Zach Lorsch, MD, PhD

Start Year
2020

Basics

Hometown
Oceanside, New York

Where did you attend university/college?
Cornell University

Where did you attend medical school?
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

If applicable, what other degrees do you hold and from what institutions?
PhD in Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

What are your career goals?
I aspire to become a physician-scientist studying interactions between the gastrointestinal system and nervous system. My goal is to run an independently-funded laboratory while simultaneously practicing gastroenterology in a clinical sub-discipline related to my area of research.

Reflections on the Duke Program

What are the strengths of the Duke Program?
As an aspiring physician-scientist strongly considering fast-tracking, I was looking for a program to quickly accelerate my clinical development by providing me with early opportunities to advance my knowledge in patient care. I believe that the Duke Internal Medicine Residency provides the perfect balance between "autonomy" and "supervision" so that each resident is challenged, and can advance their knowledge and skills, without being overwhelmed. In addition, I was looking for a program with a strong research tradition, and a significant base of support for physician-scientists, which I believe is clearly present at Duke through programs like the Physician Scientist Training Program, Office of Physician Scientist Development, and the Lefkowitz society. Finally, I was looking for a program with strong camaraderie among the residents and continue to be impressed by how much the "Duke Family" mantra that I learned about on my interview day rings true.

What are your observations about the relationships between faculty and house staff?
I continue to be amazed how invested the faculty are in each residents' individual development. Each and every attending I have been on service with has started the rotation by asking all about me, my background, and my goals, and then tried to incorporate that into our time together. It's very much a "mini mentoring" environment, which I really love!

Tell us about your co-interns. What has helped you connect, support each other, and form friendships?
My co-intern class is amazing. Despite starting right in the middle of a pandemic, we have found a way to form a community and support each other whenever necessary. Everyone has such an interesting story and brings something else to the table, and everyone is a wonderful and caring physician who is also genuinely concerned about the well-being of their co-residents.

"While the focus is always on delivering excellent patient care and advancing residents' education, the culture is very much so that these tasks are done in the most friendly and welcoming way."

-Zachary Lorsch

About Duke University and Durham

What has surprised you most about Duke?
While the focus is always on delivering excellent patient care and advancing residents' education, the culture is very much so that these tasks are done in the most friendly and welcoming way. Even when things are extremely busy, almost nothing gets sacrificed in terms of professionalism and courtesy, which makes it an amazing environment to grow as a resident.

What is the best thing about living in Durham and the Triangle?
The outdoors! There are so many wonderful places to go. Even during the pandemic, there are so many amazing nature trails and outdoor museums that continue to cater to triangle residents. In addition, coming from Manhattan, I was expecting to have quite a reduction in food options here in the Triangle but I have been so impressed by the restaurants and grocery stores in the area. Finally, the Triangle is such a family-friendly area and I love going on walks and hikes with my one-year-old Charlie, wife Annie, and dog Oso.

How does the Triangle appeal to people of diverse backgrounds?
Between Raliegh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, the triangle is a multicultural area with a ton of diversity and industry (biotech, hospitals) that draws people from around the country and world. There are great cultural events through performing arts communities in all 3 areas and having two major universities nearby is a huge pull for national tours for music, art, and theater.

Where did you choose to live and why?
I chose to live in Hope Valley Farms North. We have a house with a fenced-in backyard for the dog, a playground around the block for our son, and an easy 13 minute commute to Duke Hospital/the VA for me. We love the area, the easy accessibility to everywhere (we joke that everything is "10 to 15 minutes away"), and the abundance of outdoor space.

What advice would you give to someone looking to move to Durham?
Explore all the different neighborhoods! They all have advantages and different "feels". Find something that's closest to your interest.

What are your interests outside of medicine?
I have been playing the guitar since I was 10 years old and love attending concerts and music festivals. In addition, I am a huge hockey fan (go Rangers, though I may let the Hurricanes grow on me to be my #2 team). Outside of this, I like hiking, biking, and being outdoors. Most importantly, though, I love spending time with my wife Annie, dog Oso, and son Charlie.