Chief Residents

Chief resident photo

Welcome! We are excited that you are considering the University of Virginia Internal Medicine Residency Program.

Training at UVA has been a great experience, and  has equipped us with the tools to become leaders in medicine. Our program provides a perfect balance between hands-on patient care, dedicated faculty educators, and cutting-edge research opportunities.

As chief residents, we are proud that our program is resident-centered and unequivocally resident run. From service structures to conference schedule, residents are involved with the design of every aspect of the program.

We look forward to meeting you and introducing you to our residency program during interview season.

Welcome Message from Chief Residents

Chief Residents 2023 - 2024

Meet Kara Harrison, MD

Kara Harrison, MD

I am a lifelong Virginian and this will be my eighth year at UVA. My husband and I met at college at Virginia Tech. We then came to UVA for medical school and they haven’t been able to get rid of us yet! UVA is a tertiary hospital and referral center right in the middle of beautiful mountains, wineries, great restaurants and happy people. The landscape, outdoor activities and lifestyle are phenomenal.

Inside the hospital, I continue to be amazed by the patient-centered focus and comprehensive education. It is a wonderful community of genuinely kind people who have recognized that creating a good work environment benefits everyone, including the patients. You may be surprised to hear that my years in residency were some of the best of my life. This was because of the people you get to surround yourself with at UVA. In fact as I’m writing this, my co-residents are about to scatter to the wind for jobs and fellowships, and it feels like a family breaking apart.

My advice to someone with the daunting task of choosing a residency program would be to be honest with yourself. What do you want? Or better yet, what do you need? As we were couples’ matching into the same residency, we knew we would have very little exposure to people outside of the residency program. We were worried about simply making friends. We knew that the residents at UVA were a close crew, regularly having group activities with a blanket ‘everyone’s invited’ approach. We needed that community. So yes, I advise you to go looking for the obligatory ‘must have’ items such as exemplary education, research support and scholarship, mentoring tracts and opportunities, ect.  But then ask yourself what is special about you and your story, and what do you NEED. Make sure the program matches your professional and personal needs alike.

If you are a future interviewee looking to learn more about the program, we welcome you and can’t wait to meet you. Please reach out! I promise to be open and honest with the goal of creating a generation of happy, well-educated internists who would choose their residency program all over again.

Meet Margo Tanner, MD

Margo Tanner photo I grew up in northern NJ in a town called Ridgewood, just about 30 minutes from New York City. After high school, I quickly decided the cold weather wasn’t for me and ended up at Wake Forest in NC for both undergrad and medical school.  In med school, I met my fiancé, Ziyad, and my cat, Ewok. After graduating medical school, the three of us decided to move up here to Charlottesville and we have truly loved every moment of it.

When I think back to organizing my rank list, and why I made the decision to choose UVA, I felt an overwhelming sense of camaraderie and inclusion. Having gone through residency now, I can honestly say people treat each other here with respect, friendship, kindness, and patience. It has overall been an honor to join this community of intelligent, compassionate, and down to earth people.

One of my fears approaching residency 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/resident coming through the ranks.

As I reflect on my residency training, and think about where I am now, I would have made the same decision over and over again. In a residency program, 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 keep me here.

Meet Joseph Mort, MD

Joseph Mort, MD I grew up just outside of Pittsburgh, PA and attended the University of Pittsburgh for my undergraduate education. After graduating college, I made my way to Charlottesville for medical school at UVA. While at Pitt, I met my wife, Meredith, who joined me at UVA for her pharmacy residency. The two of us fell in love with Charlottesville for its small-town charm, beautiful landscape, and the collegial UVA culture. We enjoyed living here so much that we decided to stay to continue my internal medicine training with the UVA residency program.

The past three years of residency have lived up to my expectations and I would choose UVA internal medicine if I had to do it all over again. As someone interested in academic medicine, I found the opportunities to teach students and interns to be extremely gratifying, especially with the unique one resident to one intern team structure. Along with rigorous medical training, I have had the time and flexibility throughout residency to enjoy hobbies like playing soccer (Charlottesville has an impressively competitive rec league!), hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park, partaking in multiple ski trips with fellow residents, and enjoying craft beer and wine at beautiful breweries and wineries in the area. UVA internal medicine is truly special in its ability to find the perfect balance between the highest level of clinical training and opportunities for resident wellbeing.

I believe that UVA has prepared me to be a competitive applicant for fellowship through ample opportunities for scholarship and effective mentoring. The flexibility of the program’s schedule has allowed me to focus on areas of interest that will prepare me for my future career goals while ensuring a strong foundation in the breadth of internal medicine.

UVA is a truly special place to train, where I have learned how to practice medicine and grow in my professional identity. I am so excited to have the opportunity to serve as a chief resident and contribute to the education and experiences of our residents.

Meet John Popovich, MD

I grew up in Southern California, in a Los Angeles suburb called Redondo Beach. I spent most of my childhood as a sandy, salty beach kid, telling random passersby that I wanted to be a doctor when I grew-up. I moved two hours south to UC San Diego for undergrad, where I fell in love with running on the circuitous bike paths of Mission Bay. 

I found my way to UVA and Charlottesville for medical school thinking that it would be a fun “look at me, all grown-up and living away from home!” time-limited experiment. Now, though, Charlottesville is my home. With chief year I’m starting my eighth year here, and this is easily the best community of coworkers, mentors, and friends I’ve ever had.

Since I was a medical student here, I figured I knew what the IMR was all about. Truthfully, it has surpassed even my highest expectations. To quote a common UVA-ism, my co-residents and faculty are unfailingly “great and good.” True, they 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.)

None of this is to say we’re not rigorous. We have a smorgasbord of academia and rigor here. Medicine rounds have always been, 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.

Rising Chief Residents 2024-2025