Our residents are a diverse and amazing group. Click on their testimonials below to see why these residents think UVA is a great choice!
As a Spanish speaker, one of my life’s dreams has been to train and learn from Spanish-speaking patients. It speaks volumes about our program that UVA handed me the keys to an outpatient panel, over half of whom speak only Spanish.
I remember feeling some degree of pressure as I opened my match email in front of my family, wife, in-laws, and all of my friends/classmates to whom I had already expressed that I had a clear number one preference for residency: UVA. This moment of clarity struck during my interview day, so vehemently, I couldn’t wait to express my excitement. As soon as the Zoom interview ended, I called my wife at work and she said, “I love you…but you know I get off in 30 minutes, right? Do you want to tell me about it when I get home?”
I started with all of the, albeit awesome, surface-level amenities, “Charlottesville has a ton of restaurants, wineries, and outdoor activities for us to enjoy. We love that stuff (in no particular order). Their residents are social and are getting together to take advantage of everything the area has to offer…they’re clearly happy outside of work. At work, they get free access to nitro cold brew coffee and are being fed on weekdays. They get money on their badges for meals on the weekends, but otherwise, they get catering from these amazing restaurants for noon conference. If you work on weekends, attendings will often bring your something called “Bodo’s Bagels” for breakfast. They get included gym access. They don’t have 24-hour call. The 3 + 1 schedule seems super accommodating to staying in touching with your clinic patients and keeping the inpatient rotations fresh…”. Clearly UVA had hit on all of the lower tiers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but UVA sold me when I realized that this is where I would become the best version of myself as a person and a doctor.
As a Spanish speaker, one of my life’s dreams has been to train and learn from Spanish-speaking patients. It speaks volumes about our program that, without a “Spanish-sounding name” and before I had proven my fluency, UVA handed me the keys to an outpatient panel of 91 patients over half of whom speak only Spanish. The icing on the cake is that all of my underserved Spanish-speaking patients are enrolled in financial assistance with UVA, taking the cost of their care completely out of the equation. As soon as I became a certified, Spanish-speaking provider, opportunities to practice my Spanish became more abundant. With my permission, clinic administration coordinated adopting more Spanish-speaking patients into my panel from outside/community practices so that those patients could get access to the full breadth of UVA.
As with my career goals within the Spanish-speaking community, whenever I mention my other, various interests to an upper-level resident or attending, they connect me to a mentor who more often than not is nationally known within that sphere. Of course, every program tells you during interview season that they will do that for you, but to actually experience it first hand to the high level at which it occurs here, is totally different. I’m constantly reminded that UVA actively helps me become the best version of myself by putting those mentors within arm’s reach. For that and many other reasons, I am beyond grateful that my match email read the University of Virginia.
As an intern, every day feels like a new learning opportunity. Every person I turn to at this institution has shown me an incredible sense of warmth, support, and generosity.
Mid-July of intern year, I walked into the CCU for one of my first inpatient rotations. Needless to say, I was scared out of my mind. My last rotation in medical school was in January, and I had a lot of dust to shake off. I barely knew how to place orders, I felt disorganized, and I felt like I had forgotten everything I learned throughout medical school. All this considered, the CCU was about the last place I wanted to be.
In medical school, I had heard horror stories of intern year. I’d heard of attendings pimping you on rounds until you cry, unsupportive senior residents who leave on night shifts to go to sleep, and co-interns who elbow you out of the way to make themselves look better. Imagine my surprise when I found the opposite to be true in the CCU at UVA. The day before I walked in, my senior resident called me (on his day off) to go over the rotation logistics, things to expect, and things to prepare for. On day one, my co-intern who started CCU two weeks prior answered all the questions I felt too stupid to ask out loud. And then came rounds.
One of my patients had a complicated chest x-ray, with lots of lines, tubes, and wires. Now, keep in mind, I hadn’t looked at a chest x-ray in about 6 months. I felt an overwhelming sense of dread when my attending said “Meera, why don’t you pull up the chest x-ray for this patient and walk us through it?” I could barely answer a single question. I was mortified. We finished rounds and as we sat down to regroup, I made a joke about my inability to read a chest x-ray. My attending completely took me by surprise when he said, “Hey, what are you saying that for? This is a three-year training program. What would be the point if you walked in on day one and already knew everything?”
From that day on, everything got a little easier. Everyday, my senior would ask “Okay, what else do you need a refresher on?” I would pick a subject, he would come up with an impromptu chalk-talk, and give me the intern basics for that topic. He helped me with organization, placing orders, and figuring out all the right questions to ask. I slowly started to learn that there would be no repercussions to saying the words “I don’t know.” Every day felt like a new learning opportunity. Every person I turn to at this institution has shown me an incredible sense of warmth, support, and generosity.
UVA manages to strike an incredibly difficult balance between a warm, welcoming atmosphere and an academically-rigorous clinical environment. Every day I’m astounded by the academic accomplishments of the people I work with, attendings and residents alike. However, everyone still manages to be humble, kind, and supportive. I cannot believe how lucky I am to call UVA and Charlottesville home. As I write this testimonial on my first vacation block, laying out in the sun after waking up at 10:00 AM, I’m so grateful that I’ve managed to find a program that I’m excited to go back to.
I was elated to find a program that offered me the opportunity for an abundance of outpatient clinical exposure via their primary care track. It was the perfect program for me, and on match day, my dreams of becoming a UVA resident came true.
Choosing a residency program can be as exciting as it is stressful for 4th year medical students. For me, it was no different. As I was sending out my applications for a myriad of institutions and preparing for virtual interviews, I became increasingly worried about whether or not I would find a program fit for me. Would I be able to find a program that had a strong sense of community? Is there a program that can make me feel supported and comfortable? Can I find a program that values outpatient clinical exposure? These were the questions swirling in my head as I approached interview season.
As I moved through Zoom session after Zoom session, I realized that one institution had the answers to all of my questions above, the University of Virginia. I was elated to find a program that exhibited a strong sense of community between residents, program leadership, and attending physicians. A program that valued resident support from graded autonomy to mental health and wellness. A program that offered me the opportunity for an abundance of outpatient clinical exposure via their primary care track. It was the perfect program for me, and on match day, my dreams of becoming a UVA resident came true.
Although I felt I had found a program perfectly suited for me, I still had concerns about starting my intern year. As I settled into my first inpatient rotation, those fears quickly melted away. My chiefs and program director know me by name, and never hesitate to stop and ask me how I am doing if they see me in passing. I have tremendous support from my upper-level residents, who are always there to answer questions and lend a helping hand. I have learned so much in just a few months here at UVA from brilliant attending physicians who are eager and excited to teach. Looking back, I cannot believe I was ever worried about finding a residency program that will help shape me into an amazing physician. I am so glad that I found UVA!
This healthy and welcoming environment, coupled with the academic rigor[…], makes for the perfect educational experience.
My excitement on Match Day was very quickly tempered by the realization that in just a few months, I had to say goodbye to everybody I know and pack my bags to make a 7000+ mile trip to a country where I knew absolutely nobody, and a city I had only visited virtually via a 15-minute Zoom tour on interview day. I’m glad to report that this sense of dread did not last very long after making the big move. From my first meeting with my co-interns on a jaw-droppingly beautiful Thursday afternoon on Carter Mountain, I knew that I was in the right place with the right people. From offering me car rides around town to periodically checking in on how I was settling in, I never felt that I was on my own.
As July rolled in and residency started, I came to realize that the helpful nature of the entirety of my intern class was not a coincidence, but rather a consistent quality that everybody had at UVA. This healthy and welcoming environment, coupled with the academic rigor of working with faculty that are *ridiculously* accomplished, makes for the perfect educational experience, both on the wards and in clinic.
One thing that surprises me to this day at UVA is how invested everybody in the program is in ensuring your success. As soon as people in the program knew that I wanted to pursue ID in fellowship, I had residents sharing their interesting ID cases, chiefs stopping by to chat about my experiences in ID clinic, ID fellows and faculty reaching out to establish mentorships, and our very own Dr. Uthlaut stopping by to chat about a random cool ID case I saw while on nights! I could not ask for a more encouraging and supportive place to be.
While reflecting on my experience here at UVA, Esprit De Corps, a phrase that was emphasized multiple times while interviewing, came to mind. I’ve seen several program slogans on the interview trail, all of which triggered an invisible eyeroll, lest somebody sees it on my Zoom feed. But looking back, there’s no better way to describe the spirit of this program.
It amazes me how quickly Charlottesville has come to feel like home, but I am so thankful for that!
Applying to residency during the pandemic was an interesting experience! Seeing each program and meeting faculty and residents virtually over the span of a few hours, it was hard to get that “gut” feeling residents often mentioned as their reason for ranking a program highly. Sitting in my living room day after day, many of the programs started to blend together in my mind, and when a few stood out, I felt that was as close to the gut feeling I would get. There were several things about my UVA interview that grabbed my attention. First, the residents in the virtual happy hour all seemed upbeat and happy even after working all day.
While most programs described themselves as a family, the UVA residents all seemed to know each other so well and prioritized spending time together outside the hospital. Secondly, the noon conference was actually fun and engaging, with residents volunteering answers and proposing ideas. The highlight of the day was my interviews, when I immediately felt that I wanted to know the attendings and get the opportunity to work with them.
I couples matched with my husband who is an anesthesia resident. We hoped to find a hospital that would provide the best possible training for each of us, even with very different career goals. I wanted a primary care track with exposure to rural medicine integrated into an academic institution with rigorous training in a high acuity setting (not so easy to find!). The primary care track has allowed me to experience many different practice models- within my first month as an intern I had worked in a rural clinic, private practice, and our resident continuity clinic which primarily cares for the underserved from across the state. Across all of them I have had incredible preceptors who have taken the time to get to know me and invest in my personal and professional development. The 3+1 schedule guarantees that I am never too far removed from outpatient medicine and get some time with friends, which we take very seriously!
For myself and many of my peers it felt like a risk ranking programs in places we had never visited before. It amazes me how quickly Charlottesville has come to feel like home, but I am so thankful for that! Coming from med school in Philly we wanted more space and to be able to get to trails and the river easily whenever we had time off. We’re getting great use out of our national parks annual pass with Shenandoah right nearby and still catch ourselves commenting on how beautiful the area is. I feel so lucky to have matched here and get to work with so many incredible attendings and residents!
There is a pervasive and indelible sense of community that extends beyond the hospital walls.
For most medical students, choosing a residency program is one of the most stressful, exciting, and important parts of the 4th year. As if making a rank list wasn’t hard enough, having to navigate this process amidst a global pandemic and learning the ways of virtual interviewing was challenging to say the least. Fortunately, 2 months into my intern year, I couldn’t be happier than I am here at UVA.
As cliché as it may sound, the people make this program. There is a pervasive and indelible sense of community that extends beyond the hospital walls. Whether it is Dr. Uthlaut reaching out to ask how my first rotation was going, or the baristas at Higher Grounds (our beloved in-hospital coffee shop) knowing my order by the end of my first week of residency, there is a strong sense of community that makes coming to work every day so fun.
An aspect of the program that stands out to me is its multi-level mentorship. Within the first few weeks, I was connected with a career mentor who was available to help me with, you guessed it, career advising and departmental networking, a peer-mentor who is a rising 2nd year resident, and an outpatient mentor with whom I will work with monthly during my +1 clinic weeks throughout my three years here. There is also substantial informal mentorship that I’ve already developed with my attendings on service, other upper-level residents, and of course the fantastic chiefs.
Perhaps my biggest fear in choosing a residency program was not having a sustainable work-life balance. While I wanted to ensure I chose a program where my training would be rigorous, academic, and prepare me well for my career, I did not want to sacrifice the things I enjoy outside of my work. At UVA, I have not had to compromise one bit. I feel that I have adequate supervision but am able to make clinical decisions without feeling micromanaged by my residents, fellows, or attendings. The noon conferences are informative and thought provoking, and the free lunch is pretty great too. Finally, The 3+1 rotation schedule is fantastic in that it guarantees me the oh-so-precious golden weekend every month.
Having grown up in Texas and completed every phase of our educations including medical school in the Lone Star State, my fiancée and I made it a priority to use residency as a chance to relocate. It certainly felt like a roll of the dice in moving half way across the country to Virginia, a state neither of us had ever set foot in. Two months in, we couldn’t be happier here in Charlottesville. There is an ineffably pleasant and serene aspect to seeing the sun set over the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains on your daily drive home from work. This hidden gem of a city is truly vibrant with something for everyone.
My experience at UVA has been one of family, learning, self-advancement, and discovery, something I would be hard-pressed to say I could have found elsewhere.
The choice of a residency program is hard; you have to choose an institution that will dictate the quality, depth, and breadth of knowledge (in the most formative educational time) that you will use for the remainder of your career. The connections and relationships you form, the mentors you find, and the activities you participate in will steer your ultimate path more than any of us can anticipate. Most importantly, the people you meet and work with will probably spend the most time with you out of anyone for the three years of your residency training, and you will likely form bonds that will last a lifetime.
However, where to train is made almost trivial by the existence of institutions like UVA, a place I’m delighted daily to call home. The family of residents, faculty, students, mentors, staff, and patients at UVA continue to amaze me regularly with how thoughtful, caring, kind, driven, passionate (and importantly how wicked smart) they are. I’ve felt welcome and supported since the day I matched and thanked my lucky stars for that outcome. The educational and career opportunities seem boundless, and trust me – I’ve far and away pushed the limits of what I thought was available to me and have always met with a positive response. The work environment is second to none, and I don’t think many, if any, would disagree with me on that.
Finally, UVA is located in the heart of Central Virginia, one of the most beautiful places I’ve had the honor to lay eyes on among all the countries I’ve lived in and visited. Few places have so much picturesque nature so close by. Charlottesville is an incredible city, surprisingly diverse, and incredibly welcoming.
Having an institution the size and with the acuity of patients like UVA in a place like Charlottesville is a rare find. You get the training experience similar to being in a much larger city without the busyness (which you don’t need to be dealing with as a resident). I cannot recommend UVA highly enough, and I only regret that the English language cannot capture the extent of my love for this place. If you couldn’t tell, I struggled to find an appropriate ending to this, so I will leave you with one of the pearls of wisdom of the philosopher king himself, the choice of which was also tricky. I hope you find a training program that makes you feel like I do about UVA and hope you consider us for your next chapter in life.
“No random actions, none not based on underlying principles.” Meditations IV:II; Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Even on the hardest days, I am so thankful to be part of the UVA family.
Before interview season even began, I knew ending up at UVA for IM residency would be a dream come true. My husband and I met while I was in college in the Shenandoah Valley region and we love all the activities the region around the Blue Ridge mountains has to offer. After attending medical school in Pennsylvania, we were both hoping to call Virginia home again.
My interview day certainly confirmed that UVA would be the perfect fit to help me reach my professional and personal goals. Everyone, from the program staff to the residents to the other interviewees, was so friendly and helpful. It was clear in my interviews that the attendings would be interested in helping me tailor my training to my professional goals. Additionally, the conference teaching was excellent and reflective of the rigorous academic environment of the program.
Entering residency during a pandemic was certainly nerve-wracking, but the program continues to be extremely supportive. During a particularly busy week on my first inpatient rotation, the chief residents and Dr. Uthlaut checked in on our team multiple times. The upper level residents, fellows and attendings are always happy to answer questions, teach, and offer assistance with the workload. It has been a challenging couple of months, but I am learning so much and feel more comfortable taking care of complex patients every day.
Outside the hospital, my husband and I are enjoying all that Charlottesville and the surrounding region has to offer. We enjoy tubing on the Rivanna River, biking at the grounds around Monticello, and hiking in the surrounding mountains. Although we can’t eat at the many restaurants, we still enjoy excellent local take-out and relaxing outside at local breweries.
In addition to mentors, the real time teaching, feedback and protected time for seminars and conferences is a great benefit.
I love to explore, experience new things, and I was on the interview trail in search of a new home for residency. UVA presented attractive opportunities to learn novel ways of practicing medicine and offered exposure to new cultures while establishing myself as a professional. I remember my interview day so fondly. There was a lot camaraderie and warmth from the program director, chief residents (past and present), residents, faculty and staff. During my time in Charlottesville, I felt the sense of community as strong, inside and outside the hospital. On my interview day, the interviewers were genuinely interested in my holistic growth as a resident and a member of the society. They connected me with mentors in UVA and the community, which made this program exceptional.
The 1:1 resident to intern ratio enables dedicated teaching and feedback time which I have come to value. There are also opportunities for building independence and autonomy on “res-intern” days when the senior resident is off. Throughout res-intern days and other days, there are several layers of safety built into the organizational structure that aid in learning and ensure that patients get the best medical care UVA can offer. The 3+1 rotation system is also great, as it gives one a chance to dedicate time and learning towards one rotation for three weeks, then switch focus to clinic patients and duties during the “plus” 1 week.
Having grown up in Kenya and lived several years in the US, I have had the unique chance to experience different cultures, medical systems and practices. Global health and serving the underserved communities are two of my major interests. This led me to choose UVA for their global health track and The Haven Medical Clinic which serves the uninsured and underinsured residents of Charlottesville and neighboring areas.
Lastly, nothing can beat Charlottesville and greater Virginia’s outdoors. Downtown, restaurants, gorgeous mountains views, swimming holes and hiking areas are to die for. Being outdoors has always been a great stress reliever for me and it keeps me in touch with Mother Earth. I mean, why not live in Charlottesville and enjoy the Shenandoah Valley, Ragged Mountain, Old Rag, Sugar Hollow Dam, the Rivanna River and many other recreation areas?
It’s an ecosystem I’m genuinely excited to return to every day: stimulating and demanding, yet unfailingly positive and fun.
“…plus, you got out of the hospital and went to a winery with friends last weekend, which tells me you’re still a complete human living your life. That’s what we want to see.” That was feedback I got from an inpatient attending during my first few weeks as an intern, and that attitude is the reason I came here and stayed.
I arrived at UVA as a rising first-year medical student from Southern California not knowing a single human in this state (oops, sorry, “Commonwealth”), or any of the adjacent states, or any of the states adjacent to those states. And, yet, UVA became a home pretty much immediately. The reason is, simply, the people. Within a week of starting as a student, older students and residents and faculty were smiling and waving in the hall, asking me if I needed help with anything and telling me not to worry because they could never remember how folate metabolism worked either (phew!).
“Wow, these people are great” was my major takeaway from my medicine clerkship too. True, UVA IM residents and faculty taught me about designing empiric antibiotic regimens and furosemide dosing and REDUCE and all that flim-flam that makes us medicine doctors. But, they also taught me about how to give and take sign-out in a way that shows respect for our colleagues (and patients), how to support a co-resident who’s having a particularly challenging day, and how special it feels when an attending concludes a complicated decision-making discussion with “It’s up to you, I trust you.” (They were also preternaturally good at squirreling food in our workrooms.) That’s why I was so eager to stay here for residency, and why I was so elated that our excellent program directors let me. (Please don’t hold it against them.)
None of this is to say we’re not rigorous. We have a smorgasbord of academia and rigor here. Medicine rounds are, without question, my favorite part of the day. (This is, admittedly, not the coolest aspect of my personality.) They never disappoint. We get into it; by the end there are usually intricate diagnostic schema diagrammed on whiteboards, pages from recent NEJM articles strewn across the floor, and a hastily scrawled list of further reading and invaluable teaching points tucked into my pocket. (Actually, I’m a proud millennial doctor, so in reality those pearls are tapped into OneNote on my phone. But, “tucked into my pocket” sounded more romantic, so I went with that. Whatever. You get the point.)
The difference here, I think, is how those rounds are punctuated. We start by chatting about what we did on our day off. We pause after the first two patients to pass around a bag of candy (liberally applying hand sanitizer in the process). We take a moment after a medical student presents their patients to praise their thorough, well-informed, well-reasoned assessment and plan. We make sure to ask ourselves if each plan we’re making is the best possible one for this individual patient, with their specific background and life circumstances. And, finally, we conclude by thanking everyone for their hard work and by asking how we can help each other today.
The other day, a medical student I was working with remarked “John, you always seem like you’re moving really fast and working really hard, but also like you’re super happy and enjoying being a resident.” That’s true! But it’s only because all the people around me are the same way.
I have felt so welcomed into this community of remarkable people.
Before embarking on my interview season, the advice I was given was to primarily focus on two major questions when choosing a residency program – 1. How do the residents treat each other, and 2. How does this program make me feel? When I think back to organizing my rank list, and why I made the decision to choose UVA, I cannot identify one tangible event or feature that set UVA apart from the rest. But what I could say with confidence is that the residents treated each other like life-long friends, and I felt like it would be an honor to join this community of intelligent, compassionate, and down to earth people.
One of my fears approaching residency interviews and deciding on a program was the fear of making the wrong choice for myself. I knew I wanted to be at the best program possible, but not at the expense of the other things in my life that I value. The best part about UVA is that I did not have to compromise. Here, I could get exceptional training while at a program that values me as an individual, not just another intern coming through the ranks.
In my time here so far, one thing that has surprised me is how responsive the program leadership has been to resident feedback, especially during the turbulent times we’ve experienced with COVID-19. The program has fostered an environment where constructive feedback is an expectation. This means that when something needs improvement, residents (and interns!) are encouraged to give their honest suggestions.
In this strange time, we are all adjusting to a new normal. However, despite the socially distanced noon conferences and masked social events, I have never felt at home so quickly. Every person I have worked with at UVA has been kind, patient, and supportive – and not just those with Internal Medicine, but this culture is hospital-wide.
As I reflect on my residency application process, and think about where I am now, I would have made the same decision over and over again. In times like these, and by that I mean residency in general and COVID-19, you need people on your side. At UVA, I feel supported in both my professional and personal goals, and I cannot imagine another program being such a great fit. And even though there is not one thing that I could say brought me to UVA, it has certainly been the people who have been a part of my experience so far that will keep me here.