Joseph Wawrzynski, MD

Start Year
2019

Basics

Hometown
Durham, NC

Where did you attend college/university?
University of Notre Dame

Where did you attend medical school?
Brown University​- Warren Alpert Medical School 

What are your career goals?
I really enjoy the variety of internal medicine, and I look forward to the opportunity to grow as a well-rounded physician. I am still exploring career options, but at this point I am leaning towards gastroenterology. The breadth of pathology, range of acuity, and the opportunity to care for a variety of patients ranging from a young person dealing with newly diagnosed IBD to someone in the late stages of liver disease is something that really appeals to me.

What did you do the summer before intern year?
My wife and I were lucky enough to be able to travel to Japan and Italy and enjoy the incredible food, scenery, and hospitality of the people in both countries. We also celebrated the weddings of a few close friends and spent quality time with family.

"One of the things that stood out to me the most on my interview day was the culture of the internal medicine residency at Duke. The residents seemed to genuinely enjoy spending time together and had a palpable bond with each other. I’ve been happy to find that this has held true for my intern class.​"

-Joe Wawrzynski

Reflections on the Duke Program

What were you looking for in a residency program? 
I was looking for a program that would help me grow as a clinician and a person, with a tight-knit community and strong support from the faculty.

What are the strengths of the Duke Program?
The resources and research opportunities, the complexity of medical cases, the diversity of patients, and the broad exposure to all facets of medicine are all great strengths of the program. The people, however, are what truly make Duke stand out. My co-residents are the kind of people that I want to be around, learn from, and trust to care for my family and loved ones, and the faculty are the kind of physicians that I hope to someday become.

What are your observations about the relationships between faculty and house staff?
I have been impressed with how clearly the faculty are invested in our growth and development as physicians and people. In my experience, they have gone well above and beyond to teach and provide support and encouragement.

Tell us about your co-interns. What has helped you connect, support each other, and form friendships?
One of the things that stood out to me the most on my interview day was the culture of the internal medicine residency at Duke. The residents seemed to genuinely enjoy spending time together and had a palpable bond with each other. I’ve been happy to find that this has held true for my intern class. Whether it is gathering at the various apartment buildings and houses around Durham, exploring the restaurants and bars in the area, or bonding during long nights at the hospital, I have really enjoyed spending time with my co-interns and getting to know everyone better.

What has surprised you most about Duke?
Duke has a special identity of being a place full of incredibly bright and accomplished people who do not take themselves too seriously. Dr. Zaas and the APDs deserve a ton of credit for fostering such a fun and supportive culture.

About Duke University and Durham

What is the best thing about living in Durham and the Triangle?
The restaurant scene is fantastic – my wife and I love trying new restaurants, and we haven’t had a bad meal here. They make Durham feel like a much larger city, and there are a lot of great bars and breweries in the area too. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to choose from, including several golf courses, running/biking trails, and the Duke Gardens or Duke Forest trails to explore.

How does the Triangle appeal to people of diverse backgrounds?
Durham is a very diverse place, and people are drawn here from all backgrounds. The universities, hospital systems, and Research Triangle Park, with the affordable cost of living, attract people from all parts of the country to the Triangle. The area has grown a lot in recent years, and it really feels like there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Where did you choose to live and why?
My wife and I chose to live in an apartment building in Downtown Durham. We really liked the idea of being walking distance from many of the great restaurants, cafes, and bars in Durham (in addition to the Saturday morning Durham Farmer’s Market), and we appreciated the amenities of having a gym and pool in the building, all at a fraction of the cost of a larger city.

What advice would you give to someone looking to move to Durham?
Unlike in some pricier cities, there are many housing options available to you as a Resident in Durham. There are several apartment complexes downtown or closer to the campus/hospital, or you can choose to rent or buy a home. There are interns in my class who chose each of these options for various reasons. Decide on your priorities and explore accordingly.

What are your interests outside of medicine?
I enjoy spending time with my lovely wife and co-interns, exercising (running, biking, soccer), counteracting that exercise by eating good food, and taking advantage of the North Carolina climate by golfing when I’m outside of the hospital. I am also a die-hard Notre Dame Fighting Irish football fan.