Tsion Aberra, MD

Start Year


Oakland, CA


Medical School
Yale School of Medicine

What are your career goals? 
I'd ultimately like to work as a cardiologist. I'm also interested in clinical cardiovascular research, particularly around atherosclerosis and prevention of cardiovascular events.

What did you do the summer before internship?
I hung out in West Palm Beach for a bit and also performed at the Bonaroo Music Festival in Tennessee. I, along with some other ladies from college, sang back-up vocals for the international artist, Angelique Kidjo. And then we went honky-tonking.

I wanted to be pushed to become a great physician, but I also wanted to be encouraged to be myself and enjoy the process. Duke had the perfect mix of both. People here are so driven, but at the same time, very down-to-earth and balanced.

Reflections on the Duke Program

What were you looking for in a residency program? 
I was looking for a program that was welcoming, community-oriented, but also rigorous. I wanted to be pushed to become a great physician, but I also wanted to be encouraged to be myself and enjoy the process. Duke had the perfect mix of both. People here are so driven, but at the same time, very down-to-earth and balanced.

What are the strengths of the Duke program? 
One of the major strengths of the Duke program is the incredible accessibility of program leadership, mentors, faculty, and staff. If ever I need something, I can simply reach out and ask. And more often than not, I don't even need to ask. For example, in the beginning of intern year, before I even got around to thinking about mentorship, the program set me up with one advisor, two mentors and a session on how to effectively utilize mentorship relationships! Needless to say, I feel well-supported.

What are your observations about the relationships between faculty and house staff?
I think Duke house staff feel very comfortable working with the faculty. On many occasions I've seen residents and attendings joking with one another. These relaxed work relationships allow us to enjoy the work environment and never take ourselves too seriously, which I appreciate. At the same time, I have witnessed firsthand how dedicated the faculty are to promoting our continued learning.

Tell us about your co-interns. How long did it take to connect? 
We got connected before we ever set foot on Duke's campus. It started with email introductions, then Facebook, then Group Me and now it's pretty much a constant stream of meet ups. I've been told we're unusually tight-knit.

What has surprised you most about Duke? 
I'm surprised by how friendly and welcoming Duke faculty and staff are. I had been told that Duke had a reputation of being quite rigorous and I had mistaken that to imply that the people might be less friendly. Also, I had previously thought of faculty-resident relationships in general as being primarily hierarchical. I've been pleasantly surprised.

About Duke University and Durham

What's best about living in Durham and the Triangle? 
Durham is an active place! People are always on the move. Biking, hiking, community fairs and the like seem to always be taking place somewhere in Durham. Yesterday I drove back from a beach trip and found myself surrounded by a parade of bikers in what must have been a community 5K of sorts. At the same time Durham has a lot of great food, music, theater, and nature to offer. I enjoy going to downtown Durham for the occasional happy hour or evening out. There are several music festivals that are really good. Finally, DPAC seems really cool! I'd like to check it out sometime when I get a chance.

How does the Triangle appeal to people of diverse backgrounds? 
The Triangle is great because it attracts people from all over to learn, work and innovate. The area is very progressive and welcoming of different cultures and backgrounds.

Where did you choose to live, and why? 
I chose to live in South Durham, which is smack dab in the middle of Research Triangle Park, Durham and Chapel Hill. It seemed like the perfect place to have access to several different communities and opportunities. Additionally, the property values were just right.

Based on your life, what advice would you give about moving to Durham? 
If you come from big cities like New York, Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC, etc. be prepared for things to be quite spread out. Chances are you won't be able to walk from your house to the grocery store. But you'll have plenty of parking and affordability can't be beat. Instead, you'll probably find yourself getting your exercise at the gym or out in nature. My advice would be to take full advantage of the extra space you gain by moving down here. I've started gardening and I get a real kick out of eating my own homegrown vegetables. I've also started swimming a lot more now that I have access to a pool. Plus, it's really easy to grab a few friends and head out to a lake. 

What do you like to do outside of medicine? 
I like to go dancing. Occasionally this involves salsa. I also love brunch and happy hour, or just going out for meals in general. We've done a lot of eating out around town as an intern class.