Tanya Aylward, MD

Start Year
2015

Basics

Hometown
Santa Barbara, CA

Where did you attend college/university?
Stanford University

Where did you attend medical school?
Oregon Health & Science University

What are your career goals?
I taught Human Biology at Stanford before medical school. I will find a way to incorporate medical education and teaching into whatever medical career path I choose! I am interested in both GI and Nephrology specialties.

I think West Coasters are more predisposed to view Duke as an "East Coast" program in terms of feel and formality - but I have not found this to be the case. It IS possible for faculty to be approachable and relatable while maintaining very high performance standards for house staff.

Reflections on the Duke program

What were you looking for in a residency program?
My top criteria for a residency program were "quality of life", academic rigor/reputation, and finding a program where my spouse would be happy (including ample job opportunities). The most difficult part was determining what "quality of life" meant to me. In the end, I decided this meant choosing a program with a strong family feel (so I felt supported despite my insane work hours), in a fun new area of the country, preferably on the "x + y" system so I would have predictable weekends off. I also relied on gut feeling from the applicant dinners.

What are the strengths of the Duke program?
Family feel, 4 + 1 (2) schedule intern year, intense school pride, diverse residents, reputation of excellence, location in North Carolina, free lunch every day!

What are your observations about the relationships between faculty and house staff?
I went to medical school in Oregon, home of the world's nicest people. I had not anticipated that Duke faculty would be as friendly and easygoing as the faculty I had encountered in Oregon. I think West Coasters are more predisposed to view Duke as an "East Coast" program in terms of feel and formality - but I have not found this to be the case. It IS possible for faculty to be approachable and relatable while maintaining very high performance standards for house staff.

Tell us about your co-interns. How long did it take to connect?
About two seconds. This is one of those unique times in our lives when everyone is looking to make friends - Just like the first week of college or medical school.

About Duke University and Durham

What's best about living in Durham and the Triangle?
Proximity to mountains for hiking and to the ocean for weekend getaways. Last week my family and I took a road trip along the coast, starting with the Outer Banks on the northern NC coast, to Myrtle Beach and Charleston, SC, and ending in Savannah, GA. After all that, it was less than a five hour drive back to Durham.

Where did you choose to live, and why?
I chose to live in a mid-range apartment complex within walking distance of Duke Hospital (~15 min walk). Walking to work makes every day seem more enjoyable for me.

Based on your life, what advice would you give about moving to Durham?
If you are planning on staying for a few years and don't already own property, buy a house! They are very affordable!

What do you like to do outside of medicine?
Hike, explore new bars and restaurants in the area, travel, sleep, take trips to the coast or mountains, spend time with family.