Harrison Matthews, MD

Start Year
2021

Basics

Hometown
Leonardtown, MD

Where did you attend college/university?
University of Florida

Where did you attend medical school?
University of Florida

What are your career goals?
I am still a bit undifferentiated! Considering cardiology or hematology/oncology.

Reflections on the Duke Program

What were you looking for in a residency program?
Strong clinical training, abundant research opportunities, and an atmosphere that was positive + collegial.

What are the strengths of the Duke Program?
I would say first and foremost it would be ~the people.~ This will get mentioned on the interview trail to the point where it becomes cliche, but I can at least say from my n=1 experience that the people here are genuinely outstanding. I am one month in to residency, and I already feel a strong sense of belonging within the program. It is truly a family (#dukefam), and I have felt so supported by the faculty and staff. The clinical training, mentorship, and education have been fantastic too.

What are your observations about the relationships between faculty and house staff?
The faculty are brilliant yet down to earth, and have a genuine passion for teaching. The attending physicians I have worked with do not believe in the typical academic hierarchy, and are willing to help with any tasks we might be struggling with, no matter how large or small. I have enjoyed the open discussions we have about patient care decisions, and have always felt encouraged to voice my opinion (even if I'm wrong!).

Tell us about your co-interns. What has helped you connect, support each other, and form friendships?
Clearly there is a lot of thought that goes in to selecting each upcoming class of interns, as my co-interns are easily some of the kindest people I have met. I can tell that many of my co-interns will be life long friends. Whether it's swimming at the Eno Rock Quarry or eating tacos at Mi Calvillo, we make the most of our free time hanging out as a class.

What has surprised you most about Duke?
Just how helpful and supported I have felt as a new intern. My upper level residents in particular have been amazing role models for me, and they provide the perfect amount of autonomy. I feel empowered to take on responsibility in caring for my patients, but have never felt alone or isolated.

About Duke University and Durham

What is the best thing about living in Durham and the Triangle?
As someone that loves the outdoors, I appreciate being able to drive ten minutes and make it to a mountain biking or hiking trail. Durham + the Triangle has everything that you would want in a large metropolitan area, but at the same time has plentiful outdoor recreation opportunities. Looking forward to some seasons too!

Where did you choose to live and why?
I chose to live in an apartment in the 9th Street area. Everyone has a different opinion on how close one should live to the hospital, but for me I like to be able to bike to work quickly. 9th Street also has plenty of restaurants nearby and is close to downtown.

What advice would you give to someone looking to move to Durham?
One of the best parts about Durham is the affordable cost of living and the abundance of housing options. When choosing a place to live, I basically just asked the current residents for advice and went from there.

What are your interests outside of medicine?
Being outside, whether that be hiking, camping, mountain biking, or snowboarding! I'm also a bit obsessed with music, podcasts, and any show on HBO (GoT, The Wire, Sopranos). And last but not least, I love dragging my friends in to hand wavy debates about topics we poorly understand.