Meet the M.D. Class of 2015
California native Ethan Beckley, Ph.D. ’09, bucked his family’s tradition of orange farming to focus on a different kind of cultivation: Improving human health through biomedical research. And he just can’t get enough of OHSU. Well that isn’t exactly true, what he really can’t get enough of is the kind of education that blends patient-centered clinical care with cutting-edge collaborative research.
When Ethan originally started college, he was sure he wanted to work in behavioral health, possibly as a therapist. However, after graduating from California State University at Chico with an undergraduate degree in psychology, Ethan – at the advice of his faculty and advisors – decided to pursue a doctoral program in behavioral neuroscience, a decision that brought him to the OHSU School of Medicine. But as much as he enjoyed the culture of research, throughout his doctoral program, Ethan never lost his desire to marry his passion for research with direct patient care.
Eventually, Ethan did find a way to put all the pieces together, by entering the M.D. program in 2011 to focus on psychiatry. As Match Day approaches, Ethan hopes to find his perfect match at an academic medical center where he can “structure his time in both the research and patient care worlds.” His interests lay in the fields of child and adolescent psychiatry, addiction medicine and women’s health psychiatry, which encompasses everything from studying ways to reduce teen suicide rates to developing treatment protocols for female veterans with PTSD.
Matched: Oregon Health & Science University, Psychiatry
Benjamin Holland is intimately familiar with the health care needs of rural Oregonians. He grew up in John Day, in Eastern Oregon, and spent much of his youth shadowing his family physician father at the hospital and clinic, meeting OHSU medical students and residents and getting first-hand exposure to the kind of commitment and training it takes to become a physician. These formative experiences shaped his desire to pursue a career in medicine—especially in a rural community.
A graduate from Boise State University, Ben has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Premedical Studies. During his time at OHSU, Ben co-led both the family medicine interest group and the rural medicine interest group. He was also actively involved in Oregon Rural Scholars, doing rotations in both Madras and Bend and participating in a retreat focused on wilderness medicine. Ben is grateful for the community-based training he received during these experiences, since it closely aligns with the environment in which he hopes to someday practice.
As he looks toward Match Day, Ben hopes to pursue a residency in family medicine in a location nearby his family. He’s signed an agreement with the National Health Service Corps to practice medicine in a high-need, underserved area. And, he also hopes to explore a fellowship in obstetrics. And speaking of babies, this dedicated future physician and family man expects to celebrate another milestone in the next week: He and his wife, Amanda, are eagerly awaiting the birth of their second son.
Matched: Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, Family Medicine
Susan Lou experienced the power of community first-hand as a medical student in the OHSU School of Medicine. She recalls, “My most memorable experience at OHSU was when one of our classmates was struggling with a cancer recurrence. In the spirit of the Japanese legend, our class coordinated the folding of 1,000 origami paper cranes as symbolic representation of our support during this difficult time. I was so moved and felt that it truly demonstrated the unity and camaraderie of our class.”
This Lake Oswego native holds a degree in Human Biology and a concentration in Community Health from Stanford University. Her focus on service has remained evident throughout her academic career, whether she’s leading the internal medicine interest group or participating in the OHSU Diversity Task Force. Today, Susan is completing a rotation at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland in the department of Endocrinology & Metabolism. Susan is the first OHSU student to participate in this program. She says, “It's been an honor to help patients from all over the world with rare diseases who view the NIH as a last beacon of hope.”
As she looks forward to Match Day and much-anticipated residency in internal medicine, Susan also has her eye set on continuing her ethic of service throughout her career. “At the heart of it, I am drawn to internal medicine by a resolve to help others reach their full potential.” She continues, “My dream is to serve as a clinician educator and researcher at an academic institution where I can foster intellectual curiosity and enable students to pursue their passions.”
Matched: University of Minnesota Medical Center, Internal Medicine
Gregory Scott caught on to what makes OHSU distinctive, and he ran with it. “Now I’m not just saying this—but there really is something special here, and I’ve heard it from others too. There’s this willingness to cross-pollinate, to work together, this openness that OHSU is known for,” he said. Raised in Portland, Greg received his undergraduate degree from the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon, where he pursued his dual passions of science and technology. When the time came for graduate school, Greg realized that he wanted to not only pursue medicine, but to also “keep his roots firmly in research.” OHSU was a natural fit.
As an M.D./Ph.D. candidate, Greg completed his doctoral coursework in the Jacoby Lab, studying issues related to pulmonary function and bioimaging. In his clinical program, Greg explored specialties ranging from thoracic surgery and bone marrow transplant to two rotations in pulmonary pathology at OHSU and the University of Colorado at Denver. In settling on a pathology specialty, Greg chose a career that “sits at the intersection between the clinic and research.” He said, “Pathology is also in an exciting phase of transformative adoption of powerful new technologies such as next genetic sequencing and digital pathology.”
As for his own career, Greg would like to pursue a fellowship in surgical/pulmonary pathology or molecular genetics after residency. Together, with his wife and young son, this future physician-scientist is positioned to continue OHSU’s collaborative and pioneering spirit no matter where his path may lead.
Matched: Stanford University, Pathology
Rakendu Shukla speaks three languages, has traveled to and volunteered in remote clinics in Gujarat, India and loves teaching and tutoring. While an undergraduate student studying neurobiology at the University of Washington, he also served as the President of the Indian Student Association, one of the largest student groups on campus.
Originally from Gaston, Ore., Rakendu has served on the Dean’s Advisors Committee helping advocate for and enhance the student experience and create camaraderie, as he did in 2012 organizing an interprofessional event that brought students from all disciplines together to discuss their futures in health care. He also helped create the now annually-held retreat for first-year medical students.
Looking back on his time at OHSU, Rakendu particularly enjoyed his clinical clerkships. “I had some truly unique opportunities as a student to really participate in the direct care of patients. I witnessed all stages of life – from helping deliver a beautiful baby, to performing CPR on an elderly patient in cardiac arrest. I am ever humbled by the resiliency of patients and the tireless compassion of physicians,” he said.
This 2014 Swindells Scholar hopes to specialize in radiation medicine and has a special interest in radiation oncology and clinical cancer research. He says, “I chose radiation oncology because it has all the various elements that I was searching for in a specialty…. I discovered through my rotations that it is a field that requires one to seamlessly blend human compassion with academic and advanced technical knowledge, including anatomy, 3D treatment planning and physics, all of which I thoroughly enjoy.”
Matched: University of California, Davis, Radiation Oncology
Abbie Tirrell wasn’t afraid of letting medical school interfere with her life plans. “Don’t put off other things you want in your life. I got married during medical school. I had a baby during medical school. You shouldn’t put off what you want to do. You can have your life too; you just have to figure out how to balance it all. When I was considering this, I thought to myself, ‘You’ll be 35 someday no matter what. You might as well be 35 and be a doctor.’”
She had an unusual path to medicine. After earning a degree in international studies and business at the University of Oregon, the Colorado native spent more than five years working with immigrant and refugee communities in Seattle and with Operation Smile coordinating international medical trips and programs. It was her experience with Operation Smile that led her to pursue a joint M.D. and masters of public health at OHSU.
Although she initially thought she might pursue a specialty in pediatrics or geriatrics, Abbie has found her passion in anesthesiology, a specialty that will provide her with lifelong opportunities to continue pursing international work. She said, “I liked the general work of anesthesiology, always working in different locations, meeting lots of different patients and participating in different kinds of surgeries. I also feel I’m good at quickly building rapport and trust with patients.”