Last week the Department of Medicine delivered news of the Chief Resident selections for 2019-2020 (pictured from left to right):
We are thrilled to see that two have chosen to follow careers in general internal medicine after they complete their residency training this June; Lowe in Palliative Care and Sloan in Health Services Research. To get to know these future GIM-ers a bit better, we decided to ask them some questions:
What brought you to Duke?
Lowe: After growing up in Cornelius, NC and then studying at UNC for 8 years for both undergraduate and medical school, I had every intention of leaving North Carolina and exploring somewhere new. But then I had my Duke interview for internal medicine. The day was exceptional – the camaraderie amongst the residents was amazing, and they were all incredibly welcoming. Dr. Zaas stood out as a program director for her positive energy and emphasis on how much she cared personally about the residents’ well-being and growth. Between the great people and the excellent clinical training, I was blown away. After that, I knew Duke was where I wanted to be, even though Durham was only a few miles away.
Sloan: When I thought of my ideal residency program, it was one that would require rigor, diligence, independent thinking and excellent teamwork, all while providing both great moral and professional support. When I interviewed at Duke, I found that it had all of these attributes, and more. Every high-achieving resident I met displayed a humility that I had not encountered at other programs. The atmosphere seemed like the perfect place to spend 3+ years becoming a better doctor and figuring out what I wanted my career to look like. The fact that my husband got into the Duke PA school that year was definitely a major plus as well.
"Every high-achieving resident I met displayed a humility that I had not encountered at other programs."
How did you choose your fellowship?
Lowe: One of the experiences that influenced my decision to train in palliative care the most was working on the inpatient oncology service. I admired the palliative care attendings’ holistic approach to patient care, and supporting patients and their families through those incredibly difficult times was one of the most rewarding parts of residency. Throughout the rest of my training, and in my personal life, I repeatedly witnessed patients and families feeling unprepared and grappling with major medical decisions only when a crisis had already occurred. I wanted to improve the current system, and I knew that the training of palliative care fellowship would help me in pursuing that goal.
Sloan: I have a background in health services research and have always known that I would return to it eventually. My main interests lie in understanding the impact of changes in national-level health policies on patient management, as well as the effect of out-of-pocket costs on patient adherence. I’ve been lucky to have incredibly supportive research and career mentors in David Edelman and Virginia Wang throughout residency. The VA HSR&D fellowship seems like the perfect fit: I’ll get to keep working with Virginia Wang and others in the GIM Division on projects that interest me, while also taking Master's level classes and leading resident teams on VA Gen Med.
How does it feel being chosen as a Chief Resident?
Lowe: I am incredibly honored to have been selected. Though that feeling is mixed in with intermittent anxiety about having to fill the shoes of so many great chiefs past, this is a huge privilege, and I’m looking forward to working alongside two fantastic co-chiefs!
Sloan: I'm so incredibly honored. I can't describe how happy I am to have been selected for such a cool position. It will be a huge responsibility and I hope I can do the job well!
"I’m looking forward to having more dedicated time to focus on building relationships with the house staff and helping them grow clinically and professionally."
What are you most looking forward to in your Chief Resident year?
Lowe: One of the challenges of being a resident is juggling numerous clinical duties with teaching and mentoring students and junior residents. I’m looking forward to having more dedicated time to focus on building relationships with the house staff and helping them grow clinically and professionally.
Sloan: It’s hard to pinpoint one thing, so I’ll pick three:
1) The opportunity to spend an extra year hanging out with Dr. Zaas, the Associate Program Directors, and all of the Duke IM residents
2) Understanding the inner workings of the residency program, the Department of Medicine, and the hospital in general
3) Precepting and teaching on both DRH Gen Med and at the DOC
What are your career goals after your fellowship and CR year?
Lowe: I owe much of what I have accomplished to the opportunities afforded me by North Carolina, and I plan to remain in the area serving the community that has given me so much. In addition to continuing clinical work, I am interested in exploring how our healthcare system can better integrate palliative care across the spectrum of care and working to expand access to and improve the quality of palliative care services in our state.
Sloan: I hope to build a career as a health services researcher and general internist at an academic institution.
A fun fact about yourself that people may not know?
Lowe: I narrowly ended up applying to medical school after initially planning to study naturopathic and traditional Chinese medicine.
Sloan: When I’m lazy and don’t feel like biking to work, I drive a scooter.
Sloan would also like to add that the runner up to her favorite things about chief year is the large number of donuts she will bring to DRH (and then share + eat) throughout the year.