subspecialty divisions within the department are academically productive, with nearly all research faculty actively managing multiple simultaneous projects. For those interested in basic science, our division boasts several productive laboratories investigating pain, myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury, neuroprotection, and the role of G-protein coupled receptors in human disease.

The Department of Anesthesiology is also fortunate to have unparalleled support for clinical research (Clinical Research Unit, or CRU), allowing straightforward design and conduct of complex and unique clinical investigations. While participation in research is not required, resident research collaboration is both important and universally appreciated by investigators.  Residents are encouraged to attend research meetings when their training schedule allows. Furthermore, residents presenting at national meetings typically receive departmental financial support for travel, board, meals, and attendance. For residents who are interested in a research-focused career, the residency training program offers two ACES positions annually. Please refer to the ACES program section of the website for more information.

General Research About the Department

Mandatory Rotations

DepartmentRotationLocation
Anesthesiology
2-3 months
Clinical Anesthesiology
Acute Pain Service
Perioperative Medicine
DUMC
DUMC
DUMC
Medicine
4-5 months
General Medicine
Cardiology
Cardiology Consults
Hyperbaric & Undersea Medicine*
Pulmonary Medicine
DRH
DUMC
DUMC
DUMC
DUMC
Emergency Department
1 month
Emergency MedicineDUMC
Pediatrics
1-2 months
General Pediatric Wards
Pediatric ICU
DUMC
DUMC
Surgery
2 months
Surgical ICU*
General Surgery
VA
DRH

*Managed by the Department of Anesthesiology

DUMC=Duke University Medical Center
DRH=Duke Regional Hospital
VA=Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center

ACES Banner

Duke Anesthesiology created the Academic Career Enrichment Scholars (ACES) Program in 2007 to integrate advanced clinical and research training without prolonging the duration of the traditional residency and fellowship system. This innovative curriculum program is a highly-selective resident research track designed to increase the number of graduates pursuing academic careers and help them gain status as independently-funded researchers. It matches up to two residents per year. Since 2007, roughly 25 trainees have graduated from the ACES Program or are currently in the program. To date, ACES residents have brought in more than $9 million in extramural funding, have published more than 411 number peer-reviewed papers, and 16 of 19 (84%) remain in academic anesthesiology.

Bella Vishnevsky, MD
Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine Fellow

Megan Fah, MD
Critical Care Medicine Fellow

Leah Acker, MD, PhD
CA-3 / ACES Chief Resident

Katherine Sun, MD
CA-2 Resident

Bryan Chow, MD
CA-3 Resident

Reade Tillman, MD
CA-2 Resident

Suhas Kochat, MD, MBA
CA-2 Resident

John Ward, MD
CA-1 Resident

Bella Vishnevsky, MD
Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine Fellow

Emily Barney, MD
CA-1 Resident

Yohannes C. Constable, MD
CA-3 Resident

Michael Cutrone, DO
Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellow

Kathryn Pearson, MD
CA-2 Resident

Henry Lather, MD
CA-3 Resident

Leah Acker, MD
CA-3 / ACES Chief Resident

Downtown Durham, NC

Find out why Durham, North Carolina is a great place to work and play.

Resident Classes of 2021-2022

Interns

2021-22 Interns

CA-1s

2021-22 CA-1 Class

CA-2s

2019 Interns Class

CA-3s

2019 CA-1 Class

Program Director's Welcome

Welcome to the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program! As the program’s director, I have the privilege to lead, support, and mentor outstanding young physicians in our residency program. I am equally honored to work with the Duke Anesthesiology faculty, internationally known for its peerless clinicians, unparalleled education, and groundbreaking research. The Triangle (Durham-Raleigh-Chapel Hill area) is well known for its major universities, Research Triangle Park, baseball, barbecue, and of course, basketball. But you might be pleasantly surprised by the less well-known advantages of living and working in the area when you visit Duke. For medical students seeking world-class training in a challenging but supportive environment, I cannot imagine a better place to begin your journey. – Annemarie Thompson, MD

Watch this video to learn why our Class of 2020 wanted to Match with the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program!

CA-3 Video

Experience Duke University campus (just steps away from your training environment) from a new point of view in this aerial tour, “Duke from on High.”

Duke From on High

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