Alexander Sullivan, MD

Start Year
2017

Basics

Hometown
Cranston, RI

Where did you attend college/university? 
The College of William and Mary

Where did you attend medical school?
George Washington University

What are your career goals? 
I hope to do a fellowship in cardiology and become a clinician educator.

What did you do the summer before internship? 
I spent time at home going to the beach and kayaking with my parents' dog Wilson (yes, he is named after the volleyball from the movie Castaway!)

It is amazing that even though Duke’s faculty comprise some of the most accomplished researchers and astute clinicians in the country, everyone is on the same team when it comes to patient care and is eager to support each other regardless of training level. They are interested in getting to know the residents on a personal level and want to get involved in our personal and professional development, which I think is truly unique. 

Reflections on the Duke Program

What were you looking for in a residency program? 
I was looking for a “residency family” and a place that would support me through residency. At Duke, there was such a strong sense of community not just between the residents, but also among the faculty and program leadership. On my interview day, I knew that I wanted to be part of the Duke community.

I was also looking for a program that would challenge me to be the best clinician I could be and would also help me to find the “plus factor” of my career, whatever that may be. Duke is definitely a place that will support any interest I might develop and has faculty on the cutting edge of everything from clinical research to medical education. There is definitely a buzz in the air when you come to Duke that is unlike any other place I’ve experienced. 

What are the strengths of the Duke program? 
Definitely the people! From the most accomplished faculty to all my co-interns, everyone at Duke is not only down-to-earth, friendly, and supportive but also incredibly inspirational. I learn from my friends every day I come to work. There are also so many opportunities to pursue any interest you might have in medicine in addition to clinical work.

What are your observations about the relationships between faculty and house staff? 
The faculty at Duke are very enthusiastic about engaging with residents. They are excited to teach and are incredibly approachable. It is amazing that even though Duke’s faculty comprise some of the most accomplished researchers and astute clinicians in the country, everyone is on the same team when it comes to patient care and is eager to support each other regardless of training level. They are interested in getting to know the residents on a personal level and want to get involved in our personal and professional development, which I think is truly unique. 

Tell us about your co-interns. How long did it take to connect? 
Our intern class started having social events as soon as we all started moving to Durham. Before we knew it, we had a Google calendar to coordinate our hangouts. By the time we got to orientation icebreakers we were already great friends. I couldn’t dream of having a more supportive, fun, and intelligent group of friends as co-interns. 

What has surprised you most about Duke? 
When they say #DukeFamily, they really mean it. From the chair of medicine right down to the medical students, Duke couldn't be a more welcoming and supportive place. There are a million opportunities here and everyone wants to help you take advantage of them. The faculty and the administration truly care about residents and are dedicated to ensuring we have the best residency experience and education.

About Duke University and Durham

What's best about living in Durham and the Triangle? 
The Durham area has a little bit of everything. There is a huge brewery scene here and tons of amazing restaurants. There are so many things to do outdoors, from hiking to swimming to listening to live music. The beach and the mountains are a short ride, but you could never leave the Triangle and never get bored.

Where did you choose to live, and why? 
I choose to rent a small house with a friend about 2 miles from Duke Hospital near the downtown area. Having lived in a city apartment during medical school, I wanted to be able to have a backyard and porch and be able to have my own quiet retreat. There are many great and affordable options for housing in the area.

Based on your life, what advice would you give about moving to Durham? 
Coming from Washington, DC, Durham has a small town feel, which is exactly what I wanted. It has been great for a busy resident schedule and I’ve enjoyed that the city has a vibrant and friendly identity. Everyone has been so welcoming and, with almost no traffic, you’ll have time to explore the city after work! 

What do you like to do outside of medicine? 
I love being outside so I’ve taken advantage of the hiking trails just 20 minutes from Duke. I’ve also been getting together with my co-interns to explore all the outdoor dining options. Every Thursday, a group of the medicine residents and their significant others have been gathering at a local bar near the Durham Bulls stadium and it has been a ton of fun getting to know all the medicine residents.