More than 250 new residents and fellows join OHSU School of Medicine

August 24, 2016

This summer, 256 new residents and fellows join OHSU School of Medicine Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs, including 186 entering trainees as well as 70 trainees moving from residency into fellowship. Overall 16,015 trainees from around the world applied for 279 open slots in OHSU's GME programs. Of the 256 residents who began practicing in July and August, 35 are OHSU School of Medicine graduates, up from 22 last year. 

"Portland feels like home, and the people at OHSU feel like my people," said Kate Watson, M.D. '16. "I've also had amazing mentors here, and it's hard to imagine finding the quality of people someplace else. In addition, while the program is very academic, you have the opportunity to practice in community and rural settings."

Kate Watson, M.D., surgery resident

This year's cohort of residents and interns include 17 international medical school graduates hailing from countries as far-ranging as Iran, New Zealand and Nigeria. In addition, 70 fellows began their training. Fellows have completed medical school and one residency and are now embarking on additional subspecialty training in their chosen field.

"Each year I look forward to the arrival of our residents and fellows. No matter where they come to us from, they bring incredible energy, compassion and innovation. We are so pleased to welcome these new physicians to OHSU," said George Mejicano, M.D., M.S., senior associate dean for education, OHSU School of Medicine.

Nationally, the 2016 Match for medical residency spots was the largest on record, encompassing 42,370 registered applicants and 30,750 positions, reported the National Resident Matching Program. The number of allopathic medical school senior students in the U.S. grew by 221 to 18,668, and the number of available first-year (PGY-1) positions rose to 27,860, which is 567 more than last year.

The growth in the number of U.S. seniors is attributed to such factors as rising medical school enrollments and the many new schools being established. Family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics have been especially popular among the new first-year positions.

These data reinforce the importance of additional GME training spaces. The Association of American Medical Colleges has called for an increase in federal support for physician training to address the health challenges of an aging and increasingly diverse population and a projected shortage of as many as 130,000 doctors by 2025.

Meet Kate Watson, M.D. '16, surgery resident

Why did you decide to remain for your residency at OHSU?

I worked at OHSU with the surgeons before med school, so I've been here about eight years. Portland feels like home and the people at OHSU feel like my people. I had amazing mentors here, and it's hard to imagine finding the quality of people someplace else. When I think of the chiefs I worked with, I would aspire to be most all of them. Also, the program is very academic, but you also have the opportunity to practice in community and rural settings. In addition, my fiancé, Paul Buck, M.D., D.D.S., is here. 

What are you excited about?

I'm excited about being able to experience academic, rural and community settings. A lot of programs are really academic and others are really community;our program balances. Even though I could decide to specialize, I want to know what life is like as a general surgeon. In community and rural settings, while some people do specialize, they all tend to practice more broadly. I think it's really valuable for residents to see how surgery is practiced in a variety of settings because we may be going into a different setting than an academic setting.

What do you anticipate will be the most challenging part of your residency?

As an intern, it's the first time we are practicing medicine, and we are learning and practicing decision making. The hardest thing is determining when you should take care of problems yourself and when to reach out for help. 

How will you take care of yourself during your residency? 

In the intern program, we are developing close friendships so when you're having a bad day, there is someone you can talk to. My fiancé and I also support each other well. We rigged up my Super Forester with a platform bed. So if we have 24 hours off, we can get away to Mt. Hood and camp. We just did it a few nights ago. I also have a black lab named Ducky and a lab/beagle named Avery. It's very nice to come home and have two wagging tails as you enter;you kind of refocus. In addition, the teams I've been on have very much been teams. I've felt supported and motivated.

Meet Nasser Yaghi, M.D., neurological surgery resident

Nasser Yaghi, M.D., neurological surgery residentWhere did you do your prior training and what attracted you to the residency at OHSU?

I previously trained at Baylor College of Medicine in the Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas. OHSU offers an incredible training opportunity as a major referral center for the Pacific Northwest and an amazing breadth of cases having an affiliated VA Hospital and children's hospital on the same campus. Additionally, OHSU is an institution highly invested in academic medicine, with great research opportunities that I am excited to take part in and capitalize on. Not to mention, the hospital is beautiful, with the most amazing views looking over Portland and the Willamette River.

What do you anticipate will be the most challenging part of your residency?

The most challenging aspect of residency will be enduring the relentless schedule day in, day out. But it is part of the process, and only makes you better. I'm up for the challenge. 

How will you face challenges in your residency?

To get here, I think every resident has been through many challenging experiences and situations that make you stronger. I believe it is the sum total of these experiences that allow one to be here now. With each new level, there are new challenges that need to be overcome. It will be no different for this next level, residency. I think the key is you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you're not uncomfortable with the challenge, then you are not growing. It is continued growth that makes our time worthwhile.

How will you take care of yourself during your residency?

To me, working out and eating healthy are two important aspects of taking care of yourself. So I try to exercise four to five times per week and keep a healthy diet. "Eat right, be right." And with exercising, it was said "A strong mind makes a strong body," and I believe the inverse is also true, they go hand in hand. 

OHSU has an incredible gym, the March Wellness Center in the Center for Health & Healing. I was so grateful to win the new resident raffle this year for a one-year free membership! I have greatly enjoyed taking advantage of this. Portland and the Pacific Northwest has a lot of natural beauty, and with the wonderful summer weather, I have also really enjoyed going for bike rides around the city and also exploring the many hiking trails just outside of the city.