Karen  Young
Junior Assistant Resident
House Staff


Pewaukee, WI

Duke University

Medical School
Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine

What are your career goals?
I am interested in pursuing a fellowship in GI/Hepatology. My goal is to have a job at an academic center so I can balance clinical time with teaching and research.

Reflections on the Duke Program

What were you looking for in a residency program?
I was looking for a program that has excellent clinical training, as well as a collaborative and supportive culture. I also wanted to train somewhere with both an academic hospital, as well as a VA hospital to have some diversity in my training experiences.

What are the strengths of the Duke Program?
Duke's program has an excellent breadth of clinical experiences, including "bread and butter" cases given the large population we serve, as well as the more rare cases that are diagnostically challenging. I think the biggest strength of Duke's program is the warm and inviting atmosphere for housestaff. Even though I am at the beginning of my intern year, I can already tell how excited faculty are to teach, and how willing co-residents are to help each other out. Working in a collaborative environment makes it fun and I am excited to go into work each morning because of my co-residents!

What are your observations about the relationships between faculty and house staff?
The faculty are so supportive of housestaff. On my first "senior-less" day this year as an intern, my attending made sure to be close by to answer any questions I had and to make me feel supported. Additionally, faculty on the outpatient side are excited to have us join them in clinic, and always provide teaching on the patients we see. I recently emailed many faculty for the Stead Tread foundation fundraiser that Duke IM puts on every year, and I was pleasantly surprised by how many faculty responded by saying they were excited to work with me on the wards, in addition to signing up for the fundraiser 5k.

Tell us about your co-residents. What has helped you connect, support each other, and form friendships?
My co-residents are amazing! Someone made a group chat for all of us interns, and we have connected with running, biking, and hiking groups, game nights, happy hour, and pool parties. I have loved how much everyone is willing to get to know each other and foster friendships, despite the busy schedule. The +2 schedule has been amazing for finding a little free time where a good chunk of my co-residents all have the same weekend days off so that we can do fun activities together.

What has surprised you most about Duke?
I went to Duke for undergrad, and moved to Chicago for medical school and was surprised by how much Durham/Duke have grown since I left! The young adult population in the triangle has exploded - in a good way! The restaurants, bars, music scene and festivals seem to all have increased, and it makes it great to meet other young people who are not necessarily in medicine.

About Life in Durham

What is the best thing about living in Durham and the Triangle?
The access to the outdoors! I love trail running, and being able to just run from my apartment to the Duke Forest, or jump in my car and drive a quick 10 minutes to the Eno State Park for some hiking or running is amazing. Durham has many great paved trail options as well, which are good for running, walking, and biking. And I think the community of the Triangle and Durham attracts people who like being outside, so it is easy to find people to do outdoorsy things with!

How does the Triangle appeal to people of diverse backgrounds?
There's many options of things to do outside of work here - music scene, hiking, biking, food options, etc. And within each of those things to do, there are a wide variety of people doing them, so I think people find that no matter where they come from, they can find a community here in Durham and the Triangle.

Where did you choose to live and why?
I choose to live in an apartment complex that is about a 5 min drive from the hospital. My partner is not in medicine and wanted to live in a place that had a sense of community so he could adapt to a new city, and also wanted to be walking distance to Ninth street for the food/activity options there. It's great for running too, because you can get to the Ellerbee Creek trail or the duke forest without driving!

What advice would you give to someone looking to move to Durham?
Don't be afraid of a drive or bike commute to work! I came from a big city and really enjoyed being walking distance to work, but now I drive (and am hoping to bike once I get a bike) and there is hardly any traffic so it is not a hassle. Walking is convenient, but there are so many amazing places to live in Durham, that I wouldn't let walking distance be a barrier to looking for places to live.

What are your interests outside of medicine?
Distance running, water-skiing, wakeboarding, snow-skiing, cooking, any kind of team sport, reading

House Staff