Welcoming new OHSU residents and fellows

OHSU welcomes 280 new house officers, 30 of whom are School of Medicine graduates

July 22, 2014

OHSU welcomes 280 new residents and fellows to its Graduate Medical Education programs this year. The new house officers join thousands of their peers across the country as they enter their chosen field and don the long white coat symbolizing a physician.

Residents at GME orientationOne hundred and seventy-seven residents, including interns, and 103 fellows started their training in one of 78 OHSU GME programs in July. This includes post-graduate trainees new to OHSU, as well as those moving to another residency program or starting a fellowship. Interns and residents are typically new to post-graduate training, while fellows have completed at least one residency and are pursuing further specialization in their field.

"We are so pleased to welcome each of our new residents and fellows to the next chapter in their medical education. We look forward to following their success and anticipate their many great contributions as physician leaders at OHSU," said Patrick Brunett, M.D., FACEP, associate dean for GME.

New trainees include 30 OHSU School of Medicine graduates and 34 international medical school graduates from countries including Japan, England, Egypt and Singapore. This year, 53 percent of trainees are female, and 47 percent are male.

OHSU's residency and fellowship programs continue to be among the most competitive in the nation. This year, OHSU primary care specialties (pediatrics, internal medicine and family medicine) drew 5,732 applications for 69 slots, according to data from the National Resident Matching Program. Primary care specialties along with surgery and anesthesiology continue to make up the largest group, representing more than 60 percent of new trainees.  The remaining 17 sought-after programs include dermatology, emergency medicine, neurology and pathology.

According to estimates by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. faces a shortage of more than 91,500 physicians by 2020. The shortage is distributed among primary care and medical specialties such as general surgery, cardiology, and oncology. The aging of the population, along with the fact that millions of Americans are now insured through the Affordable Care Act, adds urgency to the need for physician workforce solutions.

Meet three of OHSU's new residents:


Family ties and family medicine

Tovi Anderson MDTovi Anderson, M.D., was completing her Ph.D. in genetics at Stanford University when she observed how the entire family is impacted when a patient is diagnosed with a genetic condition. "It was interesting to see how the whole family became involved in the experience of the patient, how the health of the individual person with the genetic condition, but also their entire family was impacted," she said. "I thought that's where I could make a difference." A growing interest in medicine led her to medical school at Emory University, and she matched to OHSU's family medicine program this spring.

Dr. Anderson said that specializing in family medicine will allow her to get to know individual families, and care for them as a whole. "I think it's a privilege to be involved in those really big moments like the birth of a child, or even the death of a family member, and to be able to be with patients and their families during those processes," she said.

Dr. Anderson's own family ties contributed to her decision to train at OHSU. Her younger sister is currently a fourth-year medical student at OHSU, and she joins her extended family in the Portland area. "Oregon means a lot to me and it's important to be able to take care of people in Oregon."  

Global vision for specialty care

Admire Kuchena MDBorn and raised in Zimbabwe, Admire Kuchena, M.D., saw first-hand the impact a physician shortage can have on a community which fueled his desire to become a medical professional. At the Mayo Medical School, he worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Zimbabwe, providing health care to rural parts of the country. "There are a good number of primary care physicians where I come from and they are doing a tremendous job, given the limited resources they have." He noticed, however, that when it came to specialized care, there was a limit to what physicians could do. "One of the reasons I chose anesthesia was being able to have that ability to bridge so many specialties at the same time in the operating room as well as outside the operating room," he said.

Dr. Kuchena said he felt at home at OHSU: "I was very impressed by not only the quality of education that residents have here, but also the amount of resources. I met a lot of people who shared the same interests that I had."

Homegrown trainee

Sawyer Smith MDOHSU School of Medicine graduate Sawyer Smith, M.D., credits the care his family received from physicians as a driving force behind his desire to become a doctor. "Looking back, my family would have been a lot different if some of the medical interventions that we received didn't happen," said Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith worked as an athletic coach before embarking on medical school, and was active in research when he matriculated to OHSU. During surgical rotations, he was impressed by both the challenges of general surgery and the breadth of the field.

Dr. Smith looks forward to staying in Portland where he can build on the knowledge he gained at OHSU and apply it during residency. "I really enjoyed the residents and the faculty I got to work with, and when I interviewed elsewhere I couldn't find a better program."