Not having gone to medical school in the US, I was a little nervous starting residency . . . My fears were allayed on my very first day of intern year when everyone on the team did everything they could to make me feel welcome.
My interview day was the first time I'd visited AFCH. Even though I had never met any of the residents before, I didn't feel displaced even for a second. The kinship the residents shared was evident from as early on as the pre-interview dinner and was (and still is!) one of my favorite things about the program.
Not having gone to medical school in the US, I was a little nervous starting residency especially about learning EMR and "getting used to the system." My fears were allayed on my very first day of intern year when everyone on the team did everything they could to make me feel welcome.
Since then, my appreciation for our faculty, staff and most importantly my co-residents has only grown. The camaraderie our team shares is what sets this program apart from all others. It is something I get to experience everyday at AFCH, not just between the interns and upper level residents, but also between the nursing staff and the numerous different care teams that work together to provide the best patient care possible. Be it Global Health, Patient Advocacy forums or Clinical Research, there are always opportunities to seek mentors in whichever area of medicine you're interested in. As residents, we are pushed to take on more responsibility and make independent decisions, all the while knowing that help is always around should we need it.
Aisha Ansar, MD (PGY-3)
As a couple matching into the same program, Hannah and I were a little nervous about what life would be like while being in the same program. I can confidently say that since the day we interviewed, we have felt nothing but welcomed and supported.
Despite moving amidst a pandemic and national social unrest, the program and current residents went above and beyond to make us feel welcomed. Our intern class comes from all different parts of the country and world and have a truly varied background. Many of my co-interns actually couples-matched to the program or had a significant other already in a UW program.
As a couple matching into the same program, Hannah and I were a little nervous about what life would be like while being in the same program. We wondered if it would be more a challenge for the program and if the challenges of our unique situation would make us look unfavorable. I can confidently say that since the day we interviewed, we have felt nothing but welcomed and supported.
It was clear that the program did the best they could to help give us schedules that would be as conducive as possible to maintaining a happy relationship. In fact, we even found a way to have all our vacation weeks together! I understand that our situation is fairly unique, however I feel very strongly that it represents the flexible, understanding, and caring nature of the UW pediatric program.
Tyler Sternhagen, MD (PGY-3)
The first time I set foot in Wisconsin was the day I got off the plane with my 7-month-old daughter, knowing that this would be our home for at least the next three years.My husband and I wanted to move to Madison to provide a better life for our daughter than we could afford where we were from in California, and we wanted to settle in a family-friendly community where we could see ourselves for many years. Ever since my interview day, I have been nothing but impressed by both the UW program and everything the surrounding community has to offer. The warmth and openness with which my family and I were received by the UW residents and faculty was more than I could have hoped for in our first few weeks of moving to Wisconsin. The residents here are so close, and faculty are welcoming and approachable. It was important to me to have a program that celebrated and supported our families and relationships outside of residency, and that is most certainly true here. I personally feel that all of the residents and faculty I have had the honor of working with are invested in both my education and training as well as my and my family’s well-being. Many programs say that they are dedicated to residents’ well-being; however, even in just my short time here at UW, that commitment has been demonstrated to me time and time again, and I believe really does lie at the core of UW’s values.Outside of work, my family and I are absolutely in love with Madison. We love the outdoors and there is no shortage of gorgeous hiking trails and lakefront exploring, all within minutes of our home. We are obsessed with the zoo, the arboretum, the museums, and the Madison food scene. There might actually be too much to do, if that’s possible, and it is all affordable, accessible, and family-friendly. Ultimately, I am so happy that I chose UW-Madison for my training, and my family and I are looking forward to all the future adventures Madison has to offer!
Carlee Blakemore, MD (PGY-1)
In my 4th year of medical school, I did a visiting rotation in Madison with Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, and UW immediately felt like home.The thing that impressed me most about UW was the culture of teaching. Every single person that I came in contact with (residents, fellows, attendings, and even nurses) took a personal interest in my education and was eager to pass along their knowledge and skills. This culture of teaching has been even more evident since beginning residency. A portion of our intern orientation even focuses on how to teach medical students, as well as effective methods of giving and receiving feedback.There is also an incredible warmth about the people here, which took me by surprise given that it is an academic institution. The people I have worked with genuinely care about the patients and families we take care of, as well as the people they work alongside.
Brianna Gerhartz, DO (PGY-1)
Orchestrating moving to the US and joining AFCH in the middle of the pandemic was not without anxiety and some sleepless nights, especially as I had no previous medical training in the US.When my training was delayed initially, I was immediately connected with faculty members of the Global Health and PUBLISH tracks that I had expressed interest in joining. I was surprised at how encouraging faculty members are and how easy it was to connect with mentors and start working on projects. Senior residents and co-residents were just as supportive in accelerating my practical adaptation to navigating the system and EMR, which at first seemed daunting. Feedback was readily accepted with change to educational curricula incorporated to enhance resident training and educational experience, especially for IMGs.As I move forward in my training, I can appreciate the trust and autonomy that increase with every year as residents have a greater scope of responsibility with every year as we train to become independent pediatricians ready to take on the next step in our careers.
Jack Koueik, MD (PGY-2)
Beginning residency is a bit terrifying for everyone, but from the moment orientation started, the senior residents, faculty, and residency leadership did everything they could to ease our transition into a whole new world of practicing medicine.
During orientation, residency leadership talked about their most difficult or most embarrassing moment of intern year. This helped emphasize to me that even these successful individuals had difficult days as well. This humility permeates through the rest of the residents, faculty, and leadership within the residency program.
The Global Health Pathway and PUBLISH Pathway were both huge contributors to my decision to attend UW Madison for residency! There is so much good that we can do within our field through research and global health, and Madison provides incredible, passionate mentors and supervisors to help us, as residents, determine where we can help and benefit others within these areas and how we can get there!
Faculty and residency leadership aren't the only people passionate about helping residents reach their full potential in this residency program. I have been overwhelmed by the kindness, encouragement, and support I have found among residents in my own class as well as amongst other classes! Whether it is looking for recommendations for dog walkers, where to get a haircut, or what you should do in a specific clinical situation, our group chat is always going and people are so quick to offer advice and recommendations!
UW-Madison is an amazing institution overflowing with resources and opportunities, combined with people at every level that genuinely care about you as a person, a learner, and a developing pediatrician! Madison is a great place to learn and grow!
Rachel Reamer, MD (PGY-2)