Chief Residents

The Chief Resident position is a tremendous investment in leadership made by the Department of Medicine, and the Chiefs serve as key leaders for the program. Chiefs are selected for their exceptional clinical and leadership skills.

The chiefs work as a team to provide leadership and support of the key missions of the residency program and function as mentors and advocates for the residents. While each chief has separate responsibilities at their primary site (Duke, Durham VA Medical Center, Duke Regional Hospital, and VA Quality/Safety), the camaraderie among the chiefs sets a positive tone for the program and allows us to accomplish the many goals we set for the year.  It’s no secret that the Chief Residents form bonds with each class that lasts beyond the Chief year.

Notably, many former chief residents remain on faculty at Duke, serving in leadership positions throughout the health system, including President of DUHS (Dr. Tom Owens), Associate Chief of Service at the DVAMC (Dr. David Simel), Associate Chief Medical Officer (Dr. Jon Bae), Chief Division Chief of Cardiology (Dr. Manesh Patel), Division Chief of Gastroenterology (Dr. Andrew Muir), Division Chief of Geriatrics (Dr. Cathleen Colon-Emeric), head of the Pepper Center of Aging (Dr. Heather Whitson), fellowship directors for Infectious Diseases (Dr. Eileen Maziarz), Oncology (Dr. Richard Riedel), Pulmonary (Dr. Stephen Bergin) and Endocrinology (Dr. Matt Crowley), Associate Program Directors (Dr. Jenny Van Kirk and Dr. Joel  Boggan), housestaff PWIM Liason (Dr. Jenn Rymer) and housestaff MRRC Liason (Dr. Omobonike Sanders).

In recent years, the chief residents have been responsible for reorganizing the noon conference series, instituting leadership training for JARs at the VA, developing well-being programming and evaluating patient flow on the general medicine services. In addition, the chiefs galvanize the competition for our annual Turkey Bowl, lead recruitment of new interns and have a tradition of providing entertainment at the annual Department of Medicine Holiday Party.

Chief residents are chosen during the SAR (PGY-3) year and serve as chief residents with a faculty appointment during their PGY-5 year. Typically, Chief Residents complete a fellowship or hospital medicine faculty year during the PGY-4 year and return to their fellowship or hospital medicine position after completion of the chief year.

Current Chief Residents

The 2022-23 chief residents, pictured above from left to right, are Ryan Duffy, MD; Nathaniel Harris, MD, PhD; Sara Coles, MD; and Lonnie Sullivan, MD

Learn more about them below:

  • Ryan Duffy, MD is chief resident for quality and patient safety at the Durham VA Medical Center.
  • Nathaniel Harris, MD, PhD is chief resident for Duke Regional Hospital and ambulatory medicine in the various Duke Medicine outpatient clinics. 
  • Sara Coles, MD is chief resident for the Durham VA Medical Center. 
  • Lonnie Sullivan, MD is chief resident for Duke University Hospital. 

Future chiefs

The 2023-2024 chief residents will be Nathan Hirshman, MD; Michael Cosiano, MD; and Ann Cameron Barr, MD.