Tyler Couch, MD

Start Year
2020

Basics

Hometown
Norman, OK

Where did you attend university/college?
Baylor University

Where did you attend medical school?
UT Southwestern

What are your career goals?
I want to be involved in academic medicine and medical education, but beyond that I'm not sure yet. I have interests in cardiology, palliative care, and the relationship between medicine, religion and bioethics.

"Duke truly checked all of the boxes I was looking for in a residency program. It provides an incredible clinical education, allowing residents to care both for patients from the local community with "routine" medical issues as well as patients from around the world who have traveled to Durham to receive complex care." 

-Tyler Couch

Reflections on the Duke Program

What were you looking for in a residency program?
Above all, I was looking for a program that would help me become the best clinician I could be. I wanted to go somewhere that had a diverse patient population, exposed me to a broad range of pathology, and had a strong focus on resident education. Additionally, like I mentioned above, my career interests are really all over the place. I wanted to join a program that could connect me with strong mentors across several fields and that had a track record of supporting residents with diverse clinical and scholastic interests.

 What are the strengths of the Duke Program?
Duke truly checked all of the boxes I was looking for in a residency program. It provides an incredible clinical education, allowing residents to care both for patients from the local community with "routine" medical issues as well as patients from around the world who have traveled to Durham to receive complex care. The program staff is highly focused on education – both in teaching residents and empowering us to become better teachers to our students and peers. The Duke Medicine program encourages its residents to pursue broad interests, whether those interests include bench research, public policy, or the humanities. Most of all, the program leadership has fostered a culture of residents who care deeply for each other and for their work without taking themselves too seriously. It is an incredible place to grow as a physician.

What are your observations about the relationships between faculty and house staff?
The relationship between faculty and house staff is absolutely one of the strengths of the program. The faculty are wonderful about fostering a sense of shared learning and collegiality, where each faculty member, resident, and student is viewed as having something important to teach the group. The culture of education and focused mentorship contributes greatly to our professional development as residents.

Tell us about your co-interns. What has helped you connect, support each other, and form friendships?
My co-interns are fantastic. Even in the midst of the strangeness of moving to a new city during a pandemic, the other interns in my class have gone out of their way to reach out to one another and support one another as we start the year. From zoom gatherings to group texts to socially distanced walks with interns who live in the same neighborhood, my co-interns have consistently found creative ways to encourage one another, even in the short time that we have been in Durham.

About Duke University and Durham

What has surprised you most about Duke?
I have been most surprised by how well Duke strikes the balance between encouraging autonomy and providing support. Faculty and upper level residents do a wonderful job of encouraging interns to make decisions and use the training we have received, while also ensuring that we feel supported every step of the way and never have to "worry alone." I was scared starting residency that it would be one extreme or the other, but the Duke program has found the balance that, at least for me, seems to work best to support my growth as a clinician.

What is the best thing about living in Durham and the Triangle?
I love the access to the outdoors. Especially during the era of COVID-19, when time outside seems extra valuable, living in a community that is so close to so many wonderful trails and parks has been incredible. Coming from a larger metropolitan area surrounded by concrete, the close access not only to community parks but also to the Appalachian Mountains and the coastline has been a breath of fresh air (no pun intended).

How does the Triangle appeal to people of diverse backgrounds?
One of the most pleasantly surprising things about the triangle has been how diverse its population is. The density of schools and academic institutions in the area – there are four large universities just in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area alone – attracts students and faculty from all over the country and across the world. Together with the rich history of many of the people who have been in Durham for generations, it makes the area an incredibly exciting and vibrant place to live.

Where did you choose to live and why?
We live in a townhouse in southwest Durham. It is very close to lots of stuff, including a Target and Chic-Fil-A. It's also only a 10 minute drive to Duke and 15 minutes to Chapel Hill. It's a convenient location and nestled into a neighborhood that is great for walking our dog.

What advice would you give to someone looking to move to Durham?
Look around at all of your options. Housing in Durham is super flexible. Unlike some bigger cities, you can afford to live in a lot of different places on a resident's salary in Durham. Not only are there some great apartments downtown, but there are also some really affordable houses to rent or buy that are within 10-15 minutes of Duke (most stuff in Durham is only 10-15 minutes away). If there is a certain type of place you are looking for, keep your eyes open, cause there will likely be an option that fits what you want.

What are your interests outside of medicine?
I enjoy reading, fly-fishing, hiking, and woodworking. My wife and I like to take our 4-year-old goldendoodle on walks around Durham, and during the pandemic we have been watching our fair share of Netflix (would highly recommend Money Heist and The Floor is Lava).