Fellowship Match Testimonials
Select below to see what previous residents have to say about how training at UVA helped prepare them for fellowship at top-notch institutions:
I was able to match at my number one choice for fellowship because of the clinical and academic training I received at UVA.
By the end of my first month as an internal medicine resident at UVA, it was clear that I was part of a unique training program. Starting as a new intern on night shift in the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. Thirty minutes into my first night, a tone of collegiality, support, and teamwork was set in a critical moment by not only my upper level resident, but also by the CCU attendings, fellows, and staff. This tone would last through my three years at UVA.
I expressed my interest in cardiology early in the course of intern year, and was immediately connected with multiple potential mentors through my on-service attending at the time. His interest in helping to guide my future path at such an early stage of residency was shocking. This allowed a paced introduction into research (a critical part of many – if not all – fellowships) and resulted in lasting bonds with four mentors, two of whom I am still working with. Fast forward to the end of my third year, and attendings are asking me to present and teach basic cardiologic processes to medical students and other residents as well as allowing me to function as a “fellow” and take over the role of team leader!
During fellowship interview season, many of my interviewers were shocked to see two first-author publications, multiple review articles, participation in a 2-academic center randomized controlled trial of a novel cardiac medication, and an award-winning poster presentation on my curriculum vitae. This level of involvement in research was ubiquitous among the three other cardiology fellowship applicants in my class. Interviewers were even more stunned when they heard that I had completed well over twenty combined central lines and arterial lines (not to mention innumerable paracentesis/thoracentesis procedures for those GI/pulm lovers out there).
While I spent a large chunk of my time studying cardiology and ultimately chose it as my future career, I legitimately feel as though I was prepared to match into any subspecialty of my choice. As you can tell from the other fellowship testimonials, UVA is a powerhouse when it comes to matching residents into infectious disease, gastroenterology, pulmonology/ critical care, hematology/oncology… the list doesn’t end! The diverse curriculum at UVA does not just span the typical subspecialties and clinics; I was able to partake in a health policy class, present scientific papers to my colleagues and mentors in a public forum, work on a procedure team to help busy residents, and even receive yearly resident burnout training.
The cardiology rotations at UVA are classically rigorous in nature and demanding at times, but universally agreed on as some of the best learning opportunities at UVA, with some of the most hands-on and face-to-face learning from attendings. Early into fellowship, I felt comfortable managing complex cardiac disease and discussing in-depth cases one-on-one with senior attendings and other faculty.
Simply, I was able to match at my number one choice for cardiology fellowship because of the training, both clinical and academic, that I received at UVA. Not only was my education top tier, but I met my best friends – lifelong friends – because of UVA. It is no surprise that the UVA match list includes multiple top-tier fellowship programs every year. Will you be next?
McCall Walker, MD, UVA Internal Medicine Residency Class of 2019
At UVA, I met incredible role models and mentors who fostered my interests, involved me in research projects, and provided me with career guidance along the way.
After spending a decade at UVA for undergraduate, medical school, and residency training, I can say without a doubt that staying at UVA for residency was the best decision I ever made. In fact, it was my training here that helped me match at my top choice for gastroenterology and hepatology fellowship.
I have been drawn to the field of gastroenterology since third year of medical school because of the attendings and residents I worked with at UVA. It was the collegiality, support, and nurturing environment that made me feel at home. Not only did I receive well-rounded training in internal medicine, I also had exposure to GI on inpatient, consult services, and in the clinic setting from the very beginning of residency. I met incredible role models and mentors who fostered my interest, involved me in research projects, and provided me with career guidance along the way. I would not have been able to design research projects that led to oral presentations at national meetings and publications in major journals without the help of my mentors. When Amy Ogurick (current chief resident) and I were selected as the ambassadors for the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), we received a grant to promote the field of hepatology. I will never forget that at our first information session for medical students and residents, every one of our hepatology attendings and fellows showed up to support us! It was just a reflection of how supportive and invested in us they were, and for that I was immensely grateful!
You will hear about the education, research, and career opportunities on your interview day, but I hope you also get a sense of the supportive community and camaraderie that is core to the program. I did not think it would be possible to interview at fifteen programs and also attend two national conferences all in the span of two months, but our program made it happen! Our chief residents, program director and administrators worked incredibly hard to make sure everyone had coverage for fellowship interviews. When I met applicants on the interview trail who had to miss an interview because they could not find coverage, I felt extremely fortunate to have chosen UVA for residency. When I look back at my time at UVA, I couldn’t have asked for a better place to do my residency. I learned, had fun, and made lifelong friends!
Jennifer Wang, MD, UVA Internal Medicine Residency Class of 2018
During residency I was allowed to tailor my time to my interests… and had exposure from the very beginning to cardiologists who quickly became role models and mentors.
Without question, training at the University of Virginia was a wonderful, life-changing experience. From the interview dinner on, I knew that UVA was the perfect fit for me. The collegiality of the program leadership and co-residents is unique and allowed me to foster incredible relationships over my three years in the program. I was so grateful to work in a system that had a wide referral base and a robust clinical volume that provided the opportunity to become proficient in diagnosing and managing all types of conditions. The program itself places a premium on supplementing what you learn from clinical encounters with didactics and excellent conferences with appearances from experienced faculty. As former Housestaff Council Co-President, I can attest that beyond the Department of Internal Medicine, the leadership of GME also values resident education and well-being.
Being interested in cardiology, I had exposure from the very beginning of my intern year to cardiologists who quickly became role models and mentors. I was connected with research opportunities by virtue of working so closely with those in cardiology. UVA’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine has strong representation from all of the subspecialities, allowing me to learn from experts in their respective fields. During residency I was allowed to tailor my time to my interests, rotating not just on the cardiology floor and in the CCU, but also in cardiology clinic, on general consults, on EP, and on cardiac imaging. I was additionally given dedicated time to conduct research.
Aside from the benefits of training at UVA, I must also mention how amazing Charlottesville is as a place to live. It offers convenient living with amenities out of proportion to the size of the city. The downtown mall – a brick-lined street filled with restaurants, bars, and shops – is a wonderful place to meet with friends on nights off. Shenandoah National Park is easily accessible and a great way to get outdoors. The beauty of the country surrounding Charlottesville is truly astounding.
I have since moved on to fellowship in cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic. I have UVA to thank for my good fortune in matching here. Despite the rigor of cardiology fellowship, I could not have been better prepared by my training at UVA, both in cardiology but also in my foundation of internal medicine more generally. If I had to do it again, I would certainly choose UVA. I strongly recommend you do the same.
Benjamin Zorach, MD, UVA Internal Medicine Residency Class of 2018
Faculty at UVA are eager to involve residents in interesting projects and provide them with invaluable mentorship.
The Internal Medicine program at UVA fostered my development as a clinician and scientist, all in an idyllic setting. Faculty throughout all divisions of the Department of Medicine are committed to providing excellent, cutting edge clinical care while promoting resident education through bedside teaching, chalk talks, formal lectures, and conferences. I also learned from my bright, motivated co-residents and from our lively Morning Reports that ranged from traditional case-based lectures to Family Feud style competitions (no, Steve Harvey not included). Not only is the program committed to your education, but it also promotes empathy, compassion, and well-being among the housestaff. This combined with the complex, diverse patient population seen at UVA, by virtue of its broad catchment area, guarantees a well-rounded clinical training experience.
The UVA Internal Medicine program also emphasizes the importance of scientific investigation and offers residents a wealth of research opportunities across disciplines. Faculty are eager to involve residents in interesting projects and provide them with invaluable mentorship. The program provides funding for residents to present their work at national conferences as well as at our annual Research & Scholars Day on grounds. I studied genetic determinants and outcomes in PVC-induced cardiomyopathy with Dr. Matthew Wolf. We utilized the UVA Clinical Data Repository and worked hand-in-hand with UVA’s genetic counselor, Matthew Thomas. I feel immensely grateful for my clinical and research training at UVA which was instrumental when I applied for Cardiology fellowship.
Beyond the medical center, Charlottesville has a unique offering of outdoor, historical, and cultural attractions. Nestled along the Rivanna River just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the town has a gorgeous landscape with access to countless outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, and skiing. As the former home of Thomas Jefferson, Charlottesville has a rich yet tumultuous history that has sparked controversy but also dialogue and a spirit on campus of inclusion and reconciliation. There are delicious restaurants, prize-winning coffee, craft breweries, and charming wineries – not to mention a bustling farmer’s market. Pair that with multiple concert venues, theaters, shops, and college sports events and you will be amazed by what this small town has to offer.
Navid Nafissi, MD, UVA Internal Medicine Residency Class of 2018
As a resident, I was able to develop a project that built on my prior research in public health and diabetes treatment.
UVA offers a unique residency experience in which the resident has ample opportunities to pursue an individualized research program. During my first year at UVA, I approached my program director about developing a project that built upon my prior research in public health and the clinical treatment of diabetes. Without hesitation, he encouraged me to contact our resident clinic director and with UVA’s full support I developed an IRB protocol for a mobile application in which I recruited patients from a variety of backgrounds from our own resident clinic for my project. Based in part on this research experience, I was selected as a 2016 NIDDK/National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) research conference fellow.
What I think UVA offers as a residency program is the combination of cutting edge clinical expertise, educational and research resources, and support for academic training. With my program’s encouragement, I was published as a first author in a medical journal, worked with committees on optimization strategies for patient care, worked in electives in preparation for fellowship, and participated in student outreach programs for high school and pre-med college students. I was also able to take an MBA elective course on the healthcare industry.
UVA also provides important leadership in developing a diverse medical community. As a resident, I worked with patients from various backgrounds and cultural groups. Cultural sensitivity training to protect both UVA staff and patients alike was an integral part of my residency curriculum.
Residency offers a challenging yet uniquely fulfilling experience for physicians. As a UVA internal medicine alum, I value my time spent in Charlottesville with my colleagues, friends, and patients. And would do it all over again if given the chance.
Natalie Mora, MD, MPH, UVA Internal Medicine Residency Class of 2017
When I set off on the fellowship interview trail, my training at UVA was an asset and program directors knew it.
I cannot say enough positive things about my residency training experience at UVA. Simply put, it is an excellent place to train in internal medicine. For physicians entering any field of internal medicine, but in particular for subspecialists, it is vital that an IM residency program provide the backbone and foundation for one’s clinical skill-set. UVA exceeded all my expectations. With rotations on general medicine and subspecialty services, taking care of medically complex patients, I was able to refine my skills in differential diagnosis, work-up, and patient management. And with a focus on resident development and education, residents at UVA truly lead their teams in patient care, as opposed to simply executing orders from attendings. Education extends beyond the bedside with daily teaching sessions ranging from case-based learning to chalk talks to debate-style conferences. Critically, the UVA IM program is truly a resident-led program, and residents are the leaders of change in the program. If something is not working or doesn’t make sense, it gets fixed. Beyond this, there is a camaraderie amongst the residents that I truly believe is unique to UVA. Your co-residents at UVA may start off as just colleagues, but they fast become good friends and I know many will be lifetime friends. The teamwork and camaraderie extends beyond the residents to faculty, fellows, nurses and case workers… in fact, I met my now fiancé at UVA!
The UVA program knows how to train residents to be competitive for fellowship. Look at the statistics and match lists; they don’t lie. When I set off on the fellowship interview trail, my training at UVA was an asset and program directors knew it. At UVA, I directly cared for the full spectrum of oncology patients from solid tumor to transplant to acute leukemia patients. I was also able to tailor my final two years of residency to spend time in oncology clinics and conducting research. It was this combination of experiences that allowed me to land my top choice fellowship at Johns Hopkins.
But I would be remiss if I said that residency training was just about general internal medicine education or fellowship preparation. At UVA, you can really do anything. One of my goals during residency was to travel internationally for an elective in an underserved area. I wasn’t a member of the global health track, but after a few emails with the excellent infectious diseases faculty at UVA, I was able to organize an elective at a rural hospital in Tanzania. This month-long elective was one of the best trips of my life and also one of my most educational and eye-opening experiences of residency. I am a firm believer that the individual makes the experience, and that wherever you go you will succeed if you are kind, motivated, and hardworking. But why not go to residency at an institution rich with opportunity, strong education, and caring people? Apply to UVA and you won’t regret it, I certainly didn’t.
Joshua Reuss, MD, UVA Internal Medicine Residency Class of 2017
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the influences of the ID faculty and former fellows who allowed me to craft my own niche and assemble a curriculum that would let me merge those interests into a future career.
UVA wrote the book on Infectious Diseases; yes, literally. Have you ever referenced Mandell’s Principles and Practices of Infectious Diseases? That’s our Mandell. And when you start your residency here, you’ll notice that many of your General Medicine attendings have also contributed chapters. ID is everywhere at UVA; it forms the backbone of frequent Morning Conferences and influences management on multiple services. This is great training for any budding ID Fellow because you learn quickly that, probably more than any medicine subspecialty, Infectious Diseases touches everyone—yes, CCU, even you.
And there are multiple opportunities to hone your interests within the field. I consider myself lucky to have had not one but multiple mentors who helped guide me into my current niche interests in ID. I had the opportunity to rotate through the ID clinic on electives, went to Uganda twice with the Global Health program to participate in malaria research, and used my research time to learn more about Clostridium difficile in the lab. Opportunities abound to learn bench science, global health, antimicrobial stewardship and hospital epidemiology, not to mention HIV and HCV, wherever your particular interests may lie! Not sure yet what your ID interests are? Even better. The enthusiasm of the Infectious Disease faculty can’t be rivaled and each is happy to share why they love what they do—besides, we have the best stories. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without the influences of the ID faculty and former fellows who allowed me to craft my own niche in stewardship, epidemiology, and global health, and assemble a curriculum that would let me merge those interests into a future career.